Fife councillor reveals her childhood abuse to back new campaign

Councillor Fay Sinclair.Councillor Fay Sinclair.
Councillor Fay Sinclair.
A Fife councillor has opened up about her childhood abuse experiences in support of a national campaign.

Councillor Fay Sinclair revealed her story as Fife Council agreed to support the Adverse Child Experiences (ACE) campaign.

She said her  abuse lasted two years, but it took her a further eight to  go to the police – and that was just the beginning.

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Cllr Sinclair, who is convener of the council’s education committee,  spoke out to highlight that  anyone can be affected by adverse childhood experiences, and the impact doesn’t end at childhood.

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She told the council: “Two years, the length of time my abuse lasted.

“Eight years, the length of time that passed before I finally felt able to report it to the police.

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“Eight more years, the length of time before I went back to the police to report it again and to discover there was no record of that first statement.

“Ten hours, the length of the police interview to record as many shameful details as I could remember. It ran to 40 pages.

“Three years, the length of time the police investigation rumbled on. Four minutes and 44 seconds, the length of the phone call to tell me that he had been interviewed and released without charge. A lifetime, the length of time I will live with my adverse childhood experiences.”

Cllr Sinclair said the imnpact for many  was lifelong.

She said: “When children are exposed to adverse experiences, it can have a long lasting ability on their impact to think, interact with others and on their learning. More than that, it has a significant physical impact and can affect health outcomes, even decades later.

“But ACE should not be seen as someone’s destiny.

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“There’s so much that can be done to offer hope and build resilience in children and adults who have experienced adversity early on in life. While this awareness is vital in developing our understanding, I’m proud to say in Fife we’re already taking the next steps to help break the cycle and reduce the impact of ACE.”

The motion to back the national campaign was led by  Councillor Ian Ferguson.

He said “In Scotland there’s been huge progress. The commitment of our teachers and early years officers is already making a huge difference. It’s helping to break the inter-generational cycle of ACE. It can turn toxic stress into tolerable stress. While it may not always be possible to stop adverse challenges, community support can help.”