Established in April 1994, 18u provides information and support to young people who have been abused in any way. The support we offer depends on the needs of the young person and it is confidential. We do not write down information about young people, unless the young person asks us to do so. We do not record names and addresses and only keep contact information as long as it is needed to contact the young person.
Do you listen to us about what we want from services?
We do try hard. When 18u first opened it’s support services to young people who have been abused, in April 1994, the first thing we did was survey with young people to find out what they wanted from a service. Based on the results of that survey, and further surveys, we have always tried to give services that young people want and need. We ask young people using our services what they want, so we can improve, and keep up to date with the changing needs of young people. We want your opinion about anything that we can do to make 18u better.
How confidential are you?
Very confidential. Have a look in the FAQ about confidentiality? Young people have always demanded confidentiality. Without confidential services, young people have no one to talk to about abuse. Not many abused young people choose to approach child protection services, and there are many reasons for that. The trouble with saying we are confidential is that everyone says that, but then are not really confidential at all. Everyone has times when they with breach confidence, even us!
The difference with us, is that we try to be as clear as we can and go a lot further than others, to give you as much confidentiality as you need to stay in control of your life.
Do you give advice and tell us what to do?
No we don’t. 18u does not tell you what you need from us, you decide that yourself. If you want to talk, we listen. If you are asking for practical help, we try to help with that. If you need someone to go with you to a doctor, or help you talk to an adult, we will help with that if we can. If you just want a safe place to be or run to, again that’s fine with us. We don’t make appointments or say how long you have to talk with us, that is decided by you.
You decide what you need and if we can give you what you need then we will. If we can’t, we will try and help you find another service that will help you.
Adults like to be in charge. Is it like that with 18u?
No. Control: With 18u you are in control, not us. It is up to you to decide what you want to do. You make the important life decisions for yourself. If you want to talk through a problem then that’s fine, we can help explore options. The final decision about what action to take, or not, lies with the you. With 18u you stay in full control at all times.
What is the 18u Centre like?
18u tries to offer a safe and friendly atmosphere through it’s Centre and it’s services. We try to create a family like setting, with warm colours on the walls, music and friendly people to talk to. We do not demand names, addresses, dates of birth or even ask for a form to be filled in when you talk to us or visit us. We do not carry out risk assessments or ask personal questions. We try to offer friendship and space to allow for trust to grow between you and us.
Is 18u only open during the day?
We try to be as available to young people as we possibly can. The Centre is open in evenings and also at times to suit young people. We provide text, email and social media support and information so that you can get help when you need it and not just during office hours. No one needs to make an appointment, just come in if we are open or text or email to suit yourself. We will try to be there for you when you most need help and support.
What if I am nearly 19? Do I have to go somewhere else?
That’s okay too. We don’t limit how anyone uses the service. When you turn 19 we don’t tell you to stop using the service. It is up to you how long you get support from us. You can use 18u services when you feel you need to and you can stop whenever you want and start again whenever you want. It is totally up to you.
What else is different about 18u?
All doors remain open in the Centre unless a you choose to close it. If you want to talk about personal issues or abuse, workers and volunteers do not jump up and shut the door. The decision about whether or not a door needs shut lies with you. The reason for this is so that you remain in control of the situation. We encourage you to see that it is not your fault if you were abused. You do not have to keep it a secret and behind closed doors, unless you want to do so. The choice lies with you.
Do you tell the truth?
In order to build trust 18u tries to be open and honest at all times. This does not mean that we tell everyone everything about people. We respect the privacy of people. But we do try to be truthful and honest even if what we are saying is not what a young person wants to hear. Sometime the truth can be difficult to tell or hear but we are always open and honest.
Can I get Involved?
You certainly can do. Young people have always been involved in all everything that 18u does. You can become a volunteer with us if you want or can become part of our Shadow Management. The Shadow Management is a group of young people that act as advisors to the Board of Directors. They also make sure that the voice of young people is listened to and if they want something to happen or change, they bring it to the attention of the Directors. You can take part in planning meetings, reviews and events if you want. No one has to do anything they don’t want to do but, if you want to be involved, then you can be.
How we offer support
Free & Confidential Support and Information
To any young person, aged 18 and under, who has experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, bullying, racism or homophobia.
Advice & Information For agencies, individuals, friends or relatives of young people who have experienced abuse.
Appointments can be made for any time or place which suits a young person best and if they wish, they can be accompanied by a person of their choosing; it is important that they feel comfortable.
Can be provided at a time to suit a freephone number is available for young people only – 0800 731 40 80
24 Hour Answering Machine
Calls will be returned discreetly as soon as possible, or, if you do not feel able to leave your number, leave a day and time when you will call back and we will try to arrange for someone to be there.
Our message board is busy, well moderated and is often an easy first step for a first person to take if they are worried about or being subjected to abuse.
We provide awareness raising on subjects such as abuse prevention, supporting young survivors etc. For a full list of training call 01382 206222.