There is nothing more powerful than learning from experience. Not only does it provide a unique insight into a particular issue or problem. It can equip people to better support those who are facing similar issues.
I developed a bespoke workshop that I delivered and facilitated to social work practitioners and professionals. The ‘supporting young people through familial abuse’ was aimed at helping professionals to support young people that had been through familial sexual abuse. I gave a unique insight into some of the challenges a young person may face in such circumstances by sharing my experience. It was a really good session and through a mixture of activities, information sharing and discussion we all learned from each other.
I invited Debbie Moore, Ex-Detective Constable and Safeguarding Manager at the boy’s brigade, to do a presentation on how the law processes and deals with cases of familial sexual abuse. Debbie also gave guidance on best practice in collating information that a young person discloses. Her presentation gave great depth to the workshop and gave context to what I shared with the attendees.
In the early stages of disclosure, the right support is essential. It is a really sensitive and vulnerable time for the young person and how they are treated in the first few weeks and months, at such a sensitive and vulnerable time in their life will have an impact on their journey in dealing with their experience. It was interesting to hear from a professional’s point of view some of the factors that can have an impact on providing support. It was encouraging to see their passion and determination regardless of circumstances to support young people affected by this trauma in whatever they can. Through my own experience of being in the care system, I know that relationships with professionals such as social workers are short-lived. That is a shame because at the most unstable and vulnerable point of a young person’s life the foundation of stability is so needed. Unfortunately, this is the system of government care. I hope that the workshop provided the professionals with the ideas and tools to be a support to young people in whatever way they can.
I have discovered from my journey of inspirational speaking and training that impact can happen in a moment and leave an impression that lasts for a lifetime. Sonia Clauber was the first Social worker I had as a young, scared and confused young girl, whisked into the unknown world of the care system at 13 years old. The support she gave left an impression on me, and 30 years later I still remember it. It has inspired me in creating this workshop.
This post is dedicated to Sonia. R.I.P Never forgotten.