Case Study - Children / Young Peopleís Support Service Refuge
A referral was made to refuge of a Mum with her 17 year daughter (D) and son by Nottingham Womenís Aid Helpline.
The Mum had experienced ongoing domestic abuse, however, the catalyst for fleeing to refuge was a disclosure by (D) during an argument with Mum that her father had sexually abused her for a number of years. Mum immediately packed their bags and contacted Domestic Abuse Services in order to access alternative accommodation.
On arrival in refuge our concerns were:-
- D presented as very withdrawn and acutely shy.
- She was reluctant to leave her room.
- She was unable to engage with other residents of the refuge, offering no eye contact or communication.
- Mum was distraught but was able to offer strong and loving support to her children.
I explained the role of the Child/Young Peoples Support Service in refuge to D and that she would be in control of the service and empowered to choose if and when she wanted to talk and what support she may need.
During the first session with the family, D was extremely quiet but engaged with playing a series of games using the Common Assessment Framework cards, as this would be a good initial indicator as to how she was feeling. Dís mum went first and was very open and honest in her answers she explained that she was feeling much less scared now and was happy to be with her children. Dís brother went next under Dís insistence. He was very confident and spoke about his best friend at home, his dog and the move to the Refuge. He added that the most important people in his life were his mum and sister and he wanted to make sure that they were ok. He began to cry, D and mum comforted him. D then moved closer to the table and studied the CAF cards, she picked three that she felt were relevant to her.
- D said that her family and boyfriend were important to her, she described how she wanted them to have closer relationships in the future.
- She said she wanted a job in IT and computers.
- D described herself has not being clever because she didnít gain any GCSEís and explained that her reading and writing abilities were not good.
Identification of process to access appropriate training.
It was an incredibly positive experience to see D begin to open up and begin to look more comfortable with the process. This initial activity led beautifully into discussing work in more detail as D had explained that this was important to her. Dís mum asked me if I would accompany D to a Connexions appointment. An appointment was made and D accessed support from me in discussing the appointment and what it may entail.
The appointment went well and despite obvious nerves from D she was able to explain what she wanted. The Connexions worker talked about lots of different options including an E2E programme. D liked the sound of this and eagerly took some leaflets. Following the appointment D was honest enough to say that she had not understood all the options discussed so I clarified these with Dís mum present. Following the conversation D said she knew what she wanted to do, she smiled and for the first time I observed some confidence, assertiveness and purpose in her voice.
We attended a further appointment and an interview, which D completed with confidence and calm. As part of the interview it was necessary for D to complete an English and Maths test which did cause some anxiety. I gave her lots of reassurance and encouragement as she sat at the computer and D completed the full 1 hour and 15 minutes paper. D scored a level 3 in Maths and level 2 in English, she experienced many complex and diverse emotions including relief, pleasure and surprise at the successful completion of the task and subsequent place on the E2E programme.
Access to E2E programme/training and work placement.
D talked constantly on the journey home about her friends, experiences at school, her family and army cadets, which had been a big part of her life up until moving to the Refuge.
D was brimming with confidence and immediately told her mum about the test, her achievements and acquiring a place on the programme. D started the E2E course promptly and has gone from strength to strength with her skills, confidence and development. She is more able to relate to other children, young people and adults and has recently completed a residential weekend away. Recently Dís tutor has asked her to develop a website to employ her talent with computer programmes, she was thrilled about this prospect.
D is due to be begin a work placement as part of the E2E programme, this is an exciting venture and one that D has been looking forward too and working towards for the last two months. D is hopeful that a job will follow the placement as this remains her focus.
Support re: legal processes
D has, with support from NDWA and the Police provided taped evidence re: the sexual abuse for the approaching court case.
The family are awaiting re-housing and will then access appropriate counselling/therapeutic support services.
Lindsey Wills: NDWA Children/Young People Support Worker(Refuge)
01 December 2008