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Quetzal Breaking the Silence Initiative 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 women 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.

Number of referrals from South Asian Female Survivors since initiating Quetzal Breaking the Silence Initiative in 2019

Watch What’s Next of our Breaking the Silence Initiative

Watch Our 2021 Webinar – Breaking the Silence Initiative – What we’ve learnt so far

Watch Our 2022 Webinar – Breaking the Silence Initiative – Evaluation Report Launch

Watch our Breaking the Silence Stories of Change

Watch Videos about our support

Read our latest blogs related to the project

Who is funding the initiative

Currently, the project is supported through fundraising and donations from our supporters.

Between 2019-2022, the project was 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.

In 2022, Comic Relief awarded £50 000 continuation funding in support of the project. The project, which was due to terminate in March 2022, continued until December 2022.

Credits to our supporters during Comic Relief QBS 2019-2022

Big Thank You

Survivors and Beneficiaries

Thank you for taking the steps towards their recovery and inspiring others in their community to believe that healing is possible

Quetzal Staff

dr Marie Lefebvre – Project Facilitator for Comic Relief QBS 2019-2022

Shabnum Popat – Clinical Lead

Aisha Kadiri – Administrator

Mary Allen & Kirsty Beecroft – Receptionist

Hollie Venn (past) Deborah Knight (current) – CEO

Volunteer Community Connectors

Dhara Suryakumar

Jilly Kosar

Laura Albertini

Oluchi Anozie

Sarah Jughroo

Tara Johnston

Zoe Fawkner

Volunteer Counsellors

Comic Relief grant managers

Jessica Chauhan

Rina Metha

Evaluators for the project

Becky Nixon at Ideas to Impact

Mary Healy

Authors and Academics

Divya Ghelani

Elizabeth Shane

Deviki Patel

Vanisha Jassal


Em Penney

Eugenie Bitty

Kajal Nisha Patel

Kaajel Patel

Khush Kali

Graphic Design



Mendhi Designer for poster

Tayibah Lockat

Video Production

Nikhil Mistry Video Production

Website Development

Leicester Web

Yoga Practitioners

Aishwarya Padmanabhan from Embodied Yoga

dr Japjeet Kaur from Shunya Kundalini Yoga

Communities & Partner organisations

Active Wesley Hall

Adhar Project

Brewtiful Coffee Morning


Climate Action Leicester Leicestershire

De Montfort University

First Step Leicester

Ladies from Gheeta Bhavan Temple

H.O.P.E. Training & Consultancy

Jamila’s Legacy 

Juniper Lodge – SARC

Leicester Ageing Together

Leicester Fixers

Leicester City Council

Let’s Talk About Sexual Violence


NCS Teams 2020,2021,2022 and changemakers supported by Leicester Education Business Company LEBC

Outspoken Community

Peepul Centre Asian Circle Chai Day

Roots IWC


South Asian Health Action

Survivors Trust

The Conservation Volunteers

Trade Sexual Health

WOW Women of the World

Community Media

BBC Asian Network

BBC Radio Leicester

Decentered Media

Leicester Community Radio

Leicester Stories

Sabras Radio


Our Local Councillors

Participants and attendees to our events, community discussions and online awareness-raising sessions as well as followers on social media

Other Ways You Can Help

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