The STAR Centre

The STAR Centre aims to reduce the harm of rape and sexual violence across Ayrshire by delivering a gender sensitive, person-centred and trauma-informed service to survivors aged 13 years and over.

C and her family have been supported over the past two and a half years since she was 11. C was sexually abused by her paternal grandfather.  During the last year, her case has progressed through the criminal justice system and C has given her evidence to a judge in advance of the court case.  The court case has been heard and the perpetrator was found guilty and given a custodial sentence of 13 years.

The complex range of implications for the whole family included:

  • The traumatic impact of the abuse on C
  • The impact on C’s two younger siblings
  • Dealing with ongoing police involvement
  • Pressure due to the length of time for the case to come to court (over 2 years)
  • Parental guilt i.e. C’s father wishes he had noticed the signs of abuse and stopped his own father from harming C
  • For C’s mother, it has brought up distressing memories of her own experience of childhood sexual abuse
  • For the family, coping with the challenge of living in a small rural community where everyone knows about the abuse
  • C was under so much pressure from her peers at school that she felt she had to move to a new school where no-one knew her or her situation.
  • The pressure on C’s parents to protect her from spurious and voyeuristic media coverage of her case.

C’s goals were to understand why her grandfather had done these things to her, to stop being scared of going outside and be able to go out to play with her friends and to be able to resume taking music lessons.  C has achieved all of these goals, has gone through the challenging process of giving evidence and is doing well in her new school.

C is now 13 and support is ongoing.  She has also participated in a series of Prevention workshops delivered by staff from the Star Centre at her Secondary school and reported having positive conversations with her peers afterwards.

It has been a challenging time for C and her family, however they are getting through it together with mutual support; improved communication; strengthened relationships, individual self-care and looking forward to a future where they can heal and move on with their lives.