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Córa-Laine Moynihan: Advocating Safe Space for Young Victims of Abuse

Córa-Laine Moynihan: Advocating Safe Space for Young Victims of Abuse

Hi folks! I’m Spiffy, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth, back with a new guest, Córa-Laine Moynihan. Córa-Laine is a 2019 Diana Legacy Award winner, committed to making a difference in the world. Let’s see how she’s doing it! 

Spiffy: So Córa-Laine, you are an award winner! Tell me about it!

Córa-Laine: I’d love to, Spiffy! I support survivors of abuse and young people suffering from poor mental health. Young victims of abuse and those suffering from poor mental health are less likely to secure good grades at school and are more likely to find themselves in dangerous situations. So I support them as they rediscover their confidence and self-esteem, by providing creative projects, peer mentoring, and fundraising support as a Student Ambassador for the charity Safeline in the United Kingdom. 

Spiffy: My interest is piqued! What motivated you to delve into this work?

Córa-Laine: Well, Spiffy, I became a mental health advocate and student ambassador for Safeline after I received support from them when I was 13 years old. Prior to that point, I had been tossed around between different support services for years. I was trying to overcome the impact of domestic abuse and sexual harassment, and I was also seeking help with (what I now know is) autism. Safeline was the first social service that acknowledged what had happened to me and let me speak about my own experience without feeling judged. I received art therapy and attended their projects, which helped me to become the confident and outgoing person I am today. 

Spiffy: Wow, Córa-Laine, that was a life-changing encounter! So you decided you wanted to give back?

Córa-Laine: Exactly, Spiffy! I wanted to share Safeline’s amazing work with the world. I wanted to let other vulnerable young people know there is support out there to help them become the person they want to be and guide them on their own recovery journey. I don’t believe young people deserve to be left behind just because some have more obstacles to overcome. Whether the obstacle is a mental health disorder, abuse, or bullying, Safeline helps young people overcome these things, just like they did with me.

Spiffy: It really sounds like an amazing organization. How is this contributing to a more equitable and safe world?

Córa-Laine: There are so many ways, Spiffy! Safeline provides a safe place for survivors and vulnerable young people to begin their healing journey. They offer one-on-one counselling, creative therapies, ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advisors), and young people's projects. Young people develop empathy and improve their communication and professional skills by embracing their creativity through drama, music, art, and sports. Time is also dedicated to discussing safeguarding topics like drugs, internet safety, and being an ethical bystander.

Spiffy: It sounds like this can impact a person on many different levels. Can you tell me about any recent milestones?

Córa-Laine: In August 2020, I planned and delivered the very first ‘Young Ambassadors' project for Safeline — I taught four young girls how to be effective leaders. The project took place over four days and we covered topics such as support and volunteering, fundraising, marketing, and public-speaking. Each session concluded with a discussion about internet-safety and stress-busters. This project helped the attendees build confidence and taught them about how to stay safe online.

Córa-Laine at her coffee morning fundraiser with Matt Western, Member of Parliament (MP) for Warwick and Leamington, United Kingdom. (Photo courtesy of Córa-Laine Moynihan)

Spiffy: You’ve already hinted at this, but I’m guessing you have more to tell. When have you encountered failure and how did you deal with it?

Córa-Laine: Over the summer, The Diana Award hosted multiple webinars to address important issues for young people. They asked me to deliver one titled, “Body Image and Self-Esteem”. I spent weeks planning and practising the presentation, but while actually delivering it via Zoom, I had many technical difficulties, and the power cut out! At first, I was distraught. Then I quickly contacted the organizer explaining what had happened, and I recorded the presentation to send out to participants. I learned that I could either give up at the first hurdle or push on to achieve my end goal, even if it looked a little bit different than what I expected.

Spiffy: I’m getting the idea that “quitter” is not a word in your vocabulary, Córa-Laine. What other lessons have you learned about not giving up?

Córa-Laine:  I struggle to cope with sudden changes and immense stress, and my boyfriend has had to deal with a lot with my outbursts. Regardless of how distressed I am, he always helps and encourages me to take care of myself. It wasn't until recently, after a lot of crying and him bringing me ice cream (even though he prefers healthy food!) that I realized how much people care for me. It opened my eyes to understand how I need to take better care of myself and give that same care back to others.

Spiffy: What message would you like to leave with our audience? 

Córa-Laine: Well, Spiffy, I love telling stories and sharing my creative work. It is why I chose to study English and creative writing at university. I’m affected by the many injustices in the world and I felt like I had to do something about it all. Initially, I started doing what everyone else was doing, but that didn't work! My motivation was there but my heart wasn't in it. I am a creative person, so I integrated creativity into my work, and I started to succeed and enjoy myself. I encourage everyone to use their personal strengths and passions and create their own success. 

Spiffy: Well, Córa-Laine, I think you’re doing an amazing job at inspiring people to do just that! I’m going to continue my mission of finding more amazing people like you to interview. It’s been an honor!

Córa-Laine Moynihan is a 2019 Diana Legacy Award holder for her work supporting survivors of abuse and young people suffering from poor mental health as a Student Ambassador for Safeline. Córa-Laine has raised thousands of pounds for Safeline and continues to raise awareness about abuse, empowering young people through her project Hope Quest. (Nominated by The Diana Award)