‘Sharing Stories’ wins National Crimebeat Award

There was a special celebration recently for the National Crimebeat Award Winners 2020, in the form of a virtual celebratory cream tea!

As the group of young people who devised and created the ‘Sharing Stories’ film and supporting booklet were unable to go to London to collect the National Crimebeat Youth Led Project of the Year award last March they were invited to attend a virtual celebration event hosted by the High Sheriffs of Clwyd and Gwynedd together with Amanda Parker JP DL, chair of National Crimebeat..

The group were presented with their prize and a cheque for £1,000 as details about the project, why they chose to do something and see a short version of the winning film were shared with the audience, online.

During the last 18 months the young people, who were victims of sexual violence, have been involved in the development of the bilingual resource booklet, film and podcast entitled ‘Sharing Stores / Rhannu Straeon’ which has been facilitated by Hannah Mart one of the CYPSVA team at the SARC.

The aim of the project was to inform and advise about the CJS process and how to cope with it, and to support the recovery of young survivors by giving them a positive platform and an opportunity to reframe their trauma, increase their resilience and reduce isolation.

In addition, the booklet is being used to help professionals understand the experience of the CJS journey from the perspective of the survivor and better support them.

One of the young people representing the group who created Sharing Stories explained: “We started this project about 18 months ago when Amethyst SARC (Sexual Abuse Referral Centre) decided to create a survivor led resource that young people could use as a guide through the process they found themselves in. We wanted it to be created by young survivors for young survivors using our words and experiences.”

“Our starting point was thinking about what we had learned along the way that had been useful to us and might help other people and what we wished someone had told us the first time we went to the SARC. We believe that our stories have real value and worth and that we can help other people by telling them.

The young people wrote down their stories or recorded them and with the help of SARC staff and the North Wales Police graphic design team they put it all together.

At the same time they were raising funds to pay for everything. They did a sponsored walk up Snowdon and also had financial help from PACT, The High Sheriff’s Crimebeat Fund in North Wales, with Stephanie Catherall the High Sheriff of Clwyd and Susan Jones, High Sheriff of Gwynedd and also South Caernarfonshire Soroptimists.

The young person added: “When we first saw the final booklet it was very moving. It was so powerful to realise that we weren’t alone, that other people felt the same way that we did. It helped us to know that we were helping other people and that people might feel that they were supported and could survive what has happened to them.”

The booklet aimed at children of secondary school age, is now given out to every young person who attends the SARC and also by police officers and health professionals working with young people who have been subjected to sexual violence and are going through the criminal justice process.

Since its launch in September 2019 it has had over 20,000 views on the North Wales Police Facebook page and hundreds on Youtube. It has also been used to train new police officers, school liaison officers and was part of the local health board’s safeguarding training. It is also part of the national children and young people’s ISVA training and has been shown at national conferences as an example of good practice.

High Sheriffs of Clwyd & Gwynedd jointly nominated the group for the National Crimebeat award.

In welcoming everyone to the virtual event High Sheriff of Clwyd, David Wynne Finch said: “This is a moving and deeply personal project which has been devised and developed by young people in North Wales who have been victims of sexual violence and is aimed at helping and supporting other young people who are encountering similar circumstances.

“With the support of Hannah Mart, Stephanie Williams and the team at the Amethyst SARC based in Colwyn Bay these young people have produced something quite magnificent and I know that all of us will be moved by their work.”

“As we all know, this has not been a ‘normal’ year and the award ceremony was not able to take place. If 2020 taught us anything it is that nothing is guaranteed and everything is vulnerable which is why projects such as “Sharing Stories” are increasingly more important and vital for the welfare of our young people.”

He continued: “This event is to celebrate the selfless and considerable efforts that have been carried out by our wonderful young people without any thought of recognition or reward.”

Susan Jones, former High Sheriff of Gwynedd said: “I was deeply moved by this project and the issues that it addresses. All of us at Gwynedd and Clwyd Crimebeat were delighted to nominate these young people for an award and even more delighted when they won! I am truly delighted for their success.”

Eryl Williams, High Sheriff of Gwynedd added: “Through our Crimebeat charity High Sheriffs play an active role in promoting the work of young people within their communities. High Sheriffs give our own personal awards to individuals, often unsung heroes within our communities, who have made an outstanding contribution in some way. And so it is such an honour for Crimebeat in North Wales to have a project that we have supported be recognised at a national level.”

“This is a truly wonderful project and everyone involved should be so proud of their achievements. It must have taken tremendous strength and courage to produce such a moving film having endured so much as victims themselves.”

 

NOTE

Amethyst is a partnership between NWP, BCU and Third Sector Agencies, the funding for this project has come from numerous sources including PACT and Crimebeat.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFTVlk9N2j4

www.crimebeatnorthwales.co.uk

www.pactnorthwales.co.uk

www.national-crimebeat.com