Almost every week I come across charities and community interest companies (CIC) that play a critical role in helping people across the city and beyond. But every so often you come across one that stands out as unique in terms of who it helps and how.
Restitute is one such organisation.
This CIC offers support to what are known as ‘3rd party victims’ of crime. These are carers, parents, partners, siblings and the broader families of those who have survived sexual abuse, sexual violence, domestic violence or other serious crimes. Those using the service are overwhelmingly women who are marginalised, stigmatised, isolated and often hidden. The same ones all too often are left to pick up the pieces of not only their own shattered lives, but also that of those they care for. Any of those in their care could be victims themselves or traumatised by the events that happened to other family members, such as siblings. This can often affect the mental health of all concerned and lead to trauma that is passed down from generation to generation, if not dealt with directly.
Reading this you might think social workers, mental health trusts, or some government department follows up to offer help after the police have dealt with the criminal matters? Well, think again. There is little to no support for 3rd party victims. No one to discuss the guilt that rips through them on discovering their partner has been abusing their children. No one to turn to for help in rebuilding their lives after the main breadwinner – often a man – has been imprinted – leaving the family in dire financial hardship. No one to turn to when other family members stigmatise them for being victims.
Many of you who read my posts will know that 40 years of marketisation, privatisation and cuts, topped off with 12 years of austerity to our public services – has left our social infrastructure in tatters. And even if there were a golden age of public services, 3rd party victims, so often women, were never part of that picture.
Restitute works with victims, with a mission to turn out strong, confident, independent individuals that can work through their experiences, support their families and, if they wish, become part of a network that supports others going through similar experiences. Whilst Restitute has some limited funding from Suffolk County Council and a few other limited pots of money, it receives nothing from Norfolk County Council or the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Practical support, therapy, mentoring, counselling mediation and conflict resolution is provided by a small and dedicated team on a very limited budget. Those seeking help are predominantly from Norfolk and Suffolk but referrals are now coming in from across the country where no other service like this exists.
That’s why I plan on helping raise awareness of this group and its crucial work with councillors, commissioners, MPs, govt ministers and anyone else that can help in that process.
In the meantime, if you or someone you know could benefit from Restitute’s help, then contact them here:
Phone: 07946 557819