Back in May, our teen reporter Lola spoke to Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, and asked her about what she was doing to safeguard young people during the pandemic. This month, we met up with Anne again, this time answering questions she’d put to our teens.

Watch the film to find out how our teens would like society to change and what they’d do if they were Prime Minister for a day…

Thanks to Lola, Liv, Jude, Gemma and Anne Longfield for giving their time for this interview.

You can watch the previous interview with Lola and Anne Longfield below

Our Raising Teens radio show looks at domestic abuse this week and how lockdown has exacerbated the issue. The National Domestic Abuse helpline reports a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown. This episode aims to raise awareness and provide advice for those who may be listening and need help. Guests discuss all forms of family abuse including child to parent abuse. If you need help or support with this issue, we have included lots of useful resources at the bottom of this post.

Host Guy Lloyd talks to Jane Griffith, Director at the charity CAPA (Child and Adolescent to Parent Abuse), Alex Psaila from Relate and PC Roisin Vafaee from Sussex Police.

Our teen reporter, Lola Ray, talks to a mother and daughter who have experienced domestic violence and child to parent abuse in the home.

You can hear Raising Teens on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey at 7.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and online on BBC Sounds.

🔊 Listen to Raising Teens: Domestic abuse in Lockdown on BBC Sounds

Listen to previous episodes of Raising Teens:

🔊 Listen to Separated Parenting in Lockdown on BBC Sounds

🔊 Listen to Lockdown Home Schooling on BBC Sounds

🔊 Listen to Anxiety in a Pandemic on BBC Sounds

HELP & ADVICE

In an emergency call 999. If it is not safe for you to speak you can use the Silent Solution system – call 999, and if the operator hears no response, you will be directed to press ‘55’ if you need help. The conversation will then continue in a way that allows the caller to communicate by using yes/no to answer questions.

24hr National Domestic Abuse Helpline freephone 0808 2000 247 

Refuge, supporting women and children who experience all forms of  violence and abuse

Women’s Aid, a grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services in England and build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated

Rise, an independent, Brighton-based registered charity that helps people affected by domestic abuse. Rise offers practical help ranging from direct advice to refuge accommodation for those whose lives are at risk.

NSPCCWhat is child abuse?

CAPA, responding to Child or Adolescent to Parent Abuse.​ Supporting parents, grandparents, carers, young people and professionals

Domestic Abuse Survivors’ Alliance, a Brighton-based peer support group for anyone who has experienced, or been affected by, domestic abuse.

The Portal, a partnership of leading Sussex Domestic and Sexual Abuse Charities with a combined experience of over 60 years supporting survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and violence. Freephone 0300 323 9985  

Brighton & Hove Council help for victims of domestic abuse

Respect Phoneline, a confidential helpline, email and webchat service for domestic abuse perpetrators and those supporting them.  Freephone 0808 8024040

Survivor’s Network, offering support for those who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

HELP IN LOCKDOWN

If you are self-isolating with someone who makes you feel unsafe, Rise has produced a guide to help you stay safe at home during lockdown

HELP WITH DRUGS AND ADDICTION

Talk to Frank, information about drugs

Young Minds on drugs and alcohol

Childline, information about addiction

Make (Good) Trouble’s Beren, 19, has decided to ditch social media for a month, “to make this experience of lockdown more positive”. With the enforced pause in many young people’s lives due to lockdown, many have taken the time to reflect on their priorities and what they want from life.

Here Beren discusses why he’s switching off, and what the first few days have been like. 

Day 1

Today I have felt a massive shift in my motivation to do things that I usually wouldn’t do. For example, reading books, making a vlog and thinking of how we can create a world of happiness and love. 

In our day-to-day lives we never stop for a minute to think about what we really desire. Most of our actions are conditional and unambitious. This first day has given me a moment of stillness and a pause, from the fast-moving world around us, to think. I have thought about what I would like to happen in my life and what I want to do, as well as how this affects other people. I want to inspire people to do something different that makes a positive change in their life. Social media is so amazing but only if it is used in a positive way to network and bring people together. The images we get from social media are normally fake and inspire people to look a certain way. Social media should inspire people but not to change their appearance. It should be a place where we encourage a healthy and exciting lifestyle. We shouldn’t rely on this privilege or we cannot be our true selves. 

Day 2

I have realised that we humans can have such a good time being productive and be in a really good headspace. But when one thing goes badly or stresses you out, our mental health goes downhill very quickly. Feeling stressed made me feel sick and like I was getting ill and I suddenly felt really tired. So I think social media is good sometimes to get our minds off things but can suck a lot of time out of us. Now I have to sit with my thoughts and I’m going to read a book to destress. I hope it works. 

Day 3 

Today has been such a good day. recorded my vlog for yesterday. From this day I have had more time to think. Our daily lives are what we make them to be and will be as productive and exciting or as boring and lazy as we set out then to be. If we are unmotivated, we will be so lazy and fall into bad habits. But that little bit of effort to make a good routine will fulfil all the desires we have daily. 

What I’m trying to say is that thing that is a little harder than doing nothing may just fill you with joy and happiness that will last days, instead of that minor joy from social media which only lasts the duration. 

Also, today I realised I have been more connected with love for things around me. Such as nature, animals and my family.

You can follow Beren’s adventure on his vlog.

Make (Good) Trouble teen reporter, Lola Ray, spoke to Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, and asked her about her work as “the eyes and ears of kids in the system” during her six year term and her hopes for the future for young people. They discussed lockdown and how it’s affecting teens, parents and teachers.

Longfield says that her main focus in her six years as Children’s Commissioner for England, has been to “shine a light on those vulnerable kids. I really felt that they were so overlooked. Often invisible, if you like, to the services. They’re the children who fell through the gaps, got excluded from school, were in secure accommodation, the ones that were in secure accommodation. And in a way, the system couldn’t cope with the kids, rather that the kids couldn’t cope with the system.”

She calls for the government to look at these children’s situations, find these children and give them the support they need. She calls for there to be a vulnerable children and family recovery programme.

With school exclusions on the rise, Anne Longfield argues that schools should have a positive inclusion policy, whereby children that are excluded are helped to get back to their school as soon as possible. “I want them to be looking at when children need support and really providing that. If there is an exclusion, I want that to be a trigger… But if there is a reason why that child can’t continue in mainstream education… then I want them to get the best support they can… Alternative provision costs about six times as much as school per pupil. So we should expect it to be fantastic. We should expect it to be the best therapist, the best personal tutoring – all of those things to give to those kids who are having a tough time in school, the boost they need to get them back.”

Asked what she would do if she could make just one change to help young people, Longfield said: “I would like young people, and kids generally, to have their place at the top table, that they’re actually part of the decision-making and that there is a recognition that kids are 20 percent of our population but they’re 100 percent of our future. And if we fail kids, what does that mean for society in the future? Whether you think about it in terms of young people themselves, or indeed of all of us, we’re all going to benefit if we can give kids the opportunities they need and the springboard into adult life.”

Find out more about the work of the Children’s Commissioner for England.
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