I am delighted to announce a partnership with Innocence in Danger, an international organisation that works to defend and protect minors against all forms of exploitation, specifically sexual abuse and trafficking. I first came across Innocence in Danger some years ago and have been following founder Homayra’s Sellier’s work ever since. What Homayra and her small team accomplish across the world is outstanding.
Founded in 1999 by Homayra, the charity is now active in 7 countries including the UK and the US. Homayra and her team assess the need in each country and respond by offering services not already covered or by teaming up with existing organisations. The organisation’s activities include gathering activists, internet specialists, lawyers and policy makers to raise international awareness of the growing problem of sexually abused and trafficked minors. They also organise global conferences, accompany victims to court and work with law enforcement agencies and government departments.
Another fundamental aspect of their work is the direct therapeutic support of children. The organisation sponsors over 100 children and their families annually around the globe to attend creative therapy retreats, with a programme specifically designed to provide respite and rehabilitation for child survivors of sexual abuse. Through art therapy, yoga, music, sport and cultural activities, lives have been transformed and the retreats have been recognised as aiding resilience by experts in the field of childhood trauma and Germany, France and Switzerland.
That there is a need for Innocence in Danger is indisputable. The statistics for the UK alone make grim reading:
Estimates say that over half a million children are abusedin the UK each year
1 in 5 childrenhave experienced severe maltreatment or domestic abuse
50,000 peoplein the UK downloaded or shared online images of child abuse(2012)
Up to 85% of child abuse in England remains undetectedand the children are not receiving help or treatment.
66% of child sexual abuse takes place within the familyor its trusted circle.
Only 1 in 8 victimsof sexual abuse come to the attention of the authorities or protection services.
In 2014 the Prime Minister announced that child sexual abuse had been prioritized as a ‘national’ threat’. Major studies around the world universally support the fact that sexual abuse and trauma suffered at an early age has a devastating long-term impact on the mental, physical and psychological health of the survivors. When we bear in mind the fact that 1 in 3 abused children never talk about the problem, and only 1 in 8 rape cases come to the attention of the authorities, the scale of the issue becomes clear. What is at stake, beyond the human and financial costs is our common future.
“Our society guarantees our children the right to culture and to education. But there is a primary right that allows and guarantees all others; it is the right to be protected, because only happy and open children will become committed and responsible adults. A society that does not look after its children has no future.” Homayra Sellier.
Homayra’s words resonate so strongly with me. This is an epidemic. It is undoubtedly a difficult subject and one that many of us would prefer to turn away from but in so doing, we are compounding the problem. Let’s keep the conversation live and do whatever we feel able to do to help support the work of this organisation.
Marie-Chantal London will be hosting an evening in conversation with Homayra at our London flagship store in Motcomb Street on Monday 20thMay from 6-8pm. Homayra will talk about Innocence in Danger and its work and there will be a chance to ask questions. Please do come along, there will be a 20% discount available on the night and 10% of our profit from sales that week will be donated to Innocence in Danger.
To help support Innocence in Danger, please visit their website: