'Unique' Suffolk third-party victim service is only one in country two years since founding

Cath Pickles in Southwold
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Cath Pickles in Southwold PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Suffolk third-party victim support service is still "unique" two years on from its founding.

Restitute is there when the worst thing happens to parents, children, close friends and partners' loved ones.

Founder Cath Pickles' own trauma of dealing with the pain of what happened to her daughter inspired her to start Restitute.

Survivors of sexual or violent crime often need round the clock support, which carers "do not have to deal with in silence", she said. 

"We are very unique no one is doing what we've done," the Southwold mum said. "We are trailblazers and pathfinders." 

For her efforts, Mrs Pickles and her team of six have been given the Care Innovator Award in the regional finals of the 2020 Great British Care Awards, received nominations for Start-Up Business of the Year and Changing Lives Special Recognition Award at the Suffolk Business Awards, and a Suffolk Award from the lord lieutenant and high sheriff. 

Stella Burgess, Cath Craig, Edward Creasy, high sheriff of Suffolk, and Cath Pickles 

Stella Burgess, Cath Craig, Edward Creasy, high sheriff of Suffolk, and Cath Pickles - Credit: Restitute

She hopes to go to greater strengths by becoming a national organisation and getting every GP and school in Ipswich aware of what Restitute can do. 

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Along with treating clients in Wales, Manchester and Hampshire, she has helped nearly 100 third-party victims, mainly from Suffolk. 

Last year, Restitute supported 24 since its founding in November 2019. 

She said: "A lot of people do not know how to accept support. 

"People struggle on without getting help. Abuse can happen when people are quite young and family feel a duty to deal with it by themselves, often for decades.

"There is a lot of trauma around dealing with victims and some children are distressed and confused about why they were not abused. 

"I remember a little girl who hasn't been abused thinking she was not pretty enough. 

"This needs to be tackled and not just swept away. 

"A lot are also dealing with survivors' guilt as they didn't know it was happening to a loved one."

Cath Pickles has set up Restitute to help third-party victims of crime. Picture: KERRY JORDAN

Cath Pickles set up Restitute to help third-party victims of crime. Picture: KERRY JORDAN - Credit: Archant

Restitute does not just provide a one-to-one support worker but helps people get the right benefits. 

When Cath Pickles was dealing with the aftermath of her daughter's sexual assault, she was offered Indian head massages as support out of "kindness" but it just was not right for her. 

"I didn't know if it was going to be safe to leave the house never mind driving 30 miles away," she said. "What I really want was a skip. 

"What people often want is a skip to declutter their homes or get rid of the perpetrator's things."

She is also training mental health staff and is set to create group projects for families that have left the service.

"This is for people to meet in a safe way," she said.