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Partners for Protection

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1 Partners for Protection
A Group Based Assessment of a Non-Abusing Carers Capacity To Protect

2 Who we are The Lighthouse/Skylight Service
A specialist service providing support for the Edinburgh and West Lothian communities to address issues associated with young people and sexual abuse. Number 54 Partnership project between NHS Lothian and Barnardo's Skylight/Lighthouse. Started as an early intervention service for children and families affected by child sexual abuse. Based on Research (Ford et al) which highlighted secondary traumatisation of parents, following child’s disclosure, impacting significantly on child/YP recovery from abuse. Research indicated that the early intervention model of working with parents, within 6-8 weeks of disclosure, greatly reduced likelihood of children/young people needing therapeutic or mental health services at a later date Alison and Gillian introduce selves Skylight is a specialist service that aims to alleviate the impact of sexual abuse on children and young people in Edinburgh and West Lothian. We take a child centred approach to our work, offering children and young people as much control and choice as possible in the provision of the service. We believe that children and young people should have a safe and comfortable space for their therapeutic work and endeavour to create an environment that responds to each child's needs. We offer children and young people a range of options for the work including art, play, talking, and others. When appropriate and possible, Skylight also works closely with families and carers of children and young people, as well as other professionals, to help them support and encourage child's work. Lighthouse is a specialist service for children and young people in Edinburgh and West Lothian who have, or who are alleged to have, engaged in sexually harmful or concerning behaviour. Our approach is holistic, systemic, and developmental. We build upon a young person’s strengths while also directly addressing their harmful behaviours. We recognize that many young people’s sexual behaviour may be compounded by difficulties such as trauma histories, learning difficulties, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and attachment problems and our work is tailored to meet the individual needs of each young person. Lighthouse works closely with families and carers of children and young people, as well as other professionals, to help them support the work of their young people No 54 project ….

3 The Group: The Women We Work With
Karen Wendy Chloe Samantha

4 Need for Capacity To Protect Assessments
It has been estimated that as many as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will experience sexual abuse before the age of 18 (Briere & Elliot, 2003). the number of child protection registrations in relation to sexual abuse in Scotland continues to rise each year – rising by 23% in 2008/09 and by 12% the following year.

5 Need for Capacity To Protect Assessments
Challenges of Intra Familial Assessment Secrecy about abuse Intergenerational and “normal” within family Disclosure significant impact on family members They are often in precarious situations as they deal with their relationship with the offender, their commitment to their children, and their own reactions to the details of the disclosure Non-offending care givers may have own history of abuse affecting their reaction to disclosure The discovery that a trusted and integral member of the family has committed a crime of this nature may be deeply destabilizing for many family members It is important not to ignore the role of the non-offending caregiver in these situations. Non-offending caregivers may have been unaware of the abuse, may respond with denial, and/or may have been complicit in some way with the abuse as it was occurring.

6 Need for Capacity To Protect Assessments
These realities are further complicated by the prospect of rehabilitating the offender to the home or - in the absence of remand or a custodial sentence - the offender remaining in the home without censure. These scenarios pose significant challenges to children and families social workers who are tasked with assessing these situations. They must understand and weigh the complexities of the family circumstances to determine what responses promote safety and are in the best interests of the children.

7 Need for Capacity To Protect Assessments
There is a growing recognition that non-offending caregivers have a key role in protecting their children from further victimization and that high quality assessment of a non-offending caregivers’ ability to protect is an integral part of child protection work. However there is a lack of evidence base for this work. to date the literature exploring the dilemmas or position of the non-offending caregiver is limited and there are few evaluated frameworks to guide practitioners with regard to assessing children’s needs and determining a parent’s capacity to protect

8 Historical Responses To The Situation
Criminal Justice based response, work with offender relapse prevention. Aim to increase internal barriers Keep safe work with children. Aim to increase victim resistance. comments on criminal justice in isolation Flaws in keep safe work-responsibility on children to keep themselves safe, can leaving them feeling responsible for the abuse or feeling that they have failed. Good to increase safety and discussion about what's ok not ok but should not be the only strand of intervention.

