Community Action Network (CAN) is delighted to name ACTS FAST (Abused Children’s Trauma Support Family Advice Strategy Team) as its ‘Community Heroes in the Spotlight’ for September 2022.

ACTS FAST supports families that have been affected by child sexual abuse and indecent images. It is dedicated to providing professional support for parents and carers of children who have been sexually abused – and supporting non-offending parents and carers whose loved one has accessed indecent images.

James Druce, Acting CEO of ACTS FAST, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by CAN in recognition of the incredible support our dedicated team provide for vulnerable parents and families across Dorset and beyond. As a small, local charity we’re always under pressure to keep up with demand, so it means so much to the team that their hard work is being recognised because they really do go above and beyond.”

James added: “We’re seeing more families reaching out to us for help because they are dealing with the fallout of child abuse. It’s a traumatic time and without us many feel isolated and struggle to cope with the pain and chaos. Dealing with child abuse when it’s happened to your own family is one of the toughest things any of us can go through. We know the pressure it puts on mental health and that’s one of the reasons we work hard to help our parents and families, because we know what it can be like when you’re feeling abandoned and dealing with it on your own.”

Thanks to the team’s dedicated and caring support, James said that ACTS FAST is “seeing families filled with hope again, ready to restart their lives and re-frame their futures”. He explained: “It’s so rewarding for us when we see parents excited about their family’s future again – they might come to us in the darkest head space, but over time we get to see the transformation and are pleased with the many lives we’ve contributed to saving along the way.”

With World Suicide Prevention Day taking place on 10th September, and a theme for 2022 of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’, CAN aims to highlight the incredible support offered by ACTS FAST in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

Hannah Rees, Engagement Lead for CAN, said: “The highly specialised, bespoke support offered by ACTS FAST saves lives. Families who have had traumatic experiences are helped to heal together. ACTS FAST’s creative blend of counselling, arts and nature activities help families to move forwards when they may have felt hope was lost.


ACTS FAST helps families that have been affected by childhood sexual abuse to deal with the impact of this traumatic experience and help them to grow again. Finding ways to manage emotions, they develop strategies with a family to re-gain their hope and see brighter days ahead.

The charity also supports families where a loved one has been involved in accessing indecent images. There may be children in the home, as well as the non-offending parent who are left with the devastating shock of what their partner has been accessing online. ACTS FAST stands with the non-offending parent, will always listen to them, and will support their emotional wellbeing so they can regain strength and thrive again.

You can find more information about ACTS FAST here

‘It saved my life’ – ACTS  FAST service users have their say

‘Joanna’ said: “With ACTS FAST, I know there is hope and life again after what happened to my little girl. I’ve been shown how to manage my own tough emotions so I can be there for my girl when she needs me most. It has literally saved my life to have this support - nobody else understood a thing I was saying, and friends found it too hard and too difficult to get their head around. Having lovely people to be real and honest with was just something else – it was the outlet that saved me. Now, life’s slowly getter better and I am starting to see better days ahead.”

‘Sam’ said: “One of the things I had to overcome was the immense guilt and shame I felt for my boy. I felt I had let him down, even though I know I couldn’t have done anything different to protect him and I know it wasn’t my fault. The charity helps me to live more positively with that truth. I am slowly getting there and it has been amazing because I didn’t know there were other parents going through the same stuff as me, and that’s changed my life. ACTS FAST has pretty much saved my life, so a big thank you to them.”