“My worker has encouraged me to think for myself and be myself”
A 15 year old British female was referred into the WLL CNS from Getaway Girls in October 2017. The case was closed in October 2018.
The young woman was identified as being a risk to herself as well as at risk from others, particularly around CSE. She was on a Child in Needs (CIN) plan and had a Children’s Social Care Worker (CSWS) worker. Within her support plan the young woman identified that she used alcohol and drugs but did not have a good understanding of their effects. She also recognised that she needed support to increase her knowledge of sexual health and to develop her confidence, self-esteem and managing her mental and emotional health. She identified that she was not very happy in school or in her community and wanted to learn how to better resist peer pressure.
The young woman’s attendance at school had deteriorated over the past 12 months and she would regularly run away or stay out without notifying her family therefore the Police became involved. She had witnessed domestic abuse in the family home and work has been ongoing with the parent around positive parenting. The young woman, along with her siblings, cares for her mother who has suffered a stroke and is house-bound and the family were at risk of becoming homeless.
The Women’s Lives Leeds (WLL) worker and young woman identified what needed to go in the support plan. The young woman was able to have real input in what she wanted to learn more about and not just what people were telling her to do. Together they identified the following topics:
- Building resilience, self-esteem and confidence
- Developing an understanding of CSE and how to identify it
- Healthy Relationships
- Sexual Health
- Drugs and Alcohol
- Peer Pressure
- Online Safety
The young woman engaged well with the worker from the beginning and was happy to receive support. Other workers supporting the young woman commented on what a positive experience it had been:
Your work with X is the first time she has engaged meaningfully with any service we have offered her, so it’s really positive that she is participating with you.
The young woman was pleased to have the opportunity to meet the WLL worker away from the family home.
To be able to work separate from my family has helped. I have enjoyed coming here [to Getaway Girls], doing some work, having fun and getting out a bit [like] going to McDonalds to have a drink.
The worker initially organised to meet with the young woman on a certain day to encourage her to attend school after their meeting, however the worker made it very clear to the young woman that it was not her role to ensure she attends school but to offer support sessions. This was appreciated by the young woman’s CSWS worker and a worker at the young woman’s school who commented this is great news and even better if it means that the young woman will come into school after [their meeting].
The worker delivered a variety of engaging sessions for the young woman around the topics mentioned above and worked hard to build a trusting relationship with the young woman who had previously disengaged with many services and workers. The young woman’s CSWS worker commented The young woman has engaged positively with the WLL worker and agreed to attend their sessions, this is brilliant for the young woman.
The young woman engaged well with the sessions that she attended and both her and the worker were confident that she had understood the concepts and how to use them outside of the sessions.
I do stuff my own way and not how other people tell me. I listen to everything. My worker has encouraged me to think for myself and be myself.
The worker delivered sessions on Healthy Relationships to demonstrate how she may be experiencing CSE without recognising it.
My worker helped me to understand the signs of healthy relationships and how to keep safe. [I will] definitely use what I have learned [when I am] in a relationship. [I will never forget] what the signs are of a relationship going bad.
The worker delivered a session on sexual health with the young woman and felt confident that the young woman had understood the importance of using protection against STIs and where to go for further information, support and protection. In her evaluation form the young woman highlighted that the session on sexual health had been the most useful of the sessions for her.
The young woman started to attend CIN meetings so that she was able to have her say in decisions made about her, the WLL worker believes this was one of the key points in her making real changes.
On closing her CIN and social care case the young woman’s social worker commented the young woman said that she wanted to continue to see you [WLL worker] if possible and said it was a positive experience for her. She has vulnerabilities; however I’ve seen a real positive change in her since she’s been working with you and your service and wanted to say thank you for all the hard work.
The young woman identified that it was important for her to have a female worker. I can talk to a woman more. It’s just weird talking to a boy about stuff that you don’t want to talk about.
As a result of engaging with WLL the young woman:
- Has increased knowledge and understanding of Healthy Relationships, CSE/Grooming, Sexual Health, Social Media and Online Safety and Peer Pressure
- Has not gone missing since November 2017
- Is attending school more regularly and commented that she is enjoying it more
- Has improved self-esteem and confidence
- Can better manage her mental and emotional health
- Is regularly attending her work placements
- Has had her social care case closed
- Has reduced her CSE risk
- Has completed all the actions outlined in her CIN plan
- Feels safer at home and in the community