• Tue. May 21st, 2024

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Laura’s Book Provides a Secret Way to Fight Childhood Abuse

A Morpeth mum who endured the painful experience of child abuse during the 1980s and 90s has written a book to educate and empower young children to recognise the signs and speak out about sexual abuse.

Laura Coel, known as Lou to her friends, is a professional singer and runs a busy casting agency. She has written the book “Laura’s Secret,” to share as a resource for parents, safeguarding agencies, schools, and children themselves. It will be used as a tool to help young people express their feelings and know what to do and who to talk to if they are victims.

Lou herself is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. From the age of around eight she was subjected to the demands of her stepfather. Eventually, after years of imposing terror on Lou he was convicted and sent to prison. Although Lou did get some closure from the conviction, she was left scarred mentally to the extent that she felt suicidal and unable to carry on.

“When it did stop, I started having problems with my mental health and I was very poorly. I still didn’t want to tell anyone about what he had done because I felt that it was my fault, and I was responsible because of the way I’d been conditioned and groomed.”

Lou’s book, “Laura’s Secret,” is designed to be accessible for children as young as three or four, acknowledging that they can start absorbing knowledge early. It aims to help children understand the difference between good secrets and bad secrets. The book gently tells the story of Laura’s childhood without using explicit language or content that might disturb young readers. It implies Laura’s unhappiness, making it suitable for a wide age range.

“I’ve been thinking about writing this book for a long time, and it’s something very close to my heart. When I was sexually abused, at that time, nobody discussed it. I didn’t have the vocabulary to express what was happening to me. If I’d had a resource like this as a child, I might have been able to talk to my mum or give her some clues about what was going on. I have three young daughters myself and I’d hate them to go through what I have.”

In the front of the book, there are instructions for parents, helping them navigate the reading experience with their children. The book encourages parents to read it first, discuss it with their children, and engage in a dialogue about the content. It includes questions to prompt discussions, such as identifying good and bad secrets and understanding the importance of trust within families.

“Laura’s Secret” is a valuable resource not only for parents but also for educators and safeguarding teams. The Lions charity is set to provide 150 copies of the book to schools in Northumberland, and Lou hopes to see it become a standard resource for schools nationwide. The book can be particularly beneficial for children who may need extra support or are considered vulnerable.

Lou hopes that this book can prevent other children from enduring the same suffering she did. She believes that children need to understand the concept of personal boundaries and the importance of speaking out when something is wrong.

The book is currently available on Amazon for £8.50, with the minimal cost associated with self-publishing on the platform. Lou is optimistic that her book will reach more children and parents in the future, as she seeks to make a positive impact in the fight against child abuse.