Danielle’s Diary of beginning therapy

A blog describing one person’s experience of the first six sessions of counselling.

First step – Making an appointment.

Just made my first appt with the counsellor. She seemed OK on the phone. We didn’t really talk about my issues, more the practicalities. Next Tuesday 11am. Still not sure… may change my mind.

First arrival

So…didn’t change my mind …arrived and managed to find the waiting room the counsellor told me about. Turned up a bit early as I was nervous about whether I’d get here on time, (did take a wrong turn). Feeling anxious but don’t want to let it show. Not sure what to expect. I want help, but really hope therapist is OK, otherwise I’ll clam up.

Session 1

Therapist collected me and seemed pleasant enough. We both were more relaxed once we got in the room & I found myself doing all the talking…which I wasn’t expecting. She went through how it all worked and I didn’t have the feeling that she was going to make me stay if I didn’t want to. In fact she seemed to think I was in charge which was a bit of a relief if I’m honest. I was worried that I would be sucked into something I didn’t want. She seemed to gently help me focus on the problem I’d brought and next thing I was in tears, which I hadn’t expected either. By the end of the session I felt I’d spoken more freely than I ever have done, and that helped me make sense of things. Said I’d like to come back for more. But I might still change my mind, as usual.

Session 2

Didn’t change my mind – in fact felt a bit more relaxed this time and was even looking forward to it. Feels like a space just for me, which is novel.

Session 3

I’d like to know more about my therapist – like has she got children, how old is she, is she in a relationship. Can’t imagine asking her any of that though.

Session 4

We talked about how the sessions were going and whether or not I was happy /interested in continuing. I said I was as I felt it had been helpful to say things out loud that usually go round and round my head, leaving me with a headache. What I didn’t say though was that I thought things in my life should have changed by now. But I’m always a bit impatient so I reckon I can give it a go for a few more.

Session 5

There was one bit today where I felt a bit irritated when she seemed to have a reaction when I was telling her about how close we all were as a family. Didn’t like to tell her that though. and then felt irritated with myself as a result.

Session 6

Really surprised I turned up for this one – was feeling more and more irritated about the family thing from last week, so sat down in a bad mood.. She said she had a sense that something was going on for me. I thought too right, but I didn’t know how to tell her what it was. In fact what I really thought was look I’m paying you to sort me out so you should know what’s going on . had 15 minutes to go (I like to keep an eye on the time) when she just said something out of the blue like ‘I wonder what would help you tell me what’s really going on for you today?’ well that was all I needed really to tell her because it felt like she was really focussed on me.. So I told her and it felt awkward but afterwards I felt like a weight had lifted. And actually I realised that though we are a close family – sometimes that’s good for me and sometimes it’s not.

Session 7

Have been thinking about me and my parents during the week. I’m beginning to see that maybe I’m too close to my mum especially sometimes. I wonder how much I do what I want rather than what my mum thinks is best. I mean I’m 26 but so far I don’t feel I’ve really taken any control over my own life. Like I really wanted to do art at college but my mum said I’d be better off getting a job, so that’s why I’m in a ‘steady’ office job rather than doing some creative. When my counsellor asked me how that was for me I suddenly felt really sad…Haven’t ever told my mum how I feel .

Session 8

Had a bit of a light bulb moment during the week. I was thinking about not telling my mum how I really felt and why wouldn’t I do that And then I was rereading this diary and noticed all the other times I haven’t said what I’m thinking to the counsellor. And also how I hadn’t ever told even my best friend about how miserable I was feeling. And I thought how close really am I to anybody? I shared this with my counsellor and she said maybe could I give her an example of things I wanted to say to her but hadn’t. So I told her about how annoyed I was when she seemed to be questioning my family stuff. And we actually had a good chat about it. At the end she said maybe this was something we could look at again next week.

We hope you found this helpful. This client was very happy for this to be shared on our web-site as it helped them in writing it and they hoped it may help others reading it. We didn’t use her own name to protect her identity.

