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Rachel Staniforth

Rachel Staniforth

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Quick summary

We drastically underestimate the impact that our actions have on other people.  In the same way, we underestimate the challenges that face those around us – people living in our communities, our neighbours, our friends and our family members – often thinking it can’t possibly be that bad.

All too often – it is that bad.


We drastically underestimate the impact that our actions have on other people.  In the same way, we underestimate the challenges that face those around us – people living in our communities, our neighbours, our friends and our family members – often thinking it can’t possibly be that bad.

All too often – it is that bad.

Some children and young people – too many – grow up in adversity.  This might be from poverty, deprivation, experiencing abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) and/or domestic abuse in the home, having a parent with substance misuse issues, having a parent in prison or having a parent with mental health issues.

These adverse experiences are stressful.  Without the protection of healthy and secure relationships with adults, children and young people’s development is impacted.

Living with prolonged stress can cause biological changes to their developing brains.

These changes can alter the way they respond to challenging situations – they are often looking for the next threat – and so they react in a way that can seem over the top.  This often results in school exclusions and other issues.

I think we would all agree that this is shocking, saddening and entirely preventable.  I think we would all want to do something about this.

There is provision to support children and young people – not enough – but there is provision.  These children and young people grow up to be adults.  Often at this point, society forgets about what has gone before.  Attitudes change – no longer a child or young person who has experienced hardship and adversity, they find themselves an adult at 18, lacking the small amount of support that was available before.

If we do not all work together – including police – change will be impossible.  Violence and criminality are complex social problems.  How can we prevent and reduce these issues without a complex social response?

Given that we underestimate many things – let us not underestimate the power of having someone believe in us.  Someone who believes that we can change and supports us to do so.