Kinergy is a Bristol based, professional, confidential counselling service for survivors of sexual violence, sexual abuse and/or rape supporting both male and female survivors from 16 years of age. Heads of Counselling Donal Carmody and Nicola Edmunds told us how Bristol Zero Tolerance is incorporated into their work.
Kinergy has been based on the boarder of Bristol and South Gloucester for nearly 20 years and see about 70 clients a week across the South West area, 70% women and 30% men. The organisation have signed up to Bristol Zero Tolerance because, as Donal acknowledges, “we recognise that we are privileged in being able to work with vulnerable adults who have survived past traumas. The basic principle of our counselling service is to provide an opportunity for our clients to work towards recognising their full potential which can be enhanced by gaining personal insight. We adhere to the guidelines set out in the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and in addition recognise that we would benefit from being a part of a wider, collaborative community based forum which would increase our own knowledge base and enhance our understanding of the impact of the wider cultural context of abusive behaviour.”
The way that Kinergy works feeds into their support for Bristol Zero Tolerance. As Donal notes “we believe that our basic principles of counselling highlight the rights of the client from the beginning of our working agreement. We acknowledge with the client that entering into counselling is their decision and choice. However, we are mindful of the perceived ‘power’ difference between client and counsellor and therefore all counsellors accept an undertaking not to abuse their position of trust… in any way.” This is supported through their internal policies and procedures which encourage transparency and reflect that the organisation operates within a framework of equality and respect for clients and colleagues. As Donal says “we are inclusive and value diversity, which creates a welcoming environment for all.”
For Donal a Zero Tolerance City would be “a place where all the citizens can live in a safe, equal, compassionate and inclusive environment” and this means “a city where we begin by acknowledging that we currently live in a society based on a hierarchical, power based structure within which we have a joint responsibility to eliminate undesirable behaviour in the most appropriate and safe way possible and where we consistently treat those around us with respect, dignity and as equals.” As a service provider around gender-based violence issues in Bristol it is also important to think about what impact Bristol Zero Tolerance can have. For Donal the initiative means “that the necessary resources to challenge abusive behaviour at all levels and in all organisations will be consistent, transparent, reviewed, financially and otherwise supported while working collaboratively for the benefit of the entire community. In a global context, research shows us that the more equal societies show marked improvements in the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of citizens. This is what we would hope the initiative means for Bristol.”
Kinergy always welcomes donations as it enables them to continue to provide their services, so that people who have been raped and/or experienced sexual abused have support. The support helps provide individuals with one to one counselling, therapeutic groups, psycho educational groups and training for counsellors.