Quetzal Breaking the Silence Initiative (QBS) aims to raise awareness about the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and the value of counselling in South Asian communities in Leicester City using a community-based approach.

Childhood sexual abuse is prevalent across all communities and backgrounds with 11% of all women1 having experienced child sexual abuse before the age of 16. Childhood sexual abuse is one of the most under-reported forms of abuse, as the perpetrator is usually, known to the child – making it the ultimate betrayal of trust.

One of the communities that consistently under-reports childhood sexual abuse is the South Asian Community. Cultural ideas of shame and ‘honour’ tend to be particularly restrictive to people brought up in these communities. These cultural expectations can make taking the first step to access help even more difficult and dangerous.

Through the QBS initiative, Quetzal is assessing the effectiveness of a community-based approach to help more women from a South Asian background living in Leicester to access counselling in a way that is safe and respectful of their privacy. A community-based approach recognises communities has having an active role in highlighting and addressing the issue that matter to them.

Listen to Shabnum Popat on Sabras Radio to learn more about the project and what communities can do to support it

What We’re Doing

  • Quetzal runs drop-in events and engages with faith, cultural, sports, charitable communities to increase awareness of the impact of abuse on mental health and the benefits of counselling.
  • Quetzal delivers 16-week counselling sessions for free in venues across Leicester City local to clients and unknown to the community at large. We also deliver telephone and online counselling.
  • Quetzal trains Volunteer Community Connectors with the skills and knowledge to engage with communities and inform them about the available services.
  • Quetzal has a self-help guide so that women who are not ready to start counselling can understand further how the abuse can impact their lives and develop skills to help them cope.
  • Develop a community media platform by inviting representatives from the South Asian Communities and partners against domestic and sexual abuse  to write articles that support women’s wellbeing and mental health to feature on our website
  • Engage with Leicester Community radios and the local press to raise awareness
  • Nurture activism so that women victims of childhood sexual abuse can make their VOICE heard through radio interventions, the writing of letters,  case studies, the audio recording of stories of change highlighting the impact of counselling on their wellbeing.

How Can You Help

  • Share this page with communities you feel would benefit from this information.
  • Invite us to share with your community how the trauma of childhood sexual abuse affects women’s day-to-day lives and explain how counselling can be a road to recovery.
  • Become a Volunteer Community Connector and be trained with the skills and knowledge to raise awareness in your community.
  • Submit an article supporting women victims of abuse to Quetzal Voices
  • Contact us for more information on how to be involved in making your VOICE heard
  • Donate so we can provide support more women across Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland.

Who is supporting the initiative

The project is funded through the Tampon Tax Fund and through the co-partnership between Comic Relief and the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DMCS). The knowledge gathered through project will support funders and partners in the sexual and domestic violence sector to engage further with BME communities.

Other Ways You Can Help