A GROUP to support victims of childhood abuse has been set up in Bury.

It is being run by Bury Samaritans in collaboration with the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC).

Eight people signed up to the first set of free sessions, which ended on Monday at Bury Samaritans’ base in Knowsley Street, and more classes are being planned in Bury.

Through individual and group activities, it is hoped that people’s relationships with family and friends will improve, as well as their self-esteem and self-worth.

Sarah Kelly, NAPAC’s training and development manager, is delivering the sessions, and she herself suffered childhood.

She was abused by her father, who was later convicted, and says her experiences show it is vital that people are listened to.

She said: “When I was five I spoke out but I wasn’t listened to. “That is why it is so important to take what people are saying seriously.”

The sessions are aimed at helping people develop from “victim to survivor to thriver”, and have currently only been delivered in Belfast and London, as well as Bury.

Sarah said: “Most adults feel they are to blame for what has happened to them, and we do a lot of emotional work about manipulation.

“A child is never to blame, but it is that emotional abuse that makes them think that.”

Debby Thompson, a volunteer for NAPAC who is helping Sarah to deliver the sessions, said it is a rewarding experience to see the transformation that can be achieved.

She said: “I always feel reticent about saying how much I enjoy working with people who have had such an awful experience, but it is a real privilege to see them go through the process and see how they improve.

“If the members feel you have trust in them, it helps to give them more trust in themselves.”

NAPAC have seen the number of people use their services rise since national high-profile cases have emerged.

For more information visit napac.org.uk; call their free hotline on 0800 085 3330; or call Bury Samaritans on 0161 764 0055.