If you found it helpful feel free to share it with others, who might appreciate it.

Depression Blog


Depression is weird as it’s often a result of a past experience that we’ve either forgotten about or avoid like the plague! So the first step is to track down the cause, with a therapist who is the emotional equivalent of a Red Indian tracker. Therapy helps us uncover the cause and deal with it. More details.

Freddy Flintoff, the England, cricket captain found himself self medicating by drinking too heavily during the cricket world cup, as he had no idea why he was feeling so down. He wanted to sit by himself while the others wanted to celebrate their successes. `I just needed the doctor to tell me what was wrong, but nobody told me it was depression.` Winston Churchill used to describe his depression as `his black dog` and would try and self-medicate by whisky and cigars and keep quiet about it. He even attended a his cabinet meeting when he was part paralysed after a stroke without his cabinet noticing. It is crucial to be able to talk about what you are experiencing to somebody. Isolation makes it worse even though all you want to do is sit in a corner by yourself.

Here are some famous people who have experienced depression similar to you and have used therapy to help them deal with it. Many of us will suffer with depression at some point in our lives. Some people have used medication to calm the symptons, while they learn to understand and attend to the causes of the depression in therapy. Some like actress & model Pauline Porizkova tried anti-depressants, but were very keen to come off them.

For therapy to help with depression phone 0121 429 1758 or email on bcpc@counselling-direct.co.uk.

How to Cope With Bereavement & Loss

The loss of someone you love or something that was important to you can be very upsetting and sometimes feel overwhelming. A natural grieving process is important for any kind bereavement and will remain unfinished until addressed.

Some of us have difficulty staying in touch with upsettling emotions around bereavement and can then try and suppress the painful feelings. The grieving process will remain unfinished and the uncomfortable feelings can then surface at other times with intensity and often much confusion, causing difficulty in relationships at home and work. Counselling can be used to help with this process.    

Grieving is a natural process we go through in response to bereavement or losses of many kinds, eg. death, loss of a job, relationship breakdown, life events again and any significant changes. When we are in the middle of painful grief, we can feel that it will never end. Saying goodbye or letting go, can be an rich process of valuing and honouring the loss and enabling you to move forward, with support.

Read the full article on Bereavement & Loss.

For comments that previous clients addressing bereavement have arrived with, click here.

Ways we can help

Each person will have their own way of dealing with their Loss or Bereavement and at BCPC we can help you do that. We offer a safe, non-judgmental setting where you are able to work one-to-one with a therapist to explore the process you are going through.

If you would like to work with an experienced therapist in a safe and confidential place contact us here.  If you would prefer us to call you back please put you contact details here.


Counselling for Depression

Where does Depression come from?

Depression is extremely common and is thought to affect one in ten of us in our lifetime. Whilst the despair that depression can cause cannot be underestimated, it is important to understand that anyone can be affected and that most people respond well to treatment.

Depression may be triggered by recent or past traumas or significant life changes such as relationship breakdowns or a bereavement. Usually something that has been difficult to deal with or just avoided.

Can Depression be treated?

If you suffer with depression it may feel like you will feel this way forever, however with support and treatment most people are able to make a full recovery. At BCPC, we have a number of therapists experienced in treating depression.

Who else has suffered from Depression?

Too many to mention, but here are some examples of successful people who have talked openly about their own struggles with depression and how they have used therapy to help them address it. They include Bruce Springsteen, Will Young, Hugh Laurie, Brad Pitt, Damon Hill (world champion racing driver), Leon McKenzie (Premier league footballer turned boxer) etc etc.

Does Depression require medication?

This depends on how severely depressed you are. Medication can sometimes help to settle the symptoms while you address the underlying process through counselling. Therapy can be extremely effective in treating depression by helping to identify the causes and manage the symptoms. If you have broken your wrist by putting your hand out when you fell over, you may have a plaster cast put on to help the healing, while you get mentally clear about avoiding doing the same next time. Therapy clarifies the causes and focus for healing while medication can act like a walking stick while getting better.

