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Case Studies from the Sector: Cath’s Story

Restitute supports the people who care for survivors of sexual or violent crime. The stigmatisation and lack of awareness and support faced by people caring for survivors means that their needs are often dismissed or ignored.  At Restitute, they hope to change this.

Here, Cath, CEO of Restitute, shares her story.

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Full-text version:

As someone with lived experience of the challenges Restitute’s clients face, I wanted to build a service that we wished we’d received. But my greatest fear was business governance and management. There was so much ‘stuff’ that needed to be done. And I was quite scared that I was missing some vital piece of paperwork or registration. It’s very hard to fix things if you don’t know what needs fixing.

When Covid-19 hit, I suddenly felt like I had more time because I wasn’t travelling so often: all our work transferred overnight to online and telephone support. It became obvious to use the time to dig into what it actually meant to run a business and I used some of the mentors I had around me to help. Finance, payroll, IT, funding and policies were my top priorities and asking for help was both liberating and encouraging. Former colleagues and old friends who were experts in their field said yes – which made me, and the work we were doing with Restitute, feel valued. We also used the CAS Healthcheck tool which was frightening when a lot of things seemed red – but incredibly satisfying as it all went green!

Of course, lockdown presented other challenges too: with the schools closed, meetings with clients had to take place late into the evening when the kids had gone to bed. But the service really took off during lockdown – we have three times more clients than anticipated – and for many, the move to online support really suited clients who struggled to leave the house during the day. When you care for a survivor, you can’t just get up and go.

Now that we’ve faced our fear, things are much easier. My top tips? Write worries down, tell other people what you’re worried about, and tackle one thing on your list a day – then put the list away! Suddenly it will all become  a lot less daunting – and you’ll realise that it wasn’t so scary after all.