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Case Studies

Thalia’s Story

Meet 23-year-old Thalia Grace, a recent graduate from Sheffield Hallam University with a Masters degree in International Business and Marketing, and a proud recipient of the Inspirational Student Award for the second year running.  Thalia is also the founder of Offiss Ltd which provides office space to smaller start-up businesses in Cannock with plans to expand further this year.

Thalia’s journey is a testament to her strength, and the steadfast support she received in overcoming a traumatic crime that could destroyed her life.  Thalia is extremely proud of what she has already achieved and is looking forward to the future, but her story could have had a very different ending.

WARNING – The following case study contains distressing information.

At the young age of 14, during a family holiday to Jamaica, Thalia was sexually assaulted by a barman.  Instead of spending the last days of her holiday enjoying the sun she found herself in a Jamaican hospital being examined and interviewed by Jamaican police.

At first the impact of the assault left Thalia in shock and denial, she told everyone she was okay but inside she was frightened, confused, angry and devastated by what had happened, all whilst trying to hold it together for her family who were worried and upset.

Despite the brave face for all those around her, she could feel her life crumbling.

“I cried my eyes out but I think it took a very long time for me to process what had happened. My family were devastated and I tried to hold it all together for them. But I don’t think I was dealing with it myself. I didn’t talk about my emotions.

It was a full term before I returned to school because of all the medications I had to take, and when I got back to school everyone treated me differently but I didn’t want that. I wanted things to be like they were before.” Thalia explained.

Returning to school, Thalia faced more challenges with a changed environment and all school friends all treating her differently.  Her mum could see Thalia was struggling and looked for help, she contacted Embrace and Thalia was referred for counselling.   Enter Jackie, Thalia’s counsellor at Embrace, whose amazing support played a huge role in the healing journey.

Thalia said: “My counsellor Jackie was amazing. I really don’t think I’d be here today if she hadn’t supported me through it. Jackie was impartial and she helped me work through and understand my feelings and plan for the future. Helping find coping mechanisms which has not only helped me through this awful situation but also has helped me through life. She saved my life. She helped me understand that things would get better, I would recover and I would be able to move on with my life. But at the time it was so hard. When you are going through it, it feels like it will never end and you’ll never feel happy again.”

Thalia says she owes her recovery to Embrace and the support provided to her family, and Embrace not only helped her piece her life back together but also gave her to the tools to face life’s challenges.

She said: “I will be forever grateful to Embrace and the support you gave me and my family. You supported me, my mum and my grandmother at such a difficult time. Now every year I support Embrace. I support Dear Santa and for every gift I buy I buy a gift for a child and I encourage my clients, friends and family to do the same.  I do all I can to raise awareness about Embrace and the amazing work you do.”

Thalia’s story is one of triumph, a story that shows the importance of seeking help, and the profound impact Embrace has in rebuilding shattered lives.  To any young person who is suffering with the aftermath of serious crime, Thalia extends a supportive message “I would encourage any young person reading this, or any families who have children who have been affected by serious crime to get in touch with Embrace. They are there to help you and will support you through the hardest times. When you feel like you are falling apart, they help by putting you back together piece by little piece.”

‘Embrace’s support had a really positive impact on my family.’

John’s daughter Jasmine was 12-years-old when they found out what had been happening.

She was depressed, anxious and suffering from panic attacks and now they know why.

The family say Embrace’s support has helped them through the darkest of times.

WARNING – The following case study contains distressing information.

John’s daughter Jasmine was 12-years-old when they found out what had been happening. She was depressed, anxious and suffering from panic attacks. Jasmine’s grandad, a man she should have been able to trust, had abused that trust and had been sexually abusing her for years.

The whole family were devastated by the news and after a lengthy and distressing investigation and court case he is now in prison.

But for John, his wife Karen and daughter Jasmine the pain and suffering continued. Police victims services referred Jasmine and the family to Embrace for support. John, Karen and Jasmine all received emotional support and counselling.

Jasmine and her little brother Joe (6) were referred to Dear Santa for Christmas gifts.

Dad John said: “Jasmine was anxious, depressed and suffering panic attacks and really struggled to be able to talk about what had happened. The support Embrace gave was enormously helpful.

“It was great being able to talk to people without being judged. Embrace gave Jasmine some really useful tips to help with her anxiety, and the counselling was really sensitively done.

“Jasmine seems much better for the support she got from Embrace. I would definitely recommend Embrace to any family whose child has been a victim of crime.

“We moved after we found out what had happened and it was a stressful and hectic time but it was lovely surprise for the children to receive those gifts.

“We still have difficult times and I’m sure we will for a long time to come but I feel like it would have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for the support we received from Embrace”

‘We owe so much to Embrace, you saved our lives and saved my family.’

Mum-of-four Kelly hoped the violence, abuse and intimidation from the man she loved would stop.

But when Kelly’s children called a family member for help it was a turning point for Kelly and she knew she had to take action.

The family said Embrace’s support has changed their lives.

WARNING – The following case study contains distressing information.

Mum-of-four Kelly hoped the violence, abuse and intimidation would stop. She hoped the man who had claimed to love her would stop taking illegal drugs so they could have a proper family life.

But Kelly’s four children, Adam (13), Ben (10) Toby (8) and Bella (2) were so scared by the domestic abuse they were experiencing and witnessing they called a family member for help. It was a turning point for Kelly and she knew she had to take action.

“My children are my life. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone taking them away from me. I just wanted them to be happy and it was thinking of my children that gave me the confidence to leave.” She said.

The Covid-19 pandemic only made Kelly’s situation worse and as Christmas loomed Kelly dreaded not being able to afford to put anything under the tree for her children to open on Christmas morning.

It was social services who referred Kelly’s children to Embrace for Dear Santa gifts to help bring some joy back into their lives.

Kelly said: “Initially my children were referred for Dear Santa but when I spoke to Embrace they also referred Adam and I for counselling.

“He had been really badly affected by what had happened. He had witnessed the violence and became violent himself.

The therapist was so lovely and through their time together was able to recognise my son had ADHD. So thanks to her he is now going through diagnosis and should hopefully start to get the treatment he needs.”

Kelly said Embrace had changed her life.

She said: “It’s hard to put into words just how grateful we all are to Embrace for the help and support you gave our family. We owe so much to Embrace. You saved our lives and saved our family.

“I couldn’t believe it when you said I could chose and gift for each of my children – something they really, really wanted. I as so worried about Christmas but Embrace’s generosity meant my children had reasons to smile on Christmas Day. My daughter chose a smart speaker and every time she plays music it reminds we how lucky we were to be referred to Embrace.”

Refer a child

We don’t believe any child needing specialist help should have to go on a waiting list.

We always carry out an initial assessment for counselling referrals and, where appropriate, will match those in need of help with specialist young people and family counsellors.

To make a referral, please complete our online referral form by clicking on the button below.

Alternatively you can contact us by telephone or email for advice before submitting a referral. We aim to respond in most cases within 48 hours. Urgent referrals will be prioritised.