Where can I get Help ?

To speak to one of our team and make an appointment, call us on 0121 429 1758 or email: bcpc@counselling-direct.co.uk. If you would prefer us to call you, click on call back on top left of any main web page. See all contact details here.

Inspiring Poem

Below is the `Guy in a Glass poem that challenges us about how we live our life.

It was read to the English rugby team in Australia last June before they beat the hosts & won the series for the FIRST TIME EVER.  The poem was seen as being an inspiring contribution to that.

This was because it connected with the emotions of the players rather than a more thoughtful, intellectual approach that is often used. Being able to access our feelings can sometimes be difficult but counselling can support you to access them and find answers that defy a more thinking & analytic approach!  


`Guy in The Glass` by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr     `guy` can be man or woman..

When you get what you want in your struggle for self  

And the world makes you king for a day 

Then go to the mirror and look at yourself 

And see what that guy has to say. 


For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife 

Who judgement upon you must pass 

The feller whose verdict counts most in your life 

Is the guy staring back from the glass. 


He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest 

For he’s with you clear up to the end 

And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test 

If the guy in the glass is your friend. 


You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years  

And get pats on the back as you pass 

But your final reward will be heartache and tears 

If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.  


If you would like to try some counselling to help you feel good looking in the mirror, contact us here.


What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is something that keeps us alert to challenges we may face  and is both necessary and normal. However, excessive anxiety may require external support to reduce it. Read the full article

A simple explanation of anxiety.

The mind tells the body to prepare to face a crisis and the body releases adrenalin causing the heart to beat faster, pumping oxygen round to increase energy, sweating to prevent overheating & needing the toilet. The body is now vigilant for a fight or flight situation which is helpful when faced with a real danger or threat.

However when this reaction is triggered when you are out shopping or in a social situation, past fears and worries can trigger the same reaction – and the body can then be left accumulating headaches, tiredness and other stress symptoms, with no-one to fight!

It may be a historical crisis or fear but the answer is to understand why the mind is getting fearful and attend to that, so it does not exaggerate situations and then actually create a crisis, when there wasn’t one there. Unfortunately in this cycle we bring such intensity into an ordinary situation that we can recreate our worst fears by creating a crisis, which is the last thing we want – but we all do it!

Ways we can work with you

Here at the Centre we offer you support to help with anxiety to become aware where the anxiety is coming from and what options you have to improve it. If you have visited a medical setting looking for help with anxiety you may well have been offered some medical treatment for the symptoms, but perhaps you want to explore further into what is causing the anxiety. The difficulty is that while anxiety will often show itself in physical symptoms such as sweaty hands, headaches or hyper-ventilating, it comes from an emotional base and that’s what we will help you address.

If you would like to look at help with anxiety in a safe and confidential place with an experienced counsellor, or have any queries you would like to clarify, contact the Centre on 0121-429-1758. If you would prefer us to call you back please put your contact details here.



Intro To Couples Counselling

When our closest, most intimate relationship begins to break down or feels rocky, we can feel bereft, shocked, unable to trust and worn out.

However we can fall back into patterns that seem to make things worse even though we desperately want them to be better.

Couples counselling can help you to explore better ways of relating to each other, and help to interrupt the blame cycle that many relationships end up going round and round in. That treadmill can leave us feeling misunderstood, unappreciated, hurt, angry, a failure and wanting someone to agree with us that the other person is in the wrong. Both people get to feel worse and worse until someone capitulates or walks out. Neither usually offers a good resolution.

Client Comments

  • My partner’s always criticising me.
  • I seem to do all the supporting.
  • He just won’t talk about things, & particularly feelings.
  • She’s so needy.
  • I try to talk about things but she just gets upset.
  • I feel like I’m walking on eggshells all the time.
  • We both agree we need marriage counselling.
  • He/She had an affair and I don’t know how to forgive that

If you want to see an individual counsellor, a couples counsellor or a specialist psychosexual counsellor then click here.

