Haut de la Garenne victim support

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Mr Wilmer, a former victim of abuse, told the JEP that he believed it was vital that people who had kept their abuse secret sought support in dealing with the issue.

‘Often those who have been abused as a child are terrified, as the years pass, to mention what happened to them.

Then, when publicity about a case explodes like it did about Haut de la Garenne, victims suddenly realise that they could talk to someone about it,’ he said.

Many of the members of the group are survivors of child abuse in care homes investigated in Operation Care by the Merseyside police over a seven year period.

‘The survivors’ experiences of Operation Care are still very much part of our work and it is this experience that I am sure would be of real help to survivors of abuse at Haut de la Garenne.

It is likely that many of them have still to come forward and seek help – a process that will take years and last long after the current investigation has concluded,’ he said.

The Lantern Project, which is also a member of the Survivors’ Trust which lobbies government on child protection issues, supports male and female survivors of child, domestic or racial abuse or bullying.

The group may be contacted on 07866 508094, or lanternproject_@yahoo.co.uk or www.lanternproject.org.uk.

Mr Wilmer said that anyone affected by the ongoing investigation in the Island could contact the Lantern Project through the website.

‘We will send them a copy of our award-winning survival guide Proud To Be Me for their benefit as well as those who support them in picking up the pieces – including families, friends, doctors, psychologists and care workers,’ he said.

The book was co-written by Mr Wilmer with a woman counsellor who had suffered abuse and who interviewed other survivors in a women’s prison.

Mr Wilmer said that the group was complementary to professional counselling and other services which might be needed by an abuse survivor.

He said that if any victims of abuse at Haut de la Garenne were now living in the UK, the Lantern Project could put them in touch with their nearest support group.

The group provides support to male and female victims of abuse who have contacted their website or as referrals from NHS doctors’ practices, social services, the prison service and rape crisis centres.

The team also deliver training and presentations on abuse-related issues to those groups as well as to Merseyside police.

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