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Why Donate to CIS'ters

The key approach adopted by CIS’ters is that of ‘peer-led-lived-experience’ which, based on consistent feedback from survivors who access our primary service, is what makes a major difference to them. “You understand” is a common theme in conversations we have with those reaching out to us. 

Set up by a survivor in September 1995, CIS’ters stands for ‘Childhood Incest Survivors’ and the ‘ters’ for the sisters abused by the same perpetrator.

The core work of the charity is for females age 18+ (who were born as females) and who, as children, were sexually abused within a familial setting.

Perpetrators may or may not be related to the child, but the key consideration is whether the abuser feels like ‘family’ from the child’s (now adult survivor) point of view. Around two thirds of all childhood sexual abuse (CSA) reported to the police is perpetrated by a family member or someone close to the child. The majority of identified perpetrators of CSA are male, although abuse by women does occur.

CSA within the family is rarely an isolated occurrence and may go on for many years.  Whilst some child victims of CSA are identified and reported, the majority of such instances where abuse occur remains undisclosed.  The reason for this is complex but, in many cases, the child victim/adult survivor believes that they will be disbelieved and will also feel responsible for what will subsequently happen if they do tell.  Familial CSA brings with it multi layers of betrayal, stigma and secrecy.  This is why effort is often made by non-abusing family members to silence the child victim/adult survivor should they have the courage to disclose. Familial victims who disclose are more likely to be shunned by other family members if they refuse to be silenced.

Resilience and resourcefulness are aspects that are nurtured during childhood. A family environment that includes CSA compromises physical and emotional life, thereafter. Some victim/survivors are affected in various ways, depending on their individual ability and if there is a scarcity of other (nurturing) adults or carers in their life who can help them overcome their CSA experience. For many, this isn’t available and the outcome is, in the long term, poorer physical and emotional health, relationship difficulties and being more vulnerable to future violence and abuse.

In addition to the content of our informative website we are helping to provide emotional support to approximately 600 survivors (from across England and Wales) at any one time. This number continues to grow. Our small central team responds to emails, phone calls whilst also signposting where other support services might exist – ever widening resource frameworks and pathways for those that contact us.

We need help to raise funds so that we can continue to meet the need of those that reach out to us.

As a CSA survivor one of the hardest things is usually to ask for help. As a peer-led-lived-experience team, we are all personally too familiar with how difficult that is. But, we know we need your help. We can’t do what we do, without your help.

Please help us in our quest to raise funds, so that our service can survive.