For the full article click here.

Struggling with addiction?

Is your addiction taking over your life? Addictions often begin as ways of coping and develop into habits. 

Addiction is the persistent use of a substance or behaviour in spite of the negative consequences it gives rise to.  When a behaviour becomes habitual we do it automatically and without conscious control. These habits can often be very damaging to our health and relationships.  Read the full article

Click here to see the some comments that other clients have said about their addiction.

If you would like some addiction therapy to help improve your life contact us here.

Knowledge is Power  The more you know about your addiction the better! It gives you some power over it.  Keeping a diary to detail the pattern of your addictive behaviour, your mood and activities can be a great start to understanding what factors make your addiction worse or better. Identifying what triggers you into addictive behaviour can be a very important and helpful step.

Finding Other Ways to Cope Once you have identified what triggers your addictive behaviour you can look at other ways of coping.  For example, if you recognise you are using alcohol to relax from the stress at work it could help to look at reducing your stress levels.  This may involve finding other ways to unwind in the short term such as relaxation classes or exercise such as a walk or a visit to the gym.  It may also involve finding a long term solution to the difficulty which is causing you stress.

Support Available Understanding your addictions and their root cause can be complicated and often may need the guidance of a trained professional to help you.  If you would like to work with an experience therapist in a safe and confidential place contact us here.  Or if you would prefer us to call you back please leave your details here.



How to Manage Your Anger

If you experience intense anger it can be difficult to manage and this can lead to problems in your life.

Firstly, anger is not bad. It is an important emotion that has allowed us to protect ourselves and those we  care about. However problems do occur if it isn’t understood and managed in the right way. 

Read the full article

Are you looking for…

ways to cope with the intensity of your anger? There are different techniques to minimise the damaging elements of your anger.

ways to manage the intensity of your anger better? Working with a counsellor to understand more about your anger so you can control it and protect those close to you.  

ways to eliminate the intensity of your anger? Counsellors or therapists here at the Centre are  interested in helping you understand any hidden causes for the intensity of your anger. This is not just managing the anger but helping you address and eliminate the cause of the anger so you are free of the intensity once and for all. Working with anger is what experienced therapists are familiar with.

support available? If you would like to work with an experienced therapist in a safe and confidential place – or to join our small ongoing anger management group, contact us here.  If you would prefer us to call you back please put you contact details here.

Three examples of clients presenting with anger issues.

1. Client arrived full of frustration and un-contained anger that was spilling onto family, work and few remaining friends. A punch bag helped to release and express some of the anger and then highlight a big unaddressed loss that was sitting inside the client. It was a very significant past bereavement which for understandable reasons had never been dealt with at the time, but which left them with considerable forgotten hurt and frustration. Once the loss was worked through with their therapist, their life was totally transformed – as were the lives of their family, work colleagues and friends.

 2. Another person had been badly treated but didn’t have the words or knowledge to say what they needed, so felt resentful at everybody, loosing their temper at friends and family. They didn’t like what they were doing but felt helpless to change. As they were helped to uncover the hidden words & feelings, which they had never used, the anger was replaced with tears that led to some remarkable family scenes of reconnection. This proved life changing and a wonderful blessing for the present and future lives of the client’s children.

3. A third person had been treated badly but had avoided challenging this treatment. They were supported in finding their confidence to face up to the person involved. They found a positive & creative way of addressing it with the other person. This enabled them to stand up for themselves and restore their own self esteem – without feeling the need to be brutal or heavy handed or causing a negative reaction.

To see some more issues that clients have brought & resolved click here.  

To contact us click here.

Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry

This letter was sent to the Home Secretary last week from the Survivors Alliance. who are a group of organisations supporting survivors of abuse, together with supportive professionals. They and many others, are very disturbed by the way the current Inquiry into organised child sexual abuse is being handled by the home office.

