AN AYRSHIRE charity supporting people affected by childhood sexual trauma has received accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Break The Silence is one of only three services with this accreditation in Scotland, and is also a finalist in the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards.

The charity provides support to people affected by childhood sexual trauma in East and North Ayrshire.

The accreditation comes as the charity marks 20 years of operating across the two areas.

Sharon Belshaw, chief executive officer for Break the Silence, said: “We took the decision to undertake BACP service accreditation in order to measure our service against BACP’s professional standards, identifying any areas for improvement.

"Achieving the accreditation offers reassurance to clients that our service is safe, secure and professionally managed, improves recruitment and retention, enhances recognition and credibility with external stakeholders and offers external validation of our counselling and psychotherapy service.

"We are absolutely delighted and congratulate our team on this significant achievement which evidences our commitment to being a centre of excellence in the provision of childhood sexual trauma support.”

The accreditation validates service providers for their accountable, ethical, professional, and responsive care towards clients, staff, volunteers, and stakeholders.

Assessors, while conducting the final part of the assessment, recognised the institution for maintaining high ethical and professional standards.

They particularly praised the charity's adaptability during the pandemic, as it invested in IT and technology despite the ongoing challenges.

Assessors who conducted the final part of the assessment, an organisational visit, said: “Break The Silence was a delight to visit.

"There were numerous examples from all the staff that the service was delivering an extremely high standard of ethical and professional service.

"It would seem all staff are working flat out to provide a caring and compassionate service to a complex range of clients.

“Of particular note was the way Break The Silence have responded promptly and effectively to the pandemic and adapted to a different way of working, investing comprehensively in IT and technology.

"Alongside this, the level of support and safeguarding for staff was outstanding and this, coupled with regular team meetings, clinical and peer supervision, and wide-ranging frequent training, clearly contributes to a cohesive workforce and high level of staff retention.

“There was much to celebrate within the service and clients can be assured the service they receive is professional, compassionate and ethical. We wish you well for the coming year."