Anna Hammond* is in year 10 and last September referred herself to the school-home support service because another girl was verbally abusing her. She told Cammiss the girl’s family had made false allegations to social services about Anna’s mother being abusive to her and her younger siblings.
Two weeks later Anna saw Cammiss again after she had several arguments with her mother, who was threatening to put her in care. After investigating, Cammiss established that Anna’s father would care for her if necessary. Anna then disclosed that her brother’s girlfriend had also phoned social services to report the mother.
Over the following few weeks Cammiss met Anna regularly and she made no further disclosures.
In October, Anna went to Cammiss, worried about a social worker visiting the home to question her and her siblings over alleged abuse from their mother.
Anna wanted to deny the incidents and was concerned what would happen after the social worker left. Cammiss phoned the social worker and Anna made a telephone statement while she held her hand. That night the children were removed and taken to live with their father.
Cammiss attended Anna’s and her siblings’ initial case conference and presented her concerns. Once social services were satisfied that the children were safe, they needed little more contact with the family.
“I supported Anna emotionally as she felt she was to blame for taking mum away from her siblings,” says Cammiss. “I feel strongly that, without the support I’ve given Anna, she would have found it difficult to cope.”
* Not her real name