Kay was referred to the Turn Around Project in May 2015. When Kay started to work with us she was drinking daily, homeless and sadly had just had her children removed from her care. She engaged with us immediately and in doing this, we were able to support her to find suitable accommodation with NACRO. Having the stability of her own accommodation gave her the opportunity to concentrate on her health. Over the last year, with our support, she managed to reduce and then stop drinking completely.
Kay then went on to complete her Level 1 Maths and Level 1 English with Derby Adult Learning Service. Her amazing progress continued with the completion of Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities parenting programme and the Pathway programme delivered via Probation. After having completed these entire courses, we noted the huge positive impact on Kay. We saw her confidence grow and attitude change dramatically - for the better. Kay has now successfully completed her Probation Order and has just completed the training with the probation service to become a peer mentor, supporting other ladies of who have had similar experiences to her. Kay now also has all four of her children back in her care and she is working incredibly hard to make their new house a home and plan for their future.
We initially met Anna during one of our street outreach sessions. She had come to Derby to be nearer to her sister. Anna had many needs that required addressing which included substance misuse, health, accommodation and street sex work. Anna admitted to injecting heroin into her neck however, following several months of support including appointments to the drug treatment clinic, Anna’s health started to improve.
It was at this time Anna began a relationship with a man who, through several other street sex workers, was known to our organisation. This man had allegedly committed several brutal assaults on other women over a number of years. Many of his victims had reported him to the police. Two court dates had been set for trial. However, the man had threatened and intimidated the women and the charges had been dropped.
In July 2014 Anna was violently raped by the same man. Her injuries sustained from this attack were incredibly serious and life threatening. We supported Anna and encouraged her to report the crime and the man was subsequently arrested, charged and placed in custody. Forensic and photographic evidence was gathered by the police and they were hopeful this time the case would go all the way to court. With our complete support, Anna remained determined in her pursuit of justice and making sure her attacker was jailed for what he had done to her.
Six months of intensive support for Anna and close partnership working with the police was vital to see this man brought to justice. In the months leading up to the trial, the man had sent several threats to Anna via his associates telling her ‘not to go to court’, threatening her with what would happen to her if she did. Throughout this, we continued to support and empower Anna.
In December 2014 the case was heard before Derby Crown Court and the man was found guilty of rape. The sentence was to be deferred until January of following year. In January 2015 the man was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment. The length of the sentence was reflective of the sustained and brutal attack Anna had suffered. Since the attack Anna has made some positive progress. She continues to engage with our services and is trying to move forward with her life.
Simon is 10 years old. He has lived with his grandmother since birth, due to both his parents having substance misuse issues. Simon was seeing both parents regularly and enjoyed living with grandmother; however he was very confused and often questioned why he was unable to live with his parents. As he did not have a clear answer, Simon harboured some negative feelings towards his grandmother and would sometimes lash out, often being physically violent against her.
Over time Simon became increasingly aggressive both at home towards his grandmother and at school, often getting into fights in the playground. Simon also began wetting the bed at night. Due to a decline in Simon's grandmother's health he would also present as worried and expressed concern over his grandmother dying. Simon’s teachers reported Simon's levels in all subjects were well below the national average; he was struggling to concentrate in class and would often slip into a world of fantasy acting out different characters and personas. School became increasingly worried about Simon's state of mind as he disclosed he was playing video games and watching films that were not age appropriate and filled with aggression and violence.
Initially whilst at Women’s Work his behaviour was extremely challenging, he would refuse to participate in any activities and his aggressive behaviour caused disruption and upset to other members of the group. Staff suggested making some small changes to grandma, for example that she should begin to arrive early so that Simon was able familiarise himself with the staff and environment before the rest of the group arrived. Simon's grandmother attended the parent’s group sessions on positive parenting and had 1-1 support on the importance of ensuring Simon had access to age appropriate games and films and activities.
