A young person speaks of their experiences of participation following CSE.
Blog special, first part in a series featuring the voices of young people.
A young person we have previously supported talks about their experience of being part of our youth participation group:
The consequences of not involving young people in decisions that affect them is that trust can become harder to build between the young person and the person who is making the decisions for them. This can then mean that the young person is less likely to open up about what has happened to them.
When you’ve been groomed, if feels as if all your control has been taken away from you and as part of your recovery, you then need to feel more in control of your own life and decisions, even if in reality you’re not completely. If decisions are made for you by a professional without at least asking you first, it can seriously set back your recovery and stop you from communicating and cooperating with people that are working to support you. You need to be able to trust them and that means they need to include young people in decision making.
This is why being involved in youth participation after CSE is extremely important. It gives you the chance to be yourself when you may not be able to at school or at home. It can also help you get away from things at home if things are tough there. It also gives you a place to make new friends which is important because when you’re going through CSE, you can lose a lot of friends which can leave you feeling alone, empty and broken.
Being involved in youth participation gives you the chance to get involved with activities and bond with others in the group. This can give you a sense of self-worth and makes you feel that you are part of something. It makes you feel as if you’re not the only one going that’s been through this, and that other people are experiencing similar trauma.
It can also lead to opportunities to try and makes changes in the laws and systems around how professionals deal with CSE. Knowing that you can make a difference to other people like you, makes you feel like you didn’t go through this trauma for nothing. I think this is a key stage in recovering after CSE.
Everything you say in participation is confidential, unless there is any reason for a professional to think you might be harmed. Being around others who have been through similar experiences gives you opportunities to talk about what’s happened to you if you feel comfortable and in a safe environment.
However, I think there needs to be much more effort to make youth participation after CSE available to more young people and to encourage other professionals to promote this as a service as it has really helped me and many others I know.