28th January, 2015
Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Home Secretary
Home Office
2 Marsham Street

Dear Home Secretary

As you will be aware, the Survivors Alliance has consistently expressed its support for an inquiry into institutional and organised abuse.  We have therefore drawn together a wide range of groups, from those working with people with learning disabilities, agencies working with survivors from public schools, care leavers, and individual professionals and survivors.  We are all committed to ensuring that survivors are supported to engage safely and effectively with inquiry processes.

However, it has been well documented that the conduct of some members of the panel, including the lack of transparency surrounding their appointment as well as conflicts of interest, have been of grave concern to us for the past few months.  Our concerns were confirmed by the leaked documents to the HASC committee on 26th January, which highlighted an astonishing lack of awareness of the impact and dynamics of abuse, as well as demonstrating that some members of the panel and secretariat do not have the appropriate experience or training to be in the positions of responsibility they currently hold.

The release of emails and correspondence constitutes a breach of Data Protection and also a breach of trust. With disregard to who or how the information was leaked, the comments made by Hearn and Evans about us and our agencies demonstrate a lack of knowledge of survivor groups and a degree of arrogance in that we would not appreciate the difference between meeting the secretariat or the panel or understand the nuances of ‘evidence’.  These assumptions were made without any contact with us.  As we have already commented, meeting at listening events does not constitute consultation with expertise from professionals in the field.

The discussions between Evans and Hearn are evidence of a deeply naïve attitude towards survivors and groups that support them, the structure of which they and the secretariat are clearly unaware of.  Additionally, they demonstrate a viewpoint that challenging views ‘should be directly corrected or ignored’. The irony is not lost that Hearn is speaking about prejudice yet made incorrect assumptions about our knowledge, expertise and future plans.

The way the panel members have discussed other survivors, specifically Lucy Duckworth, Fay Maxted, Andi Lavery and Ian McFaddyen is a shameful reflection of their lack of responsibility and knowledge of the issues. It has exposed us as individuals, making us feel vulnerable and having a huge impact on our work and organisations. Evans has implied the impact on her is somehow more significant, without regard for how it affects others. Andi Lavery and his young daughter have been targeted by convicted abuser Nigel Oldfield. Well known figures of the survivor world such as Shy Keenan and Sara Payne have openly and personally criticised us on social media. The tabloids have called for comment with information on our family members and we have received death threats. As individuals- who are also survivors- to experience this without the offer of support or apology from HASC, the secretariat or the Home Office is a shameful reflection of process. It has created divisions among survivors and groups which is an unforgivable consequence of attempts to secure public support for individual panel members without regard for the overall aims of the inquiry.

It is shocking that any panel member should speak in the way Hearn and Evans have, failing to recognise the need for an effective way to give all survivors a voice, no matter how challenging this may be, and clearly with unquestioned support for their actions from Graham Wilmer. All three claim to support and represent survivors, yet failed to recognise the need to put support in place at listening events; and it was only following our request that a minimal degree of support was finally organised for the past two events.

We are deeply disappointed that our concerns have not been addressed despite repeated attempts to raise them in October and again in November. We are disgusted that Hearn seeks to judge and make assumptions without contacting us and openly saying it is best to ignore this request. We demand a written apology from her, accepting she does not have the skills or experience to work with adult survivors of abuse and that she takes further training before working with children or vulnerable adults again. We call for the termination of Barbara Hearn and Sharon Evan’s contract immediately, ensuring all emails and confidential information are no longer in their possession.

Media coverage also reveals that a survivor, ‘Becky’, was approached by two panel members after a listening event, and who subsequently corresponded with them via email ‘being able to tell the truth for the first time’. A petition has been set up, promoted through Exaro News and the Sunday People, which is encouraging people to support the panel and her ‘champion’ Sharon Evans.  We would like to know:

  • who the panel members were,
  • on what authority they approached ‘Becky’,
  • what the purpose of the meetings and email correspondence was,
  •  if ‘evidence’ was taken what investigation was put in place,
  • what formal support was offered to ‘Becky’,
  • Which safeguarding protocols followed including storage and handling of evidence.