9 Historical Responses Gerrilyn Smith (1994) has pointed out that “…it is not uncommon for those sex offenders who do undergo treatment to return to families who have had little or no work undertaken with them” From a systemic perspective, there is a significant absence of intervention focused on increasing external barriers to abuse, which are most likely to come from the non-offending and protective caregiver.

10 Skylight/Lighthouse Involvement
Increasing number of requests for assessment of non abusing carers No 54. model of assessment Literature review of available literature on the topic Investigations into what other projects/authorities offered Info from Gillian on the no 54 model Fran’s findings that there wasn’t really a research base as mentioned Easthouse project/ Change project

11 The Sexual Behaviour Unit at Newcastle – a multi agency partnership dedicated to working with sexual offenders, their victims and their families – developed a group work programme in this area of practice some ten years ago called Partners for Protection This stood out from other programmes as it was using a group to inform assessment Why group-”because it is more effective”-discussed later

12 Theoretical Basis Assessment must focus on evaluating the mother’s capacity to assume this position as protector. This assessment must form an integral and central component of relapse prevention and safer communities Smith (1994) is clear to note that such an assessment must occur over time with an expectation of some shift in thinking to occur. The assessment is informed by the exploration of the carer’s views and attitudes to their role over time within the context of a trusting relationship rather than the crude evaluation of a carer’s initial responses after abuse comes to light. Smith notes that it is not uncommon for mothers to experience initial disbelief which may change as they gain and integrate new information and supportive experiences.

13 Theoretical Basis In her model for assessing a mother’s capacity to protect, Smith (1994) outlines ten areas for assessment: 1. Position regarding child’s disclosure 2. Feelings toward the child 3. Role in the disclosure process 4. Position regarding responsibility for the abuse 5. Perceived options 6. Cooperation with statutory agencies 7. Relationship history 8. Openness regarding sexual abuse in nuclear family and support network 9. Own abuse history 10. Vulnerabilities such as disability

14 Theoretical Basis-Why Group
Groups have been found to be extremely effective in reducing cognitive distortion and increasing problem solving abilities (Strand, 2000). Group settings can help women move from less adaptive ways of handling role conflicts and can model more adaptive strategies of negotiation (Levin, 1992). In a group setting, the stigma and sense of isolation felt by those who are mothers of sexually abused children, or partners of abusers, can emerge and be processed (Strand, 2000).

15 Skylight Lighthouse “Partners for Protection”
Survivor Scotland bid for piloting group SBU provided training for 5 Barnardo's staff members, in addition the training was attended by representatives of NHS Lothian, West Lothian youth justice team, social workers at the adult sexual offending team (CISSO) and representatives from children and families including a representative from the reviewing team SBU agree to provide on going consultancy to the group Oct 2012 and Feb 2013 pilot groups run We recognised that this project would need to be multi-agency in nature,

16 Purpose of the Group The Barnardo's ‘Partners for Protection’ Group is designed for women with partners, family members, or others in their close support networks who may present a risk in relation to the sexual abuse of children in her care.  The group provides in depth and comprehensive assessments of these women with regard to their capacity to protect their children from such abuse.  The aim of this assessment is to inform the decision making process in relation to child protection.  While the group does not aim to provide personal or group therapy, some group members have reported gaining secondary benefits, experiencing the programme as therapeutic as well as informative. However the key purpose of the group is to assess the non-abusing partner’s capacity to protect their own children from the risk of further abuse.

17 The purpose of this group is achieved through the following objectives:
Provide education and increase awareness of issues related to child sexual abuse including offender tactics and practices with families and the short and long term effects of abuse. Promote experiential development through emotional expression and improved self awareness. Provide a supportive environment which enables women to express attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that can be assessed in relation to their capacity to protect.

18 Programme Structure The programme is made up of eight, full day, weekly sessions. Each group can consist of 4-8 women and is offered to participants on a voluntary basis. In addition to the eight sessions, participants attend an initial interview, an induction day, a mid group review, and a final feedback meeting. Group facilitators are available to attend relevant meetings (e.g., Children’s Hearings, Child Protection Case Conferences, etc.) during and after the group to provide feedback and input into child protection proceedings.

