Quakers in the World

Quakers in the World

Escaping Victimhood

Escaping Victimhood runs a residential programme, combining many different activities, to enable those traumatised by crime to move from being victims to being survivors and so to reclaim their lives.  It was the vision of an individual Buckinghamshire Friend, Tim Newell, and began its work in 2003 with strong support from local Quaker meetings.

It is strongly influenced by the principles of restorative justice in seeking to meet the unmet needs in the most seriously affected victims, such as those bereaved by homicide. Their experience of crime can affect work, health and relationships. Escaping Victimhood helps people traumatised by the past to reclaim their future.

Escaping Victimhood offers a 4-day residential workshop, for up to 12 participants, plus a follow-up day that takes place about 6 weeks later. The venues provide comfortable accommodation, good food, lovely gardens and a relaxing atmosphere. The workshop sessions are run by skilled and supportive facilitators.

Participants are adults affected by the trauma of serious crime. Recent workshops have been for people bereaved by murder or manslaughter. Escaping Victimhood can also work with survivors of crimes such as knife attacks, domestic violence or sexual assault. It is most helpful to attend a workshop some months after the traumatic event, and after any court proceedings are completed. However, there is no time limit - the workshops can help even if the crime took place over 20 years ago.

At a workshop participants can:
  • Learn more about the physical and emotional impact of trauma.
  • Attend sessions on personal change to help put the traumatic event in the context of their whole lives - past and future.
  • Experience relaxing therapies, such as massage and tai chi.
  • Use painting, photography, or other creative activities to find new forms of expression.
  • Spend time with people with a similar experience.
  • Benefit from individual sessions of trauma education, counselling and healing.

Previous workshop participants believe that attending a workshop can bring substantial benefits.
  • “Extremely informative, powerful, very reassuring, reaching you in a way that you could understand.”
  • “The support of the team gave me hope, enabling me to move on and not be a victim.”
  • “Encouraged me to find a new path in life and care more for myself. Look to the future with hope.”
  • “I have realised that I need to take time for myself and to accept when people offer to help me that I should sit back and take the help.”
  • “From everything I experienced I learned something. It was all positive.”

The first programmes were held in Old Jordans, the Quaker Conference Centre in Buckinghamshire (now closed), and were supported and nurtured by local meetings and the Old Jordans trustees. When the Old Jordans Trust was wound up, in 2005, Tim Newell continued the work under the auspices of the Thames Valley Partnership (a community safety charity) for the next two years. In 2007, he established a separate charity, Escaping Victimhood. It is independent of Quakers, though there is much ongoing Quaker involvement.

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