Becky’s report and plea for people to sign her petition, is yet further evidence of inappropriate behaviour by panel members and seeming manipulation of a vulnerable victim who now feels that she has disclosed her story in vain. This is despite assurances from the Secretariat that listening events were not for taking evidence and that the work of the Panel did not include taking evidence at this stage.

The disclosure of confidential email discussions between panel members at the HASC Meeting on Monday, including disclosure of personal contact details, reveals an appalling lack of respect by certain Panel members for survivors, survivor groups and for fellow panel members.   It also inhibits free discussion between Panel members, stakeholder groups and individual survivors.  Named individuals/survivors have been subjected to social media hate campaigns as a result of the disclosures and negative attitudes expressed by some panel members.  This follows a catalogue of failures, initially in establishing the inquiry itself and then followed by the abject failure of the Panel to understand the nature of the work it should be undertaking and the appropriate processes for instituting an inquiry of this nature.

This now leads us to question the position of the other Panel members, who have remained silent and continue to apparently support Evans and Hearn despite their attitude and disregard for survivors and their needs, and the impact this failed start to the Inquiry has had on so many of us. Having said this we are encouraged by Ben Emmerson’s correspondence which demonstrate his professionalism and objectivity.

Unfortunately, it is clear that the independent panel inquiry has now reached a stage where credibility in individual panel members and in the ability of the panel to direct itself appropriately has been lost for a significant number of individuals and organisations, including survivors.

Concerns to date:

–          Lack of consultation with experts in the survivor field prior to any direct engagement with survivors or planning of events;

–          Appointment of two chairs with inappropriate links to establishment;

–          Lack of an open and transparent process in appointing panel members;

–          Lack of in-depth briefing for panel members on stakeholder groups;

–          Lack of understanding of safeguarding processes and subsequent training to rectify this;

–          Inappropriate use of social media and media by Panel members;

–          Ill-informed and hastily arranged listening events run without safeguarding protocols in place or support on hand for vulnerable individuals;

–          Breaches of safeguarding protocol by panel members;

–          Panel member giving misleading information in media interviews about ‘hearing evidence’;

–          Misleading and confusing statements issued by the Panel regarding trust in a future Inquiry if the Panel is disbanded;

–          Listening events arranged despite concerns being raised about specific Panel members;

–          Listening events cancelled at the last minute;

–          Agencies who are paid to provide support ‘championing’ panel on social media, discussing their views on the inquiry with the media meaning survivors are not getting independent support

–          Lack of transparency over appointment of agencies who are paid to provide support

–          Lack of recognition of national service standards and poor consideration for accessibility for those requiring ongoing support from these agencies

–          Lack of response from the Panel to concerns raised re the above;

–          Divisions and tensions fuelled and exacerbated between individual survivors and groups by calls for support from Panel members for the Panel and for themselves as Panel members.

Finally, we have been informed by the Secretariat to the Panel that the pace of work and the need for listening events to take place was set by the Home Office.  This itself questions the independence of the Panel if it has no authority to construct its own work programme.

In order for confidence to be re-established in the Inquiry, we believe it is crucial that the following actions are taken without delay:

a)      Panel members who have acted inappropriately need  to be dismissed instantly with public apologies made to those affected (Lucy Duckworth, Fay Maxted, Andi Lavery and Ian McFadyen);

b)      The statutory basis of the Inquiry should be announced immediately;

c)       The Chair of the Inquiry should be announced immediately;

d)      Announcement of a full review of the appointment of all Panel members and appointments on an open and transparent basis.