Over the next few months staff noticed, that Simons behaviour was changing particularly in the creative expression therapy sessions. He had often displayed quite aggressive behaviour, but during the creative expression sessions, Simon was a lot calmer and had the opportunity to express his negative feelings in a more appropriate, controlled and healthy way. The activities that sometimes also involved work between Simon and his grandmother e.g. craft workshops, music and art therapy have also been very beneficial, allowing them to work on their relationship and improve their communication with each other, which has had a positive impact on Simon’s well-being. One of the activities, for example, involved the children drawing a self-portrait and then thinking of positive things to write about themselves on the picture. Sessions such as these have noticeably improved Simon’s self-esteem and confidence.
He was also referred to the school health and an educational psychologist, who found that he had very high levels of anxiety and Simon would use his world of escapism/fantasy as a means to cope with the confusion in his life. He was also assigned an educational support worker at all times in class to support his learning needs.
Our staff worked very closely with Simon’s school and over time teachers also observed a reduction in Simon's aggressive behaviour. He has also developed more positive relationship with staff and his peers and was working on his relationship with grandmother. Simon's teacher also reported progress in his levels and school health reported a significant reduction in his anxiety levels, following his involvement with the Little Links Project. As a result of this holistic support, both Simon and his grandmother continue to make steady progress both as individuals and as a family.
Laura is 48. Laura first began to access Women’s Work in 2012 after she had fled her previous home with her young child after 20 years in an abusive relationship. Her ex partner was an aggressive and violent alcoholic and her young daughter had unfortunately been witness to her mother being attacked by her father. Laura had also suffered years of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a family member and a family friend. Laura was extremely isolated and being treated for severe depression and anxiety. As she was new to the area she did not know anyone and was extremely nervous and fearful to carry out everyday tasks, such as going to the shop, as she felt she was constantly looking over her shoulder and was afraid her ex partner may have tried to find her.
Laura's initial engagement with Women's Work was sporadic and she was extremely challenging to engage, she told staff that on extremely low days she would remain in bed and would often not take her prescribed medication. Because of her own mental health needs, Laura was not able to see the impact this was having on her daughter. She found it difficult to connect with her daughter and admitted that she struggled to sustain their relationship.
After receiving intensive 1-1 support from a key worker, which included regular one to ones, home visits and support attending her medical appointments; Laura began to access the service on a more frequent basis, engaging in programmes and groups - a huge step for her. Laura also completed the Freedom Programme and began to access the counselling service at Women’s Work. When Laura first engaged with the service she had been referred to Social Care by school, as they felt the relationship between Laura and her daughter was impacting on the child’s progress and development at school. Laura felt intimidated and was reluctant to engage with them. She was fearful that her daughter would be taken away and often felt under attack at meetings with social care and that, in turn, led to her responding in a defensive manner. Our staff supported Laura at partnership meetings and helped her to raise her concerns and engage with other services with a more positive approach. Staff also recommended as part of her child’s protection plan that Laura and her daughter to engage with the Little Links Project so they were able to work on their relationship in a familiar and comfortable environment.
As time has passed Laura’s engagement has been so much more positive, she is almost unrecognisable and her confidence has soared. Her family are no longer involved with social care and Laura is more aware of the impact of her actions and behaviour on her daughter’s emotional wellbeing. Laura continues to gain confidence and learn new skills, she ensures she attends all her medical appointments and is taking her medication as required. She accesses the service at least three times a week attending coffee mornings, a confidence course and her counselling appointments. Working with Laura to get to this positive and settled place in her life has been an extensive and time consuming process. Working in partnership with other services such as social care, school and health services has been essential to provide Laura with a holistic approach so she is able to come to terms with the trauma from her past and to support her in moving forward towards a better future for herself and her daughter.
Cheryl was referred to Women’s Work in March 2013. At the time of assessment, 4 out of her 5 children were in Local Authority Care as a result of neglect, substance abuse in the family and being victims of domestic violence. Cheryl has 2 girls and 3 boys. Both girls have previously been at high risk of Child Sexual Exploitation and monitored and supported through Operation Liberty. All children have some form of learning difficulty and one of her boys has been diagnosed with behavioural difficulties.
