DDN March 2021 March 2021 | Page 7


experience , this could include more residential rehab beds and funding of family support charities , she adds . ‘ We need to think about how trauma happens and we can think more creatively – we need to stop thinking about this in silos .’
On that note , the Children ’ s Society has previously called for better joined up working between drug treatment and child sexual exploitation services ( DDN , February 2017 , page 4 ) while the One in Four report urged drug services to make sure staff are properly trained to respond appropriately to disclosure of sexual abuse and that the right referral processes are in place .
‘ There ’ s a need for training for everybody ,’ says Zeedyk . ‘ If we could have a basic understanding of how childhood trauma works , we would be at a different place – your whole response to people can shift quite quickly .
‘ We do need more referral but , as a start , drug workers need to understand that listening and affirming in itself will help , because when people feel validated that ’ s part of the recovery process . It doesn ’ t mean we stop there , but it ’ s a step along the way and it gives drug workers something they can do in the moment .
‘ The drugs system wasn ’ t set up to think “ I ’ m going to need to deal with child sexual abuse ” so we need to shift that and it won ’ t happen naturally , it will only happen because of leadership ,’ she continues .
‘ We need some brave and determined leaders to change the
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk is a research scientist and child psychologist . Since 1993 , she has been based at the University of Dundee within the School of Psychology . Her academic career began in the USA , where she completed her PhD at Yale University .
In 2011 , Dr Zeedyk stepped away from a full-time academic post in order to establish an independent training enterprise with the aim of helping the public understand the importance of emotional connection for human health and happiness . In 2014 , she founded the organisation Connected Baby , where she and her team work to help parents and professionals make practical use of the science of connection .
In January 2021 , Dr Zeedyk was a key organiser of the online event Trauma at the Heart of Scotland ’ s Drug Deaths .
Biography at suzannezeedyk . com
system , and if people in positions of leadership can ’ t do that then the grassroots will need to hold them to account and say , “ I know I ’ m irritating you , but I ’ m going to keep at it .”’
DRIVING CHANGE Which brings us back to the voices of experience . ‘ All the time I watch professionals who think they know best , and often they don ’ t – if the people in charge of the system had been very good at this we wouldn ’ t have lost 1,264 people last year . The thing that really drives change is people in recovery telling their personal stories . We need to use their courage to drive change elsewhere .’ DDN