We spoke at a serious violence collective about our work with young girls who are likely to be excluded and exposed to violence. We feel that it is important that we share what we have our learnt based on our work. So below you will see a short summary of our top tips of how to best support and champion girls affected by serious violence.
- Listen to understand and do not listen to respond. Alot of young girls do not feel that they have someone that they can talk to, someone that cares and someone who wants the best for them. Sometimes simply just being there is more powerful than any words or advice that you may offer.
- If the young girl does want to communicate with you or to express how she is feeling make sure it is in the way that they feel most comfortable. This may be by speaking to you, writing how they feel, drawing how they feel or it may simply be them being able to sit in silence with you as this may make them feel safe.
- Empower the young girls but do not try to rescue them, “ the best teachers show you where to look but do not tell you what to see” – Alexander Trenfor
- Support and champion the girls by being aware that you may need to think outside the box to recognise that they need support. Some girls may be crying out for help but they do not know how to directly ask for help as they may have been told bad things will happen to them if they tell anyone what they have witnessed or experienced.
- Ask the person how they would like to be supported, sometimes what we think will help someone is not what they need. We need to adapt our methods to suit the person the person should not have to adapt to us.