19 Programme Structure Material delivered by two facilitators with one observer taking notes The observer role was rotated for two of the groups with facilitators swapping roles. Workers met prior to the group and had a debrief after the group. Management attended some debrief sessions External consultancy available to facilitators

20 Programme Structure Module 1: History and self disclosure: Module one is designed to engage the women in the group process and to obtain a baseline assessment of each participant’s capacity to protect as defined by the 10 target areas of assessment (see page 4 above). Module 2: Signs, symptoms and impact of child sexual abuse: This module examines the woman’s ability to recognise the impact of child sexual abuse with the goal of her adopting a more accepting and supportive position regarding the abuse, thus promoting her capacity to protect. Module 3: Offender behaviour: Module three provides the opportunity for the women to explore their understanding of the nature of the abuse, including who is responsible for the abuse and the process of abuse. Mothers who can appropriately place responsibility for the abuse, who can see the abuse as part of a process, and who can understand how her own vulnerabilities may have been manipulated by the offender to create the opportunity to abuse are seen to be better able to protect. Because the non-abusing carers ability to acknowledge that the abuse has occurred is a key protection fact, this module also considers denial and how this may impact her ability to believe the allegations and/or convictions. Module 4: Managing disclosures: Important protection factors addressed in this module relate to whether the mother can adopt an appropriate response to the disclosure and subsequent investigation process. Mothers who are able to respond in a supportive manner to disclosures and who are able to act on advice and requests from child protection services are thought to display a greater capacity to protect. Module 5: Protection planning and future development: The final module of the programme focuses on drawing together the women’s learning by completing plans for protecting their children from future sexual abuse. Capacity to protect is reflected in whether a mother’s solutions are consistent with her understanding of the abuse, and whether she demonstrates an ability to identify and use a range of protective options to protect her children from sexual abuse. Throughout the five modules, and the induction day, the women are engaged in a wide range of activities to achieve the goals of each module and to contribute information to the assessment. Methods used include discussion, vignettes, DVDs, quizzes, worksheets, didactic presentation of information, story telling/self disclosure, individual and paired exercises. These diverse activities are utilized in order to provide multiple learning opportunities that will appeal to different learning styles and allow the women numerous opportunities to take in and integrate information and learning.

21 Adaptations for Scottish Context
Original SBU model used in English child welfare Court Proceedings In Scotland, the assessments contribute to the child protection process (e.g., Children’s Hearings, LAAC’s, Permanency Panels and Child Protection Case Conferences)

22 Adaptations for Scottish Context
More focus on self-disclosure/historical work Inclusion more non sedentary exercises Introduction more one to one time with the women in the breaks as required. This allowed us to be somewhat broader in who we could accept on to the programme in terms of learning needs/being responsive to trauma Allowed for by the somewhat greater flexibility in the Scottish system

23 12 women participated in these groups (4 per group)
Two pilot groups run, 1 subsequent group and further group planned for March 2014 12 women participated in these groups (4 per group) 10 completed, 2 did not complete 10 of the participants referred due to concerns about current or former intimate partners 2 referred due to concerns about both former partners and non-initimate associates Seven of the twelve offenders had been convicted of the sexual offences, with two of the offenders having been convicted of historical offences. Children of seven of the women had been victims of sexual abuse, which was known at the time of referral. Idea two groups per year, this is prob maximum we could do at the moment as we need to take account of school holidays as they can be prohibitive for most of the participants Women who completed full assessment, women who did not complete we had input into decision making through attendance at LAAC and CPCC and commenting on their participation thus far, issues presenting in group, thoughts on non completion

24 Outcomes and Feedback Participants of the Pilot Group
At the end of each group, the women were asked to complete a self-assessment questionnaire. In this activity, the women were instructed to rate themselves on each of the 10 areas for assessment, reflecting where she felt she had been at the start of the group and where she felt she was at the end of the group. Six of the women completed this questionnaire. 100% of the group members rated herself as having made some positive movement along the continuum on each of the ten assessment criteria set out by Smith (see page 4 above).

