Trauma Informed Group Work Programme Evaluation – Lewisham YOS (April 2021) Featured

Summary:  Attached is the evaluation of the Trauma Informed Group Work Programme developed by Lewisham YOS.

 

 

Aims:

  • The Lewisham Trauma Informed Group Work Programme is an intervention that aims to reduce morbidity and mortality in under-18s due to violent assaults

 

 

Description:
The Lewisham Trauma Informed Group Work Programme is an intervention that aims to reduce morbidity and mortality in under-18s due to violent assaults by seeking to:

  • Increase participants’ knowledge about stress and its impacts on the brain.
  • Develop stress-relieving breathing techniques and mindfulness skills to enable young people to manage stress and anxiety levels more effectively.
  • Increase resilience against anti-social interpersonal relationships and digital environments.
  • Develop a more positive self-image and prosocial interpersonal relationships with others.
  • Gain deeper understanding of identity and culture particularly how bias affects perceptions and decision making.
  • Increase positive perceptions and respect for their peers.
  • Improve communication and negotiation skills
  • Reduce perceived susceptibility of being a victim of violence in Lewisham.

 

This study was commissioned by the London Borough of Lewisham in order to evaluate its Trauma Informed Group Work Programme.


Since 2016, Lewisham Youth Offending Service (YOS) redesigned its service to incorporate a trauma-informed approach, which included rethinking all aspects of the service. A trauma-informed group work programme was developed after staff undertook in-depth training and further research on how adverse childhood experiences affect people in later life.


The programme had two stages – a one-to-one engagement phase followed by 8 groupwork sessions.

The one-to-one engagement phase normally last 4 weeks and the child is seen at least once per week. During this phase, caseworkers engage with families to explain the programme to them, including the activities and techniques that they will learn. This enables them to introduce specific activities.

This is followed by an 8-session group work progress that included the following topics:

  • Understanding stress and how it affects our brain and behaviour.
  • Unconscious bias and how it influences behaviour.
  • Breathing techniques based upon a form of Tai Chi.
  • Mindfulness activities, including guided imagery.
  • Healthy relationship to social media
  • Final session around building a legacy

 

The Lewisham trauma informed group work programme has shown positive results in both qualitative and quantitative terms. While the present results relative to a small-scale pilot study so cannot be regarded as definitive, they point in an encouraging direction. In particular, the relatively low rates of reoffending in relation to violent offences (15.5%) and total offences (21%) is promising compared to the national average of 38.4% (Youth Justice Statistics 2018/19).

In addition, the qualitative data helps move beyond simple reoffending rates to understanding how the intervention works. Staff members were able to articulate a clear and coherent theoretical framework that fitted well with the experiences of children that we interviewed. As well as direct benefits to participants, the group work intervention had wider benefits within the YOS service by influencing other activities, such as individual work and targeted work around social media and unconscious bias.

The intervention has good potential for transferability to other geographical areas and would benefit from replicating with a larger cohort. Key issues for implementation are likely to be the availability and retention of suitably trained practitioners and fidelity to the model.

 

 

Implementing the practice 

  • The programme had two stages – a one-to-one engagement phase followed by 8 groupwork sessions.
  • The one-to-one engagement phase normally last 4 weeks and the child is seen at least once per week. During this phase, caseworkers engage with families to explain the programme to them, including the activities and techniques that they will learn. This enables them to introduce specific activities, such as the evaluation of the Lewisham trauma informed group work programme.

 

 

Contact:

Youth offending team:   Lewisham
Name: Keith Cohen
Email: keith.cohen@lewisham.gov.uk