For as long as I can remember I have always been aware of the importance of doing what is right. I have always stood up for those who are being mistreated and those who might not be able to stand up for themselves. And when the same treatment has been returned to me I have always been truly grateful. This continues to hold true for me today especially without Josh in my life as his absence is being filled with my main focus which is placed on advocating for victims of crime, social injustices, and charitable undertakings.
Throughout my life I have experienced many traumatic challenges which started as a teenager when my parents divorced. While this experience resulted in learning how to stand up for myself and for others who were going through similar experiences as me, I changed from a shy happy go lucky child to one who had to put up a good argument against those who were quick to judge and take advantage of my vulnerability. I learnt to adapt, wear a different hat, and play a different part all of which which allowed me to grow braver and stronger on the outside while continuing to feel vulnerable on the inside.
The traumas I experienced throughout my life went unchecked until Josh was taken from me. They all started to come to the surface when I started specialist trauma therapy for PTSD. During these sessions I found it hard to focus on the shock and trauma of Josh’s death as I kept reverting back to the earlier traumas those which started in my teenage years, and which had shaped my life. Around this time I was also learning about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) through our charitable work, and training, which now form part of the service we provide to young people. It is here I started to understand why I reacted to challenging situations in a certain way, and how I could approach them differently, more importantly without a heightened sense of urgency, panic and fear. I have learnt that in order to challenge and highlight the unbalanced services offered to victims while navigating the Criminal Justice System (CJS) it has to be approached forthrightly with strength, assertiveness and steadfastness as panic and fear serve no purpose or benefit when trying to have your voice heard.
Recently the Mirror newspaper published a very powerful article about my experience of the CJS and my fight for Josh’s Law, however the Attorney General’s Office when asked to comment on what I had spoken about, failed to accept that the information they publish on the Government webiste is conflicting, vague and at the best of times contradictory. Reading their comments left me feeling frustrated and let down by a system that cares little about addressing the wider issues which victims are faced with. This feeling of frustration is a trigger which sets off my trauma leaving me feeling let down by a system that continues to fail so many time and time again. While my priority is to stand up for others while also doing so for myself, there are times like today where I have worked solid for 18 hours only to end up feeling deflated. The right to appeal a sentence and for that information to be given to both parities at the time of sentencing is an issue that needs serious attention yet my emails continue to fall on deaf ears.
It is clear which ever way it it is looked at, victims are being denied the opportunity to appeal a sentence and Josh’s Law will change this. Poor victim support services must start to be a thing of the past and something seen as a failure, and which the CJS openly accepts.
Today has been challenging as will every 11th day of the month, but I was determined to not let it pass without sharing my thoughts in spite of my trauma.
#5years1month #JoshsLaw #victimfocused #victimsrights