"Parents were shot and mothers were raped in front of their children. This is the horror that Russian troops made in the Kiev region. Today the Kiev territory is free from occupiers but there is still a lot of pain. After the Russian troops left, there were many corpses of civilians, even teenagers were raped there." ACET Ukraine team member
At the beginning of April, Russian troops left the Kyiv and Zhytomyr areas, where many ACET Ukraine staff members and volunteers are based. Whilst relieved that they feel physically safer, the team have been sharing stories of the atrocities that have now been revealed by this withdrawal. The United Nations report that 'Sexual violence is the most hidden crime being committed against Ukrainians' (click here for more).
(Of course, in the east of the country, the fighting continues and we are yet to see the full extent of the impact on those living there).
Thank you to those of you who have already given to our Ukraine Appeal - if you haven't given yet, please could you consider taking part this week?
With volunteers in towns and cities all over Ukraine, the young people ACET Ukraine work with have all been affected personally by the war, with some sheltering in situ, and others internally displaced within Ukraine or seeking refuge across the border in neighbouring countries.
As the active conflict becomes focussed on the Donbas region and communities begin to reopen in areas where the Russians have left, there is an acute and growing need for specialist psychosocial trauma-informed support.
Research shows that children who’ve lived through war and conflict suffer a high level of psychological problems, and children who go through trauma experience physical brain changes that affect impulse, anxiety, and emotional regulation.
Adolescents with cumulative exposure to war and those with PTSD resulting from war events have been found to have significantly higher rates of substance abuse and alcohol addiction.
Ukraine already had one of the highest suicide rates in Europe - and the mental health burden has significantly increased since the start of the war.
PLEASE CAN YOU HELP?
The money we raise together will be used to provide trauma-informed counselling and mental health support to assist these young people as the war continues - and for the aftermath.
This psychosocial support is critical for their emotional healing as many have been displaced from their homes, experienced the bombing of their cities, been trapped in bomb shelters for weeks, and witnessed or been victims of sexual assault.
Every £1 you can give will make a difference.