Claire grew up in a home where domestic abuse was part of everyday life. She saw her father abuse, control and hit her mother regularly. This was extremely traumatic for her and although after some years her parents separated, she experienced flashbacks, anxiety and depression because of what she had seen and heard as a child. She had problems attending school because of this and life was very difficult.
Our Young People’s Advocacy Service supported Claire. This helped her to come to terms with what had happened, open up about her feelings, and build her self-esteem.
At the age of 17, Claire wanted to get more involved with our client consultations, and she joined us in interviewing for new support workers. She wrote this piece about what she looks for in a good support worker, or any professional working with young people who have been affected by abuse and trauma. Her advice is eloquent and touching:
I need you to speak to me and know me, I need someone who can relate to how I’m feeling.
I need you to have experience, not just in working with young people, but in dealing with touchy subjects.
You need to not just comfort me by helping me get through it, but also with my practical needs. I need you to help me with other organizations, such as getting me counselling, understanding where I need to go to for what.
I want you to understand why I might not want to go to school. I’m not lazy, I need you to help me fulfil my potential. Systems can be difficult to understand and it’s a hard fight by yourself: I need you to be on my side.
I need you to be strong enough not just to help me with what’s happening, but to move me on to the next step.
I don’t want help to live with it; I want help to move on from it, physically, mentally and emotionally, to the next chapter of my life.
We have changed Claire’s name to protect her identity.
BCWA’s support services
Visit our support pages to find out more about our Children and Young People’s Services.