Moving forward, and in order for individual survivors and groups to regain their trust in the Inquiry, we would suggest that the following processes should be announced:

e)      Establish expert adviser groups to the Inquiry, specific to institutions where appropriate;

f)       A programme of work to be published setting out the Inquiry processes and providing information to survivors and survivor groups about how the work of the Inquiry will be supported;

g)      All agencies paid to provide support at listening events to declare their interests and funding contracts

h)      Published programme of consultations/roundtables to explore the issues the Inquiry is likely to encounter, for example identification of abuse in institutions; identification of organised abuse;  protection for whistleblowers including reference to those bound by the Official Secrets Act; background to specific institutions involved; care and support for survivors giving evidence.

i)        A programme of research to support the work of the Inquiry and the Terms of Reference.  For example, the Australian Royal Commission has established a comprehensive research programme which includes descriptive research to provide background information, primary research to fill evidence gaps and research summarising the evidence to explore what is known and what works.  Eight themes have been identified:

  1. Causes – Why does child sexual abuse occur in institutions?
  2. Prevention – How can child sexual abuse in institutions be prevented?
  3. Identification – How can child sexual abuse be better identified?
  4. Institutional responses – what is best practice for institutional responses where child sexual abuse has occurred?
  5. Government response – what is best practice for government and statutory authorities responding to child sexual abuse?
  6. Treatment and support needs – what are the treatment and support needs of victims/survivors and their families?
  7. Institutions of interest – what is the history of particular institutions of interest?
  8. Ensuring a positive impact – how do we ensure the work of the Royal Commission has a positive impact?

j)        Only when the above work is well under way, evidence gathering can begin using a range of methods including public and private hearings, email and web chat with transcripts published, where appropriate and with permission, all of which have the option of professional support for witnesses.

k)      Full exploration of redress schemes.

l)        An early recommendation to government that the bill on mandatory reporting is moved through parliament urgently and that it will be reviewed once the inquiry make further recommendations on the issue.

m)     A parallel “truth” arm of the inquiry is established to enable survivors to have their complaints recorded by a body other that existing statutory agencies. This arm of the inquiry would be able to gather information confidentially and would assist the inquiry with high quality empirical evidence. More importantly it would give survivors who have little faith in the existing systems a voice and input in changing the system for the better. If handled well this would address the huge expectation that the inquiry will listen directly to a large number of survivors.

We have been impressed by the statements you have made as Home Secretary regarding your commitment to the Inquiry going ahead.  Furthermore, the substantial funding announced for support groups is a welcome response to the increased demands these agencies are experiencing as a result of the announcement of the Inquiry.

We request an urgent meeting with yourself, Ben Emmerson and Angela Kyle to discuss the content of this letter and agree a way forward.

We also request you see this letter as an official complaint and as such provide a direct response to each point raised.

We believe that the above actions will secure widespread support for the Inquiry and trust that we will be able to work supportively with the Secretariat, the new Chair and newly formulated Panel/expert advisers to ensure the Inquiry achieves its aims.

Yours sincerely

Fay Maxted: CEO Survivors Trust, Co-chair Survivors Alliance, Survivor

Lucy Duckworth: Chair; MACSAS (Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors) Co-chair, Survivors Alliance, Clerical abuse survivor

Andi Lavery: Fort Augustus Survivor, Campaigner

Ian McFadyen: Caldicott Survivor, Campaigner

Supported by:

Peter McKelvie : Survivor, RTD child protection manager & whistleblower

Dr Liz Davies : Chair White Flowers Campaign, Child protection expert & whistleblower

Brian Douieb : Survivor, Fmr Care Leaving Manager

Nigel O’Mara: Survivor Advocate

Alan Draper: Survivor, Academic RTD Director Social Work, INCAS Lead

Phil Frampton:Chair Care Leavers Assoc. Survivor Campaigner / advocate

Andy Kershaw: Chair Forde Park Survivors, campaigner

Chris Tuck: Survivor Campaigner

Sean O’Donovan: Fort Augustus survivor

Islington Survivors: Richard Murphy

Phil Johnson: Eastbourne Survivors

James McDermott: Disabled survivor Catholic Church

David Greenwood: Solicitor, Chair Stop Church Abuse, ACAL

Charlotte Russell: Researcher, relative of survivor