Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA) is the lead organisation in Scotland working towards the prevention of domestic abuse. In 2020/21 Scottish Women’s Aid piloted a webchat service providing direct support to children and young people experiencing domestic abuse, involving children and young people in service design.
Matter of Focus acted as the evaluation partner for this work, helping SWA to first map their outcomes, and acting as an external guide to gathering data, reflections and learning against their outcome map.
This work highlights key points of learning and impact and models a ‘highlight findings’ report, based on using the Matter of Focus approach in a practical way to meet the needs of a focused and short-term development project. It was felt to be especially important for this project, as a learning piece, to invest in evaluation to sit alongside the work and to capture the learning as fully as possible.
About the CYP Webchat pilot service
Many years’ experience of participation work with children and young people has told Scottish Women’s Aid that children and young people want a service that is just for them, not an extension of adult services.
The choice of developing a webchat service was guided by the Improving Justice in Child Contact project, a partnership project across five European countries hosted by the University of Edinburgh, where the young expert group indicated that a webchat service felt safer for young people to use.
If you have an interest in supporting children and young people affected by domestic abuse, you might like to read our recent case study on our work with the Improving Justice in Child Contact project, involving a partnership of women’s rights organisations from five countries.
Children and young people’s input has also shaped Scottish Women’s Aid’s understanding that children and young people impacted by domestic abuse want to speak with someone who ‘gets it’ – that is, who is specifically informed by their understanding of domestic abuse.
The CYP Webchat pilot was an additional service added to the Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline (SDAFMH) from 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. It was one in a parcel of developments funded by the National Emergencies Trust as a Covid-19 emergency response and ran as a pilot project to explore this type of support and how it might be delivered.
About this report
Our Highlights Report draws together evaluative evidence gathered by Scottish Women’s Aid between November 2020 and April 2021, highlighting key points of learning and impact.
This report is organised by three different processes or activities undertaken by the pilot project:
- awareness raising and promotion,
- consultation and participation (with children and young people who have used support services for experience of domestic abuse),
- supporting children and young people using the service.
Consultation with children and young people provided valuable insights into the perspectives of children and young people, e.g. around the language to use when speaking about domestic abuse. The design of the service and the publicity material was found to reflect this input.
While children and young people’s use of the service was limited during the pilot period, coinciding with Covid restrictions, the project yielded valuable learning around the service offer and practice learning on how to run a webchat service well.
Children and young people’s involvement in the service design and the conversations within Scottish Women’s Aid and between the organisation and local groups/wider networks, emerged as strengths in the process.
Learning from this work
The project will lead to the bringing together of a resource pack for local Women’s Aid groups that wish to further develop their services to children and young people by offering webchat support.
Generated as part of the Covid response, this work tells the story of how the project was impacted by, and had to show agility in navigating, the constraints of the pandemic, particularly school closures.
This work highlights how moving through the structure provided by our approach can help you to surface and generate all of the learning you do through a short-term and creative piece of work like this, with a light-touch, pragmatic and flexible approach to gathering evidence against the project’s outcome map.
If you are interested in capturing learning and impact around young people’s participation in programme design, you might like to read our report on our work with the Life Changes Trust, and watch their film ‘Side by Side’.
There is a great fit between the values and principles of participation and co-production and our approach to outcome mapping and evaluation. If you are working in this area and would like to have a conversation to learn more, please do get in touch.
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