Jane describes her experience of being supported by the Redress Support Service whilst applying to Scotland’s Redress Scheme.

On starting this process, I believed I was a very well functioning adult with a crazy past that I hadn’t thought about in years. I was really hoping that by filling the form in that it could help improve the service for others in the future, by pointing out where it went wrong. As soon as I had the form, I was desperate to complete it, get it away again and behind me, so I could say that I done my part. I was very naïve. My world never fell apart, I have an amazing life that I have worked hard for, but it opened up a can of worms.

I felt frustrated and anxious at first, and a bit of rage at times that I couldn’t understand. 

I spoke to a Link Worker, I didn’t know from which area of the process she was from really at the time, but I was extremely thankful to her.

She spoke so calmly, had unlimited time for me and just let me know it was OK. I am not too open about communicating about my past but that was OK with her.

I was frustrated that I couldn’t prove all the things that had happened to me, she explained that no one was going to call me a liar or have a go at me.

I was frustrated waiting on the “process”. I had done everything correctly and then at one point another part of the process wanted me to prove my identity again. I was on holiday at this point, and I can’t really understand where my anger came from, but it was almost like I went back to being a young abused girl. The frustration of it not going smoothly just upset me so much, I told the person that wanted more ID just to cancel my whole application. I felt like a failure and had had enough, it was all too upsetting and frustrating. I called my Link Worker and told her what had happened, and she was very calm and understanding.

I would have definitely given up the process at that point but she helped me forward, asked to wait until my holiday was over and helped me with what to do. If she hadn’t been there, I think I would have managed to ruin my whole family holiday. But after speaking to her, I calmed down and enjoyed my holiday, and felt I could manage it when I came home, which I did.

I have been waiting a few months now and not heard much but my Link Worker is in contact every month, which we decided on together. She calls me regularly and I look forward to our chats. I like to talk about the impact that this could have and the outcomes that could positively help and being part of something so huge and important is powerful.  I think she knows that this is my main aim for doing this and she supports me in that, so we concentrate on that a lot.

My Link Worker has been calm, understanding, patient and she seems very empathetic and kind. I think she is incredibly knowledgeable about the process and is as passionate as I am about the outcomes this could change.

I am quite private about my past and haven’t actually talked about my personal events, but she is ok with that. She has never encouraged me to open up or delve into information, but I am absolutely sure if I did she would understand. The little I have spoken about personal experiences and what I am anxious about, she has taken the anxiety away and I am very grateful. 

It’s funny that I haven’t met her, but whatever happens in this process, she will be the first person I call. I am not going to lie, this has been one of the hardest and painful things I have had to do as an adult, but I am adamant that if I can help others, I will.

I will be forever grateful to my Link Worker for supporting me, and I am proud of every person that is going through this process. It is about making our future generation safer.

Anne received her Redress application pack in December 2021, but she didn’t feel ready to open it until the January after.  

“When I opened it I got into a terrible state, it was like the worst panic attack I have ever had. My eyes felt like they were popping out and I thought I was having a heart attack.” 

Anne phoned the emotional support helpline and a Link Worker phoned her back the next day – as she had called on a Sunday. They spoke about coping skills Anne had used in the past to help calm herself, such as listening to classical music. Anne shared that this had brought her distress down significantly and she planned how she would use these strategies when she called Redress. 

A few weeks later, Anne was referred for by the Casework team for support.  

“At one point I wasn’t going to do the form, I thought I wouldn’t be able to live after dragging it all up. But someone said to me that I deserve the money for me and my family. I was fearful I couldn’t find anyone who could help, but I did, I found two extraordinary women.”

(Anne has also been supported by her Future Pathways Support Co-ordinator in other areas of her life) 

She was very happy to be able to continue support with the same Link Worker who she spoke to through the helpline.  

“She was so unassuming, she was never intrusive but I always felt her presence and a strong connection when we spoke. Support was invisible, silent, but impactful. It was like having a cushion for me to lie on in this difficult time. It was support in the fullest sense.”

“She allowed me to speak freely, with no judgement. She was 100% with me all the time, she always knew where I was and I could sense that she was with me. She was never in a hurry, always patient. I found it so reassuring and encouraging. I have had a lot of interactions with well-meaning people, but they weren’t here like she was.”

Anne and her Link Worker worked on setting some goals and planning for Redress and they spoke regularly as Anne was working on her application. 

“I still remember one of the most important things she said to me. I was feeling a bit anxious about not achieving my goals and not progressing, but I felt able to be honest and tell her this. She said that sometimes just maintaining where you are can be enough. Hearing that helped me so much and it still rings in my ears now on days when I feel I am struggling.”

Anne told her Link Worker that she was feeling more in charge and in control of her application now and she felt able to work on the statement herself. She decided to work on it at specific time and arrange a call with her afterwards, as she would know someone was calling her to be there for her.  

“It made me feel like I had permission to talk about the sexual abuse, and give more details than I had before. I could trust her and that was priceless.” 

“When you send off that statement you open yourself up to judgement. If even for a fraction of a second I felt someone did not believe me I would have been devastated.” 

Anne and her Link Worker used IROC in support to help reflect on the impact of redress on her wellbeing and use it as a planning tool. IROC is the wellbeing toolkit used at Penumbra to support someone to identify goals and the outcomes they want from their support. IROC makes sure our support is designed for what each person wants, and offers a way to measure a person’s achievements. Anne found it was a good tool to use and helped her to reflect: 

“It was tricky at times because it made you stop and think. One of the questions was about whether you value yourself and when she asked me this, I went into floods of tears because I didn’t know you could value yourself. My abuser had taken away my sense of value, it was taken from me. I spent my life constantly trying to do something for other people. Even when I was getting sober, I did that for other people, I didn’t think I was worth doing it for me. That got me thinking a lot, a realisation, and I will continue to work on it.” 

They completed a second IROC at the end of support to reflect on the progress made. 

“I was delighted when she sent through the image with the two maps as I could see how much had improved. I could see the difference and it was excellent, I hadn’t stopped to think about it until I saw it. I think it would be good to do another in a year.” 

Anne and her Link Worker ended support in October while she was waiting on a decision on her application.  

“It was a mutual decision to end support, even though some days I miss talking to her, it was the right thing to do.” 

Anne feels she is in a much better place than when she first started support. She has also been supported by Future Pathways and feels working with her support co-ordinator has made a difference to her too. 

“I couldn’t have done it without support. I wasn’t going to do it, even just filling in the dates was too much. But now it is all done, I am a happier person because someone listened and someone was interested.”

“I feel fractured and a bit tender, but not broken. My Link Worker’s listening ear helped with that.” 

“I am happier. I am more content with what I have I got, my circumstances haven’t changed but I can appreciate it more. I feel more peace. I dug deep to get it all out, my statement was 10 pages, but it took some of the burden off me.” 

Anne recently received her Redress award and was offered a substantial amount, this was more than she expected and she was pleased with the offer. She plans on using the money to support her grandchildren’s future and to buy some things for her home that will help make her life a bit easier.  

“I was worried that it was going to be a low amount, but when I received the letter I felt recognised and vindicated. After trusting them, and feeling scared that they wouldn’t believe me, they didn’t let me down. The recognition and credence I have now helps water down the pain and darkness a bit. And now, I don’t ever need to think about it again.”