The National Confidential Forum, or NCF is a new project to hear the truth about people’s experiences as children in Scotland’s institutional care system. We caught up with Ben Lukins at the Forum to hear more .
What’s the National Confidential Forum all about?
The National Confidential Forum (the Forum) is here to listen to adults who were in institutional care as children in Scotland, giving them the chance to share their experiences, whatever they are, in a safe and non-judgmental setting. People who come to talk to us will meet with two Forum members who in their previous work have listened to people talking about very personal experiences, and will treat the person and their experiences with respect. The members are there to listen and acknowledge whatever a participant wants to tell them about their time in care. They do not ask questions or judge the person on what they are saying.
Why should people get involved?
Being heard and acknowledged is a very powerful experience that can evoke different responses in different people. Many people find it beneficial to share their experiences and talk about what happened while they were in care. By taking part, participants will help to build a picture of the legacy of care in Scotland which will form part of the national record. We want to gain as full a picture as possible of what worked well and what didn’t in order to make care better for Children now and in the future. Coming to the Forum is completely voluntary and we can pay or reimburse the travel costs for those attending and up to two people accompanying them.
Who is the forum for?
The Forum is for adults who were in institutional care as children in Scotland, irrespective of when this was.
What we mean by institutional care is anyone who was looked after by the state at some point as a child. This could have been a service run by a local authority, charity, religious order or a health board. We want to hear from people who stayed in a children’s home, lived in a residential school, stayed in hospital for short or long term periods or went to a boarding school.
What will happen as a result?
The reports produced by the Forum will detail what people have told us about their experiences of institutional care in Scotland. This will help policy makers provide better and safer care for children in Scotland now and in the future.
What support do you offer?
We understand that for some people coming to the Forum can be a big step. We have commissioned an independent advice and guidance phone service which is manned by experienced listeners who understand how the Forum works. This service is there to allow anyone who is considering applying/attending the Forum the opportunity to discuss what coming to the Forum might mean for them. Individuals can also contact the service to discuss any matters that have arisen from attending the Forum that they would like to explore further.
People can feel confident coming forward to share their experiences with the Forum, and will be given advice and guidance throughout the process by our team who are experienced and supportive. For those who contact us who would like ongoing support we direct them to appropriate networks and services.
Is this only for people who have faced abuse in care?
No. We want to hear about all types of experiences that people had of care in Scotland. The Forum is about what people want to tell us and we want to capture the negative, positive or mixed experiences that they had.
How do I get involved?
If you are interested in finding our more about the Forum, including how to take part, please:
Phone us on 0800 121 4773 (Freephone) or 0141 352 2333
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or visit our website: www.nationalconfidentialforum.org.uk