Posted on 07 December 2023
As part of our 16 Days of Action, we’re highlighting the work of our partner, the Tarner Community Project, Brighton. As well as providing much-needed services to the local community, Tarner’s work includes supporting victims of domestic abuse.
Anna* has been attending the Tarner Community Project for over eight years. She’s acknowledged as a very vulnerable young person who has learning difficulties as well as cerebral palsy. She has a significant speech impediment, and has been given speech and language support. She lives at home with two of her brothers and her mum and dad, while two of her sisters live outside the family home.
Anna has a fantastic relationship with all staff at Tarner, and a strong relationship with one member of staff in particular. Anna began disclosing physical, emotional and sexual abuse from family members in her home. This abuse was directed at Anna and another person in her household.
Staff worked closely with Anna to ensure she had the space to be heard, and that it was safe to share this information. Anna’s learning difficulties meant that staff ensured she understood the confidentiality rules, and her speech impediment meant that staff had to be sure they had understood her disclosures. This was done in a variety of ways, including Anna writing disclosures down.
Staff documented everything, and shared with other professionals. They were getting multiple disclosures from Anna each week – she would attend three or four sessions a week and would disclose something at each session. The severity of each varied, but staff were very careful to ensure it was all documented correctly.
There was one disclosure that staff felt was severe enough to escalate quickly, and they accompanied Anna to the police station. Because of her speech impediment and her learning difficulties, staff stayed with Anna and supported her as she spoke to the police.
Anna was temporarily removed from the family home and stayed with a friend nearby, until an investigation was carried out. Staff from Tarner then became very involved with outside services, attending child protection meetings and being seen as the key professional for Anna. Staff then worked with Anna, her family and wider professionals, including social services, the police, Anna’s college and GP to ensure her safety and wellbeing were paramount.
Anna moved into supported accommodation and continues to be supported by adult social services. She has now left college, and continued onto a life skills course, where she is thriving and has become far more independent.
*Not Anna’s real name.