Category Archives: Uncategorized

Neglected older children missed…

According to a new joint report from inspectorates Ofsted, HMI Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and HMI Probation, ‘…the neglect of older children[1] sometimes goes ‘unseen…’ 

The Report, published 6th July 2018, delivers findings from inspections of services for children in six local authority areas: Stockton-on-Tees, Cheshire West and Chester, Haringey, Bristol, Peterborough and Wokingham.   The inspections reviewed practice in children’s social care, education, health services, the police, youth offending services and probation services.

The Report describes how ‘…too often, local agencies are failing to spot the signs of neglect in older children…neglect of young children is usually better identified but older children suffering the same abuse are slipping through the cracks…’

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice at the Care Quality Commission said: Older children experiencing neglect need proper care and support from a number of services, but proper intervention cannot happen if the neglect they face is misunderstood or goes unseen and unchallenged.”

Siarad Da agrees with Professor Steve Field and supports the Report calling for: ‘…the behaviour of older children to be understood in the context of the trauma they have experienced…’  We know that when professionals fail to look behind the behaviour of older children this often leads to feelings of isolation and experiences of social exclusion and involvement with the criminal justice system.

Get the full Report here

[1] There is no agreed definition of the age of an older child. The programme of inspections used the term ‘older children’ to include children aged seven to 15. The age range was chosen following a pilot sampling of neglect cases. A focus on this age range allowed inspectors to select from a wide sample of children and consider issues in middle childhood and transition into adolescence for neglected children.  (Growing up neglected: a multi-agency response to older children, Page 3)


Autistic men and women are especially disadvantaged by the prison and criminal justice systems

Serving a prison sentence can be difficult, and even more so if you’ve got an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). The difficulties facing offenders with ASD are not limited to their social vulnerabilities but also their understanding prison expectations and boundaries.  They also face the additional challenges of interpreting the non-verbal communication, that tacitly organises the prisoner hierarchy.

We know that there are high numbers of prisoners in the UK with a diagnoses of ASD; but there are many more  that go undiagnosed because of society and/or the criminal justice system’s (CJS) inability to “look behind the behaviour”.

Currently only one UK criminal justice institution, Feltham Young Offenders, has met the standards to achieve an ‘Autism Friendly Award’, from the National Autistic Society. Accreditation requires supporting offenders across a host of areas of prison life with the aim of reducing the risk of re-offending in this vulnerable prison population.

Siarad Da believes that when CJS professionals have access to training that equips them to use appropriate communication when working with offenders with ASD traits, they will be providing a crucial part to securing better engagement in interventions that help reduce re-offending rates.

To find our more about achieving the ‘The Autism Friendly Award’ visit the National Autistic Society website:

Click here to find out more about specialist accredited training:  ‘Working with Vulnerable Offenders’

Is the justice system retraumatising vulnerable young people?

28 November 2016 |

A report from Beyond Youth Custody (BYC) states that young people in the criminal justice system have a disproportionate amount of childhood and adolescent trauma – ranging from emotional, physical and sexual abuse, to neglect, bullying, violence, bereavement and abandonment – in their backgrounds, and that this must be identified and responded to effectively.

Previous studies of trauma among groups of young people found that:

  • 91% of violent young offenders have experienced abuse or loss
  • 40% of female and 25% of male young people in custody have suffered violence at home
  • 33% of female offenders have suffered sexual abuse

Research also indicates that offenders are more likely than non-offenders to have suffered adverse effects from traumatic experiences, which appear to be linked to offending behaviour. Trauma can result in inappropriate aggression and is strongly associated with a range of problematic behaviours including violence, antisocial/criminal behaviour, sex offending and substance misuse.

Periods of imprisonment can themselves have a traumatising effect on young people and can also make existing trauma worse.

BYC’s report recommends that organisations across the children and youth justice sectors look at how they can ensure that:

  • Trauma and mental health concerns are effectively identified in young offenders at the earliest opportunity, with alternatives to custody being provided where appropriate
  • Rehabilitation services include efforts to support young people to develop coping skills and resilience to manage anger and stress
  • Services offer trauma-informed wraparound support which acknowledges and pays attention to the trauma that many young people in the system have already experienced or witnessed (and may continue to l experience during custody and after release)
  • Increased training for professionals is provided to equip them with the skills to identify trauma in young people, so that appropriate support and guidance can be provided


Pippa Goodfellow, Beyond Youth Custody Programme Manager, says:

“Young people who have experienced trauma need appropriate support to guide them through the criminal justice system in order to address their offending behaviour and change their lives. Only by ensuring trauma is identified and equipping staff to respond effectively can we ensure the system does not compound the impediments to young people’s chances of moving on from crime.

“With appropriate support and guidance young people with some of the most negative stories of childhood and adolescent trauma can be helped access opportunities and to re-shape their futures.”


Trauma and young offenders: a review of the research and practice literature

The report presents key findings from a review of the research and practice literature concerning trauma in the backgrounds of young people who offend. It aims to highlight what is currently known about trauma within the population of young offenders, and to identify the importance of this knowledge for effective resettlement practice. It focuses on:

  • Definitions of trauma and the different ways in which trauma has been understood in the research and practice literature
  • The prevalence of different types of traumatic childhood and adolescent experiences in the backgrounds of young offenders
  • The effects that such trauma can have on young people in the short-term, and its longer-term impacts on emotional, social, and neurological development
  • The links between trauma and young people’s behaviour, including the extent of their capacity to comply with youth justice interventions
  • The implications that an understanding of trauma and its effects might have for resettlement work undertaken with young custody-leavers. Click here for full report


Young offenders and trauma: experience and impact: a practitioner’s guide

This practitioner briefing aims to highlight what is currently known about the links between trauma and young people’s behaviour and development.


Trauma and its effects are a key consideration for those who work with young offenders. Not only are traumatic experiences very common in the backgrounds of young offenders, but how the impact of these experiences can limit their ability to engage with opportunities in the short term, and in the longer term can seriously narrow their life chances.


It is therefore critical that resettlement practitioners are aware of issues concerning trauma because attempting to address behaviour without understanding a young person’s underlying difficulties can result in unsuccessful and sometimes counterproductive interventions.


This practitioner briefing aims to highlight what is currently known about the links between trauma and young people’s behaviour and development. The next practitioner briefing explores how this insight can begin to inform work with custody leavers. Click here


What is Executive functioning, and how can we cultivate it?

Executive function is a mix of three distinct mental skills that allow people to manage their thoughts, feelings and actions in everyday life.  These three skills are: working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control.

  • Working memory – the ability to hold information in your head to use for the appropriate task.
  • Cognitive flexibility – the ability to look at a problem from several different perspectives and to determine the best solution.
  • Inhibitory control – being able to resist temptation, focus on long terms goals and defer gratification.

Having these skills helps make you more focused, a better planner, and more emotionally regulated. You’ll process information faster and do better under pressure. Any parent can tell you that kids take time to fully develop these ways of thinking, and that some children do it better than others. have produced resources that highlight Signs of executive function at different ages.

But what if you or your child don’t have these skills? Siarad Da has a full training program dedicated to building these kinds of cognitive patterns and strengthening decision-making abilities in vulnerable young people…it all begins with effective communication.


Check out our website through the link above or visit us at  to learn more.


Siarad Da is delighted to celebrate with our most recent students who have achieved the Siarad Certificate accredited by Middlesex University.

Our training has helped many of our learners find employment and others build the confidence and drive to continue their learning and gain further qualifications.