Break The Silence was founded by Kate Short, herself a Survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
When Kate needed support to help her work through her trauma, she found it simply didn’t exist. Kate had a vision of what support would be and about how it could help Survivors to move forward. She could picture “a centre that was easily accessible, offered a holistic approach to meet the needs of Survivors of all genders, their partners and their families. It would offer a range of support services in one place to address many issues, not just one. It would be welcoming, non-threatening and safe. It would be Break the Silence.”
Kate founded Break The Silence in 2004 to support adult Survivors of childhood sexual abuse aged 16+. In the 2 years prior to opening, a comprehensive study was conducted involving agencies throughout Scotland who worked with this client group. The study identified that Survivors have many varied and complex issues and that a holistic service, which encompassed all of their diverse needs was required.
A basic service was set up 3 days a week in Kilmarnock, with our first Clients accessing the service in September 2005. This service was staffed for the first 2 years solely by Volunteers, including Survivors, who had a wide range of skills and many years of experience working with Survivors on a one-to-one and group basis.
Gradually, an outreach facility was set up in the Dalmellington area of East Ayrshire for Survivors who had difficulty accessing the service in Kilmarnock. This proved successful and funding was secured to offer the same service in Cumnock.
Over the years, the services and reputation of Break the Silence has become widely known, not just locally but nationally and in 2008, Break the Silence became the pan-Ayrshire partner for the In-care Survivors Service Scotland. This dedicated service was funded solely by the Scottish Government with the Development Worker based at Break the Silence in Kilmarnock.
In August 2009 we extended our service to North Ayrshire.
Today, we provide services in East and North Ayrshire and are a provider of In-Care Survivor support through Future Pathways on a pan-Ayrshire basis. We currently have 5 outreach locations in North Ayrshire and 4 outreach locations in East Ayrshire, providing support to Survivors of both rape and childhood sexual abuse and offering services to people aged 13+ (previously 16+).
We have embedded a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation and explore innovative and technological developments where they can offer additional benefit for Survivors.
Our commitment and success in supporting Survivors is evident in our testimonials and feedback from our Clients and the recognition from referrers on the high standards we provide is reflected in an increase in the numbers of referrers and also the increased numbers of Survivors and family members accessing the service.
Kate worked relentlessly to help others and although Kate retired from Break The Silence in 2015, she remains a specialist advisor to the Board of Trustees. The Board, Staff and Volunteers at Break The Silence are privileged to carry on her legacy.