We are all part of the system
Lasting Difference symbol holder, Stop it Now! Scotland have been developing creative ways to lead system change by championing voices and creating opportunities for collaboration.
After all, the sustainability challenges that face our organisations don’t happen in isolation from the wider systems of which we are a part.
Stop it Now! Scotland are part of the system of services working to reduce child sexual abuse across Scotland. This includes providing support services to individuals and their families with problematic sexual thoughts and those who may be at risk of sexual offending, including those who are under investigation for internet offences. They also work with families of those who have been arrested for online sexual offences.
Like many non-profits, managing capacity is one of its current key sustainability challenges. The small team is seeing an increase in referrals to their support services. This is further impacted by delays of up to two years in cases getting to court. This delays people who have been charged with offences being able to access help through social work services.
In the meantime, they are referred to Stop it Now! Scotland. The organisation has worked hard to diversify its funding but to increase its resource it’s important to demonstrate the impact its valuable work has on reducing child sexual abuse.
With its unique role in the system, Stop it Now! Scotland has found creative and vital ways of sharing the voices and experiences of the people it supports. Partners and family members of those who have been arrested for an online sexual offence often face considerable stigma, shame and public and public condemnation despite having committed no crime themselves. Stop It Now! Scotland has recently been working with families to create artwork and poetry that brings their experiences to light.
The work has been co-ordinated by Naomi McGookin, a former social worker undertaking a PhD on the experiences of families affected by arrest of a loved one for a sexual offence. As well as bringing benefits to those involved, this culminated in an exhibition that shared these powerful pieces of work with a selected audience, providing access to voices that are rarely heard. The exhibition will be displayed in the Scottish Parliament in November.
Shine a Light identifies championing voices for change as the single most important role for people leading systemic change. Stop it Now! Scotland recognises where it can use its position to inform and influence, including giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament on child sexual abuse.
Providing generous leadership that brings people together gives opportunities for the system, as a whole, to evolve. To this end, Stop it Now! Scotland’s Director, Stuart Allardyce was elected Chair of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abuse (NOTA) earlier this year.
NOTA is the membership association for professionals working with those who have committed sexual offenders and has over 1,300 members in UK and Ireland. Providing opportunities for collaboration across its membership is central to Stuart’s motivation for taking up this role.
“Working with people who present a risk of harm to others in society can be stressful, isolating and impactful work. I’ve found through NOTA training, conferences and events many opportunities to network and collaborate with colleagues which have been incredibly affirmative and contributed to my resilience as a practitioner and manager.”
Alongside this, Stop it Now! are planning a joint event with NOTA which will look at how evidence can inform the practical tools and approaches that front-line professionals need to be able to better protect children from harm.
When resources are limited, it’s easy to tighten your belt and focus on the job in hand. But we can all find ways to share our time and knowledge with our wider systems and, by doing this, recognise and use our own agency, and work in partnership building relationships that can make a real difference to our beneficiaries.
Find out more about Stop it Now! Scotland here: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/scotland/
Information about NOTA can be found here: https://www.nota.co.uk/
Become a Lasting Difference Symbol holder here: https://www.thelastingdifference.com/the-lasting-difference-symbol/