A young man who was abused as a child and spent time in the care system has turned his life around with his new business.
Julian Thomson’s early life featured a series of traumatic events.
The harrowing experiences he went through led to years of alcohol abuse and he struggled to get his life back on track.
But now the 27-year-old, from Stobswell, is trying to help others who have had similar experiences through his business Re:Connected, which he started with the help of charity Launch It.
He said: “When I was a baby, my mum fled an abusive relationship and came to Dundee.
“I lived here until I was five and during that time I was intermittently in council care.”
Julian spent time in foster care before being adopted when he was seven years old. He has also been homeless twice.
He said: “My experience of adoption and of being abused as a child subsequently led to some poor decisions later in my life.
“There was alcohol abuse, I had quite a lot of social problems and got involved with dodgy people. I was in and out of jobs, dropped out of college and wasn’t able to stick in at education very well.
“Despite that I did manage to get a couple of Highers. I failed university because I was drinking too much but when I got to the age of 22, I stopped drinking and I tried to make a bit more sense of my life.
“It’s taken quite a long time to get to where I am today. It’s taken a lot of therapy, a lot of counselling and a lot of really supportive people. I would say that my adoptive parents have been a great source of support and I think they were very much a protective and resilient factor in my life. I think the fact that they were good people was a good sounding board.
“This journey started last year when I was in Australia. I decided to report the abuse that I suffered as a child to the police as I had never done that before.
“When I arrived back in the UK I spoke to the police. Part of going through that journey was a lot of validation for me. It was about ‘did this actually happen to me, these are the challenges that I faced, I deserve to be listened to and I deserve to have my story heard’.
Reporting it was massive and coming back to the city where it happened was also massive.”
Julian’s aim is to help employers be prepared to offer support to staff who have gone through traumatic experiences and whose behaviour may be affected by their past.
He said: “In my stage three trauma work came this desire and drive to make a difference. I’ve got a story to tell and I have been through my own process. It was like I came out the other side of a very long tunnel and saw the light.
“I’m developing a trauma-informed training package at the moment and that will enable organisations to change the way that they work.
“Instead of seeing the behaviour of someone who is responding to trauma, they will be able to see the person behind that behaviour and actually realise that that person is responding to traumatic memories that have been triggered.
“In the programme there is training, workshops, seminars and we also offer a bespoke report that will look at organisational processes and procedures.
“It will look at culture values and make recommendations that organisations can implement to ensure their workforce is trauma-informed.
“It feels amazing to have started my own business – I sometimes can’t believe it.
“I think it is a privilege to be in this position to give people a voice because I didn’t have a voice for so long.”
For more information about Re:Connected, contact Julian on 07535 867630 or email enquiries@ re-connected.co.uk.