Charity of the year

Charity of the Year 2017: Family Matters

"We are immensely proud to be recognised by The Centre as Charity of the Year. We are excited to develop our skill set and further raise the potential of our dedicated staff."

Family Matters

Family Matters UK is one of the largest providers in the UK of specialist therapy and support for children and adult victims of childhood sexual abuse and rape. They first opened their doors in Milton Street, Gravesend in the beginning of 1990 after two survivors of sexual abuse decided to take action by creating a self-help group whose aim was to meet the needs of others that had suffered sexual violence.

Today Family Matters is a busy, thriving charity, with specialist rape and trauma counsellors available throughout Kent. In 2015/16 Family Matters saw no fewer than 1000 children and adults. A total of 735 of these victims received one to one therapy with others benefiting from direct support from their Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA’s) expert guidance through the court system. The Family Matters helpline operatives fielded a further 4000 calls.

An ISVA is trained to look after a survivor’s needs, and to ensure that they receive care and understanding. They offer help in understanding how the criminal justice process works, and will explain things in simple terms, such as what will happen if a survivor chooses to report to the police, and the importance and process of forensic DNA retrieval. The Family Matters ISVA’s see nearly 200 men, women and children who have been raped each year. Of the 324 rape victims that were seen in 2016, a shocking 33% were children.

The charity is in partnership with Kent Police and the Sexual Assault Referral Centre based in Beech House, Maidstone, to provide therapeutic support, ISVA and CISVA support for victims of rape and sexual violence. They work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, Kent Police, Witness Care and Victim Support to provide a seamless service for victims across Kent.

Their most frequent referrers are GP’s, Mental Health teams, CAMHS and community health teams. Self-referrals are also common, many victims choosing not to report to police and health authorities. Police, SARS, schools and other therapists are key to referring clients.

Funding comes from a mixture of Home Office, Lottery, CSP’s PCCs and other charitable grants.

Service users and those affected by sexual violence are represented at every level of the organisation including trustees and have influence on their policies, procedures and service design.

  • It is estimated that there are over 4.5 million adults in Great Britain, who were sexually abused as children
  • Over 47,000 sexual offences against children were recorded in the UK last year. (Figures from NSPCC)
  • The connection between childhood sexual abuse and self-harm is well documented with other mental health issues including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and PTSE. Studies indicate that 50% or more of women in touch with mental health services have experienced violence and abus
  • As over 85% of childhood sexual abuse occurs in and around the home and is perpetrated in the main by family members or those closely associated with the family, the sexual abuse of children is a domestic violence!
  • A large percentage of young people rough sleeping in London are escaping sexual abuse.
  • Victims of childhood sexual abuse are 27.7 times more likely to be arrested for prostitution (Wisdom 1995)

Family Matters can be contacted via their website at

Twitter @family__matters

Facebook @familymattersuk

Charity of the Year 2017: Runners-up

This year we had an overwhelming number of applications from charities that all do amazing work. Because we felt these charities were all such worthy causes we selected a number of runners-up, who also received free training vouchers to give each organisation the opportunity to build and develop their skills. These charities were:

Charity of the Year 2016: Social Mobility Foundation

Find out how the Centre's Charity of the Year scheme helped our 2016 winners by reading our guest blog article from the Social Mobility Foundation.

How do I apply to be the Centre's next Charity of the Year?

If you are a registered charity with a turnover of under £3million then you can apply to be our Charity of the Year.

If selected as our Charity of the Year you can expect to receive up to 24 days of free training throughout the course of the year (worth up to £7,000), to be delivered through our open courses at the Centre's venue in London, as well as website/online media links hosted by the Centre.

To receive details of our selection criteria along with an application form please contact us by email or call 020 7490 3030.