Victim Support: Children & Young People Specialist Training

Hello all – this is my 20th post!

I have recently completed a three day specialist training course with Victim Support. This was a new course focusing on working with CYPs or Children and Young Persons. This was a fantastic opportunity to develop my interpersonal skills and learn about some of the complicated laws regarding CYPs.

On the first day, we looked at the UN Convention on Rights of the child and The Children Acts 1989 and 2004. We look at how Victim Support reflects these legal obligations imposed through its policies and procedures. The biggest topic of conversation was Safeguarding. As one of many services that offers confidential support, there are situations where public bodies are required to disclose information if that body deems that there is a risk to that person. We had to think about how exactly we would explain these legal obligations to children as young as 4 years old.

There are circumstances where children are expected to provide evidence in court proceedings, and part of the service delivery involves providing practical support in these given situations. We looked at the Youth and Criminal Evidence Act 1989 which sets out the special measures in place for children who are witnesses to a crime. These special measures may involve clearing the public gallery, removing wigs and gowns and establishing a video-link based appearance. In situations like this, we as Victim Support have to be prepared to work with multi-agencies such as the Witness Service commissioned by the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Working with multi-agencies can do fantastic things, but we had to take into account the things that hinder multi-agency work. For example, gate-keeping over cases due to interests in funding, dumping cases which may affect departmental targets, bureaucracy and double-tasking. As case workers, we have to be prepared to deal with these Multi-agencies, and know exactly who will jump in and at what stage.

On the second day we looked at social media and the impact it has on a CYPs experience with crime. We considered current issues such as anonymity sites such as ask.fm and formspring, child sexual exploitation on chat room environments such as Habbo Hotel, revenge porn and the coercion of cat-fishing. On the positive side, we considered the ways in which we can protect CYPs online safety by looking security settings and home network restraints. My personal response to this aspect of the course – I wanted to take down my complete digital existence. When it is given much thought, it is too easy to obtain personal information about a person.

On the final day we put the skills into practice by creating action plans after identifying needs from case studies. That did not necessarily mean role-playing, but moreover considering whether we could identify needs from reading the studies and watching reconstruction videos. This proved the most difficult element of the task, but as with anything at Victim Support, it is a skill which can only be developed over time with experience.

I am really glad I attended the training course, I feel more aware about the processing in place for CYPs, and the importance of safeguarding and confidentiality.

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