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Creating smiles for Scotland’s children

Written by  Lianne Fyfe
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Creating smiles for Scotland’s children Creating smiles for Scotland’s children

Scotland’s national children’s charity, Children 1st’s #createasmile campaign  asks people to show Scotland’s children they all deserve lives free from abuse and neglect. The charity is asking people to go online and create a unique smiling child's face and share it on social media.

The campaign aims to send a message of hope that children and families who have suffered abuse or neglect  can recover from their experiences and find new reasons to smile.

Children 1st Chief Executive, Alison Todd said "A high number of children in Scotland are affected by abuse every year. Without the right support, the experience of abuse can be devastating – but it doesn’t have to be that way.  At Children 1st we help children and their families across Scotland to move on from their traumatic experiences and rediscover their hopes and dreams. We’re asking the public to show their support for children who have experienced abuse by joining our #createasmile campaign.

We’d like to thank everyone who’s helped us bring this campaign to life, especially the Players of People’s Postcode Lottery, whose support and commitment to Scotland’s children has helped to create this initiative.”

There were over 5,000 offences of sexual abuse and cruelty against Scotland’s children last year. *
*Scottish Government recorded crime statistics.

Every day, Children 1st is supporting children, their families and carers to recover from the physical and emotional impacts of  abuse. The charity help  children who have been abused to overcome feelings of helplessness and trauma by providing a welcoming, safe and creative environment to work through their past experiences. Our trauma recovery workers support children and their families to  understand they are not to blame, to believe in themselves, re-discover their confidence and know that they can have some control over the direction of their future.

Millie’s Story

Millie’s story shows that recovery is possible even from the worst experiences.

Millie* was abused by an adult cousin from age five. She was well into her teens before she was able to tell someone, and the police able to act. That was when Children 1st began to support her.

“As any five year old would, I put my trust in my cousin because he was an adult. But he took advantage of me and made me feel like it was all my fault. He said if I told anyone I wouldn’t be his ‘special little girl any more’, he also said I would go to prison and be in a lot of trouble.

Over the years it had been getting worse as he was doing more stuff to me. I was 17 before it stopped. When one of my young cousins came to visit I got worried about what might happen and wanted to protect her.

I spoke to my auntie and we went out in the car with my mum. I told them what had been happening. A few days later my mum phoned the police and they came and interviewed me and took statements.

It was a difficult time and my doctor put me in touch with Children 1st. Thanks to them I was able to confront my cousin and show him I’m in power not him.”

Millie recently wrote to her Children 1st worker:

"I hope you understand this took a lot of courage and inspiration. I got all my inspiration from you. I really appreciate all the help you have gave me. If it wasn’t for you and Children 1st I don’t think I would have been here where I am today."

* Names and some details have been changed to protect confidentiality

Abuse and neglect in childhood can leave lasting emotional scars but with the right support recovery is possible. It takes time, empathy, commitment and consistency. All of which Children 1st provide.

To sign up and show your support visit www.createasmile.org.uk

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