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‘Horse-whispering’ helps young victims of crime in Cambridgeshire

Five children from Cambridgeshire are the first to graduate from a pilot ‘horse-whispering’ programme designed to support young victims of crime.

The Equine Assisted Therapy programme has been delivered by children’s charity Embrace Child Victims of Crime (CVoC) as part of a range of services commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Embrace CVoC is the only children’s charity in the country solely focused on providing care and support for children who have been victims of crime, offering counselling, practical and cheer-up support.

The charity’s first equine therapy programme took place during the course of the summer and gave the group of five children, aged between 10 and 16, the chance to use horse-based therapy to help them heal.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Jason Ablewhite attended the riding school, based near Ely, to hand out certificates and rosettes to the young graduates.

“I am extremely pleased that we have been able to fund this innovative programme which offers support to these young victims of crime,” he said.

“Practical help such as this enables the most vulnerable residents of our county to concentrate on recovering from their experiences and moving on to a more positive future. It is vital that young victims are wrapped in a blanket of care, to ensure they get the support they need to once again feel safer in their homes.”

Anne Campbell, Embrace CVoC Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to trial Equine Assisted Therapy because we know every child is different and no one-size-fits-all when it comes to intervention. 

“We will help any child, anywhere in the UK, but where we are fully funded, such as in Cambridgeshire, it means we can offer our full range of services on a ‘no-wait’ basis. The support of the PCC has made this possible.”

Working with horses helps individuals build their trust, self- esteem, personal confidence, leadership and communication skills.  It is achieved through a structured programme of activities which includes:

  • Personal safety when in close proximity to horses
  • Equine body language
  • Caring for horses
  • Grooming
  • Stable management
  • Identifying tack and need for clean & properly fitting equipment
  • Ground work and ridden work.

The programme was designed and led by Chloe Raw, Embrace fund-raising manager and trained equestrian, with the assistance of Anne Campbell, Embrace Chief Executive, and volunteers Jo Grant, James Bickerdike and Lisa Raw.

One parent, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “My daughter has had an amazing opportunity provided to her. It has increased her confidence and helped her to find a calm place”

The sessions took place at approved riding school Sedgeway Equestrian Centre situated just outside Ely, Cambridgeshire by kind permission of yard owner Sue Goodjohn.

For more information about services and fund-raising opportunities with Embrace please visit