The Head of Early Help, Inclusion and Vulnerable Children spoke of the commitment to children, young people and their families to use straightforward and family friendly language as outlined in the ‘Language That Cares’ document. The Panel formed groups to discuss words and phrases that may have negative connotations and considered the impact the words may have on a child or young person. The Panel discussed the use of ‘victim-blaming’ language which wrongly implies that a child or young person is responsible for abuse or crime they are subjected to.
The Panel felt strongly that this terminology should never be used. The Panel also discussed the challenges of negative perceptions of young people who find themselves involved in sexual / criminal activity, noting that they are often the victims of trauma and abuse.
Officers remarked on the improvements that had been observed since the introduction of the ‘Language That Cares’ document and reported that young people feel very passionate about the issue and have expressed that they would like to see their lived experiences recorded kindly, accurately and with compassion. When young people are accessing their records, they are supported by workers and offered help and support to understand what can often be difficult reading.