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Tavistock and Portman staff part of network addressing issues of non-recent child sexual abuse

  • Co-produced a psycho-educational tool with survivors to raise awareness
  • Creating vital training
  • Book in the works

Two Tavistock and Portman staff members are part of a network of professionals working on projects to bring change and raise awareness of non-recent child sexual abuse.

Group of eight members smiling at camera
Network members

Dr Jo Stubley, Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, and Sara Scott, Group Analyst and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist, both work at the Trust’s award-winning Trauma Service, and are part of the Non-Recent Child Sexual Abuse Network (NRCSA), a collective of survivors, clinicians, and academics, that came together in 2021 to alleviate the suffering of child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors through education, ally-ship and awareness-raising.

They recently coproduced a zine, or short publication titled Breaking Silences, aimed at using creative media to discuss non-recent child sexual abuse. It features the words and experiences of survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as guidance from academics and clinicians in the network.

“An essential aspect of the work of the network is to promote awareness of child sexual abuse. We are aware of how silence, secrecy and lies are so much a part of this terrible experience and wanted to help survivors find their voice. But we also know that to break the silence there needs to be a listener who is open to hearing about these traumatic experiences,” said Jo.

Jo, one of the founders of the NRCSA, along with Dr Danny Taggart, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, University of Essex, said the group produced the zine “as a kind of psychoeducational tool to help disclosures of non-recent child sexual abuse.”

‘Essential therapeutic work’

3.1 million people in England and Wales have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 16.

47 percent have been sexually abused by a family member, and 42 percent of them abused in their own home.

Experiencing sexual abuse as a child can cause trauma that might affect a person for a long time.

88 percent of people who experienced child sexual abuse said it impacted their mental health, 53 percent reported an impact on relationships, and 41 percent reported an impact on school or employment.

The zine was conceptualised and funded by Bristol University and took several months to complete. It was created by the network as a joint project, with illustrations by Jenissa Paharia.

Jo said: “This work in all its different forms is essential because we know that despite a high prevalence in society, and an even higher one in mental health settings, there is still significant difficulties for many survivors to be heard, to access support and therapy and to have a voice. All members of the network also do a great deal of their own work to support these aims. The Tavistock Trauma Service, newly awarded for Excellence in Innovation by the British Psychoanalytic Council, believes this is a vital aspect of the therapeutic work – to raise awareness, create conversations and facilitate change.”

The zine is available to everyone in the Trust, and the network hopes it will be widely distributed and utilised.

It is just one aspect of ongoing work the network is engaged in to bring change in this area.

The NRCSA Network is working with the Tavistock and Portman’s Department of Education and Training to create an online training course on facilitating disclosure, led by psychodynamic psychotherapist Laura Salter, who also works for the Trust.

The training has a Lived Experience Advisory Panel, which Jo says is the heart of the project.

“The training will be aimed at all health and social care professionals as we know disclosure can take place in many different settings. We hope it will be available in the first half of 2024.”

Jo and network co-founder Danny are also co-editing a book featuring network members, and other specialists in the field.

“The book arose out of a conference put on by the network and the Tavistock in 2022 on non-recent CSA. The book is called Multiple Voices: Talking about non-recent child sexual abuse- Survivor, Clinician and Researcher perspectives. This will be published by Routledge in 2024 with open access,” said Jo.

To find out more about the network’s projects, visit