Helping to support young people after abuse

Angelica experienced abuse aged 12. She shares her story and talks about her role in developing NICE guidance.

Angelica (not her real name)

My teachers picked up that something wasn’t right and suspected something was going on at home. My support teacher was really nice and patient and she let me know I could talk to her if I ever needed to.

Eventually I opened up to her about abuse at home. Social services got involved. It was so scary; I felt sure people at home would know I had told someone and things would get worse.

A social worker came to see me at school. My support teacher stayed with me the whole time and this made me feel safer. I had to repeat everything to the social worker. I felt really scared.

The social worker said I wouldn’t have to return home and that emergency foster placement had been arranged. She then told me she would take me home to collect my clothes. This terrified me as I thought that if she took me back things would get worse and I’d be made to stay.

At home, they argued with the social worker and I had to stay the night. I think the whole situation was dealt with wrong. I was put in a very scary and dangerous position being taken home and the people I lived with knowing I had spoken out. Social workers should have understood the fear and danger. Luckily the day after I was placed in foster care.

Being involved with the NICE guidelines has been a positive experience. I feel like the changes will help others receiving services as a result of neglect or abuse and it will help professionals better understand how to effectively help and support young people. I feel it is a big step in the right direction and I feel really good to have been part of it.

NICE worked with national support group Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) to help Angelica and other young people affected by abuse and neglect to share their experiences and help shape 2017’s NICE guideline on Child abuse and neglect.

In February 2019, NICE published a quality standard outlining five priority areas for improvement in this area.

Further resources and information on NICE’s child abuse and neglect guideline can be found here

Tags: NICE guidance, child abuse, quality standards, child abuse and neglect support

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