In celebration of National Volunteers Week, we are sharing the voices of our volunteer befrienders.
Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace) volunteer befrienders play a vital role in delivering Pace’s goal: to work with parents to end child sexual exploitation. Here, a volunteer befriender talks to Pace about their role, and the determination and resilience of the parents they support.
Being a volunteer befriender is one of the most rewarding and humbling things I have ever done. I am in awe of the sheer strength and determination parents have to make things better for their child. Child sexual exploitation changes entire lives for everyone affected, and still parents keep fighting for their child.
I am here in my befriending role to provide a non-judgemental listening ear, and an outlet where they can offload. Befriending helps parents with the isolation they often feel too. Everyone needs somebody to vent to and some kind of release. After a space to offload, the conversation will often then become more focused.
Parents often don’t know anyone in their area they can talk to in the same situation – and can feel no one understands. Parents can also feel that professionals don’t understand child sexual exploitation and the true nature of what their family is going through too. Their ultimate goal is to keep their child safe. Whilst battling to keep their child safe, they can often feel they are battling with professionals too.
Parents are so appreciative of everything that Pace does and the support Pace gives to befrienders is outstanding. Not only do they provide regular training but there is an excellent support network, where we support each other. The support you receive from staff is also fantastic. If you ever have any questions or need any support, someone is there for you.
In my role as a befriender I often feel I am just chipping away at the surface, but families are always so appreciative and you just know you are making a difference.
- Would you like to support Pace to work with parents to put an end to child sexual exploitation? Find out how you could fundraise for Pace or make a donation.
- Pace is also currently looking for volunteers based in the London area. Find out more.