25 Outcomes and Feedback Participants were also invited to give their feedback about their experiences of the group. This feedback revealed that the women felt the group was difficult and was hard work. However, six out of seven programme completers reflected that they felt the group had been a positive and helpful experience.

26 Feedback from Participants “Fantastic. ” “Hard, but helpful
Feedback from Participants “Fantastic.” “Hard, but helpful.” “Made you think about things in a different way.” “Good to know that others are in a similar situation.” “Saw my situation differently than I had before.” “My eyes are open more to all and what sex abuse is.” “Before, I didn’t believe, didn’t ask questions, and couldn’t face the fact that it happened….now, I accept that my partner [committed the offences], will ask any question, and know what to look for.” “I’ve learned more about sexual abuse and understand how an abuser can get your trust.” “[The group] is a safe place, everyone is the same and you are not judged.” “Group helped a lot.” “[The group] gave me more understanding.” “[Learning the steps to offending] was helpful.” “I’ve realise the full extent of [my partner’s] offences.” “I know what to look for [in both my child and partner] for signs [that abuse may occur or has occurred].” “I now fully understand what people do just to sexually abuse young children.” “I know to get/seek advice if needed.”

27 Outcomes and Feedback Practitioners:-
Each of the facilitators have experience conducting capacity to protect assessments in a 1:1 format and well as in the group format. All three facilitators reported that the group allowed a more comprehensive and in depth assessment to emerge and was superior to individual assessments. It was noted that the group provided more intensive contact with the participants allowing the information to be explored in more depth. Additionally, the dynamics of the group allowed the women to challenge and be challenged in new ways, which revealed additional information about each participant’s views regarding abuse, offender behaviour and protection. The three practitioners responsible for facilitating the groups and compiling the assessments met on a weekly basis to discuss the progress of the group. Additionally, there were two end of group meetings held in which the facilitators were able to collectively reflect on the experience of the group and the progress of the participants. One of the particular strengths of the programme, from the perspective of the facilitators, is the opportunity to develop a collaborative relationship between the women and the facilitators. These relationships are characterised by transparency in which the women and facilitators communicate openly about the assessment, areas of concern, and areas of strength throughout the process. This relationship, built over the course of the programme, allows the women to be viewed as co-contributors to the assessment and empowered them to take ownership of their assessment and to make necessary shifts to increase their own capacity to protect. It was particularly notable to the facilitators that none of the women expressed surprise or disagreement with the final assessment report -- even when the assessment suggested further work was needed -- and were able to talk openly about ways in which they, themselves, understood the needed for further development.

28 Outcomes and Feedback Professionals
Feedback was solicited from social workers and professionals involved in each of the eight cases. Responses from this indicated that the assessment reports are being used in a range of decision making forums: Child Protection Case Conferences, Children’s Hearings, and LAAC Reviews, among others. Each respondent noted that the assessment report had been a significant piece of information in the child protection decision making process. Several respondents noted that the reports have been viewed as being highly credible in these decision making settings due to the comprehensive nature of the assessment, the evidence base for the assessment programme, and the fact that the assessment had been completed by an independent, third party organisation. Several professionals noted that the participants they worked with had developed an increased awareness of the dynamics of sexual abuse and appeared better able to understand how their own vulnerabilities put them and their children at risk for the abuse. They further noted that the women seemed more confident in their parenting and capacity to keep their children safe, a view shared by the responding professionals. One respondent, in a case where the woman was assessed as having low capacity to protect, noted that the participant seemed “calmer” in relation to social work’s recommendations to the Children’s Hearing and was “better able to understand the reasoning” after her participation in the group. This sentiment was echoed by a professional involved in a second case.

29 Graham We would like to introduce Graham to you. Graham has served a custodial sentence for his offences and is now on licence. Group participants are asked to discuss:- What were Graham’s offences? What motivated him to offend? How did he justify his offending to himself? How did he create an opportunity to offend? Aiming to illustrate finkelhor prior to the participants completing own cycle.

30 Family Perspectives Exercise


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