A NON-PROFIT venture providing job opportunities and workplace training to Islanders who have experienced abuse is due to open its doors later this month.
The Butterfly Effect – which has received £155,000 worth of financial backing from the government – includes a café and restaurant at the site currently operating as the St Malo Bistro in the Parade.
The initiative – led by Cheyenne O’Connor – will also provide a secure location in a non-judgmental setting in which abuse survivors can be listened to.
They will have access to ongoing, survivor-led services, such as peer-support group meetings, training, a helpline, a job shop, and advocacy assistance.
Ms O’Connor said: ‘We aim to help all survivors of sexual abuse, institutionalised abuse and families who, past or present, have fallen under Children’s Services to ensure they receive the best support by fully trained trauma-informed specialists, including those with lived experience. It’s clear that there’s a strong link between experiencing abuse or being in care and being at a higher risk of criminal behaviour.
‘Unfortunately, survivors of abuse and care leavers often struggle to reintegrate into society after serving time in prison, especially if they lack basic necessities such as employment and accommodation. It is one of our aims to also help towards reducing reoffending.’
Ms O’Connor explained that the idea for The Butterfly Effect had been in the works for around two years, following discussions with the citizens’ panel formed after the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.
She said that it represented ‘all of the things survivors wanted that aren’t already available on-Island’.
The advocacy assistance part of the project will begin straight away with the café itself due to be open to the public later this month and Ms O’Connor said that staff members already included an abuse survivor and a newly released prisoner.
‘Survivors have said time and time again that they just want somewhere to feel safe,’ Ms O’Connor explained. ‘The café will benefit survivors in providing somewhere to go where the right support is in place.’
She said they were ‘sincerely grateful to all those who have supported this venture and made it possible’, adding: ‘In particular, we would like to thank the Government of Jersey for its endorsement and financial support, and also Zedra Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd, who provided The Butterfly Effect with company formation services, free of charge.’
Chief Minister Kristina Moore called it a ‘fantastic initiative set up and led by survivors of abuse to help others with workplace opportunities and training’.
Prison governor Susie Richardson, said: ‘The more we can do to stop abuse and support the victims, the safer the Island will be and the investment in this scheme is a significant commitment by Jersey to stopping this cycle of abuse.’