“The first principle of recovery is empowerment of the survivor. Many benevolent and well-intentioned attempts to assist the survivor flounder because this basic principle of empowerment is not observed. No intervention that takes power away from the survivor can possibly foster recovery, no matter how much it appears to be in his or her immediate best interest”.
Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery
Survivors Voices is run by and for adult survivors of abuse, inter-personal trauma and violence and those who support them. We are a small organisation with a big vision. We long for a society where survivors feel able to voice their stories, be heard and acknowledged and receive skilled support to help them in their journey out of trauma. We seek individuals, organisations, professional and training bodies who will work collaboratively with us, hear us, learn from our expertise and stand alongside us as we seek to transform our own lives and encourage transformation in society’s response to abuse and trauma. If you share our vision, please do get in touch.
Our vision is to foster survivor-safe-survivor-empowering environments and trauma-aware-trauma-competent approaches in organisations and within helping relationships in order to increase meaningful and effective support and recovery for survivors.
We imagine a society where organisations are structured, funded and trained to enable many possibilities for support & recovery (including therapy, advocacy & legal services, community-based, creative and peer-led programs). Particularly, that a variety of therapeutic and trauma-informed interventions (statutory, psychiatric and private) become more readily available and offered in a way that is deeply attentive to the need for empowerment, care and connection by people competent to work with the after-effects of trauma, abuse and neglect.
to champion the voice and expertise of survivors in research, public policy, professional training and practice
to encourage the development of safe and enlightened self-help, psychoeducation for survivors, creative resources and responses to trauma, and peer-support through survivor gatherings and forums.
Our activities fall within three strands of work:
Survivor-led research and policy work to address the need for survivor’s voices in academic research, public policy, standards of training and practice and to create psychoeducation materials to guide survivors in making informed choices about their own recovery.
Survivor-led training and consultancy to help organisations and professionals and training providers to draw on the expertise of survivors themselves and support the develop and delivery of trauma-informed and survivor-sensitive services.
Survivor-led creative projects, self-help and peer-led initiatives to support survivors, including our peer-support gatherings, our online peer-support group and initiatives such as exploring the role of creative expression and spirituality in trauma recovery.
We understand that different forms of abuse can all have a deep and long-lasting effect on us as children and adults and that harmful experience can include profound neglect, particularly in early years; bullying; emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual abuses; ritualised and organised abuse; having to observe violence and live under coercive control. These experiences can occur in a variety of social settings including families, schools and communities and can be broader such as experiences of war, human trafficking, political violence and oppression. We recognise that both individual incidents and prolonged exposure to abusive or self-negating environments can cause trauma, particularly when such experiences occur within significant relationships.
We use the term ‘survivor’ as a shorthand for individuals who have lived through such experiences but recognise that people may use and feel comfortable with different terms to describe their experiences.
Our organisation, formerly known as S:VOX (Survivors Voices), is part of Reshapers Community Interest Company, a not-for-profit social enterprise. We have over 16 years experience of running survivor-led activities including self-help groups, residential weekends, creative expression events, researching and producing materials, sitting on advisory panels, running training for professionals and survivors and providing informal advocacy on reporting abuse (see Our History).
“I really believe you helped save my life. I was having a really bad day, lost and without hope of ever telling anyone about my abuse and really considering killing myself because I could bear the burden no longer. I came across your group and couldn’t even say my name but you did more for me that you will ever know – you gave me hope”.