Shortly after referral a 2nd child was returned home to Cheryl’s care due to her constantly running away from her placement and participating in unsafe acitivities whilst spending time with negative influences. This was the reason the CSE concerns were raised and it was thought she would be safer and protected more effectively in her mum’s care.
Cheryl has continuously engaged in all services and participated in many courses to enhance her own understanding of challenging behaviours and parenting skills, including how to manage children with learning and behavioural difficulties. She has also attended and completed the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities programme in addition to working with the Learning Mentor. Cheryl has also attended safety sessions in relation to substance misuse to help understand her daughter’s use a little easier. She has attended group Counselling sessions externally to support her with her own past experiences but a referral has been made for our own Counselling service after the original services were withdrawn due to non-interest
With support from her key worker at Women’s Work, Cheryl has learnt some basic life skills including household administration, and the importance of opening and attending to mail. She has built the confidence to phone services such as Derby Homes herself instead of relying on her support workers.
Cheryl is partaking in healthy activities including Aqua Fit and also spends time painting and decorating the house with one of her daughters – inspiring her daughter to want to complete a painting and decorating course at College. Cheryl has always encouraged her to attend College and continues to support her development and growth. Whilst the other daughter is now an adult and participates in risky behaviours and interacts with substance abusers, Cheryl has been safeguarding her other daughter effectively, and as hard as it is for her does not permit the other daughter to come in the family home when under the influence.
As a result of all the hard work Cheryl has done with us, Social Care are now discussing and planning to remove her daughters care order by the end of May 2014. It has also recently been decided that 2 of her 3 sons will shortly be returned to Cheryl’s care. Their relationships grow stronger after each of their contact sessions and the boys have also begun to have contact with the daughter residing at home as well to enhance and strengthen the sibling relationship. The 3rd son currently chooses to stay with his Foster family because he is happy there though Cheryl has regular contact with him.
Sue was referred to Women’s Work TurnAround Project, in October 2014. Sue is 33 years old and was identified as a prolific offender, having a long history of offending which included shop lifting to fund her heroin habit.
Sue was in very poor health when we started working with her. She was not registered with a GP, so after her initial assessment, that was the first priority. She had four Deep Vein Thrombosis in her legs and other health worries, including a serious gynecological problem. She regularly suffered panic attacks and did not go outside, except to go to her Probation appointments. When she was at home, she would stay indoors with the curtains shut.
Her four children aged 11 months, 10, 13 and 16 lived with their grandmother, Sue's mum, who has full Parental Guardianship. Wowever, Sue is allowed contact and helps her mother on a daily basis. The children were all subject to Child Protection Orders.
Since being referred to Women’s Work, we have helped Sue by getting her registered with a GP and ensuring she gets to all her health/hospital appointments. She is also now on a script to manage her heroin addiction. Other areas of support given to Sue included going with her to Social Care meetings, supporting her with Education Welfare, housing and debt advice and working to build her confidence and self-esteem.
We have been working with Sue over a period of 9 months and have seen such a massive difference in her confidence levels. Sue now goes to some of her doctor’s appointments on her own she often goes out of the house on her own to run errands. She no longer takes heroin and her script has been reduced, over the months. Sue participates in group sessions and on occasions has led the group; she will also now make her own appointments, if and when she needs to.
The children are no longer on Child Protection Orders - they are now Children in Need - and Sue and her mum are completing the Strengthening Families Parenting Programme at Women's Work. They are both enjoying their contact with the service and doing extremely well in many areas of their lives. They often say that they do not know what they would have done or how they would have made all these changes without the help of Women’s Work.
Sue has not offended in this time period whilst working with Women Work, and is now working towards getting stable accommodation and looking long term at getting her children back in her care.