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Sheila Coates MBE

I have 32 years’ experience of providing front­line services to adult and child victims/survivors of all forms of sexual abuse. I am a founder member of a Rape and  Sexual Abuse counselling and advocacy service which opened in 1984 and I have also been a sexual violence and abuse counsellor for 11 years, supporting adults and children by providing sexual abuse counselling and police and court support.

Since 1980, I have worked with individuals who endured institutional sexual abuse and I continue to work with victims/survivors of institutional abuse and those who have been let down by institutions. I have worked in prisons supporting victims/survivors and with probation to provide the victims’ perspective to convicted sex offenders. This work confirmed my personal understanding of sex offender’s use of ‘victim blaming’/coercion, and misuse of power/authority. I regularly work nationally, both collectively and collaboratively with individuals and organisations; my national representation work is on behalf of Rape Crisis England and Wales (RCEW) representing the views and experiences of those that have used our services and our member groups. I continue to represent the experience of victims/survivors at national meetings as I have done for the last 15 years.

I believe that there is now a greater opportunity to break the silence for victims/survivors, to move to the protection of future generations of children and to continue pressing for an appropriate criminal justice response and the availability of appropriate support services both statutory and voluntary for all victims and survivors.

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