Nexus NI 2020 Conference

Our 2020 Conference is all about HOPE. We will hear inspiring personal accounts of healing and recovery in the face of adversity as well as the ongoing and developing work that will continue to give survivors of sexual violence and abuse hope.

Theme: A Journey of Hope
Date: Thursday 6 February 2020
Time: 9.30 – 2.30pm (tbc)
Location: Riddell Hall Belfast


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Charmaine Richardson

Charmaine Richardson is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by her paternal grandfather.

After disclosing the abuse only when she was 27, Charmaine sought support from the Essex survivor group – an experience she believes rescued her and gave a voice.  And so began her own Journey to Hope.  With their belief in her, her confidence grew.  Within a couple of years Charmaine set up a self-help survivor group and later she joined Luton Rape Crisis Centre.  After leaving the Luton Centre she worked for Lister Hospital and Woburn Sands Health Centre as their sexual abuse counsellor.

Now retired, Charmaine has recently had her book Pick Up the Pieces published along with having her late husband’s (Ray Wyre) book The Murder of Childhood, republished.

David Gillan

I have worked as a social work practitioner and manager in statutory children and family services for approx. 40 years. I also have 30+ years’ experience in social work education and practice teaching where I developed and delivered key training programmes in respect of legislation and social work skills. I retired from working for a Health care Trust in December 2018 and am currently an Independent Social Work Consultant.

During the past 12 months I contributed to several workshop forums and conferences, linking adversity to trauma influenced practice, in respect of children who have been exploited, groomed and sexually harmed. More recently I was engaged by The Children’s Commissioner’s Office (NI) to investigate and report on the standard of care provided to a young person by a Health Care Trust.

Dr Helen Beckett

Helen is Director of ‘The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking’ and a Reader in Child Protection and Children’s Rights at the University of Bedfordshire. She has twenty years’ experience of undertaking and managing applied social research, across academia and the voluntary and statutory sectors. She holds particular specialism around the sexual abuse of adolescents and related safeguarding issues, and in involving children and young people in research within these fields. Helen has published and presented widely on issues of sexual harm against children and regularly consults on research, policy and practice in this field.

Dr Dympna Browne

Dr Dympna Browne is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the Belfast Trust.

From 2011 to 2017 she worked in the Child Care Centre, which is a specialist service for the investigation and treatment of child sexual abuse.

This presentation will be based on the PhD research that Dympna completed with Queens University Belfast on the emotional experience of parents of children who have been sexually abused.   This research indicates that although parents are the key resiliency factor for children, they themselves are often overwhelmed with their own feelings of shame and guilt. Therefore this presentation will emphasise the importance of working with parents to help them process their own feelings so that they can in turn help their child recover from the experience of sexual abuse.


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