Lyn Gooding, the chief executive of First Light First (a charity which supports anyone who is experiencing or has experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence), was invited on BBC Spotlight, shedding light on the crucial topic of reporting abuse, violence, assault and rape. The conversation delved into the journey survivors undertake when coming forward and seeking justice for these deeply traumatic experiences.
During the interview, Lyn Gooding emphasised that trauma processing affects everyone differently, highlighting that while some individuals do report incidents early on, for many, the path to reporting can span years as they gather the strength to share their experience. One key message was that seeking help is not limited to approaching the police; a variety of supportive organisations, including First Light, offer a safe space for survivors. Where they will be believed, listened too, and receive the support and guidance they deserve.
Individuals who have experienced sexual abuse or assault have the option to refer themselves for testing at Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). These centres provide forensic medical examinations, preserving crucial evidence while also addressing survivors’ physical and mental well-being. This critical step empowers survivors to contemplate their next steps and access specialised services, accessing additional support and information they need. The forensic evidence is securely stored for a minimum of two years, allowing survivors the time they need to decide their next course of action.
Anyone can be affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence, and First Light support people of all ages and genders, including people with a disability and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Anyone can be a survivor, and support is available to all who need it.