“I am more confident in myself and with boys who don’t treat me properly.” Rosina, aged 13
Rosina was referred to Empower after becoming a victim of physical assault and robbery by three young men who were known gang members. She was already known to the police and social services as she was regularly missing from home. Rosina had an older boyfriend who was gang involved and she had witnessed him carry out violent acts on others. As a result, Rosina’s relationship with her family had broken down. Her parents said they no longer felt they could keep her safe and feared that she may be bringing risks to their family through the people she was associating with.
The Empower Young People’s Advocate (YPA) made contact with Rosina through her school and arranged to meet her to explain the support Empower could offer her and her family. Rosina didn’t want to talk about the attack against her. She said she was fearful of reprisals and this was playing heavily on her mind. She just wanted to get on with her life and put it behind her. Rosina said she wanted to have someone outside her family and school that she could talk to in a confidential setting and agreed to meet the YPA twice a week.
Rosina and the YPA explored issues around healthy relationships and as she gradually opened up, she expressed her fears about her boyfriend and his friends. She had been having unprotected sex with her boyfriend and when the YPA supported Rosina to attend a sexual health clinic, it was found that she was pregnant. Now 14, Rosina decided to tell her boyfriend. He assaulted her, kicking her in the stomach in an attempt to end the pregnancy.
Rosina decided that she wanted to end the relationship with her boyfriend and live somewhere where it would be safe for her and the baby.
The YPA called a multi-agency meeting with education, social care and health professionals. Together the agencies worked to identify a mother and baby foster placement in an area that was safe for Rosina.
Rosina continued to meet regularly with her YPA. Together they discussed issues of identity, self-esteem and action planning to enable her to achieve her goal to become a teacher. Rosina went on to give birth to a healthy girl, no longer goes missing and is progressing well at school. Rosina said that once she felt safe and secure she was able to focus on her aspirations and felt more able to cope with her life.