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A special initiative that gives children and young people the chance to work with adults for the day and be involved in decision making is being supported by West Mercia Women’s Aid.

The national event, entitled The Children’s Commissioner’s Take Over Day, will take place on Friday 22 November and involve children and young people from both Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

West Mercia Women’s Aid has already recruited 5 young people to ‘take over’ the organisation’s CRUSH programme for the day.  The recruitment process was assisted by Hereford Sixth Form College, and Worcester Sixth Form College, which advertised the positions on behalf of West Mercia Women’s Aid.

The CRUSH Project is headed up by Jemma Price at West Mercia Women’s Aid and delivered by Sian Telfer across the West Mercia region. Funded by both the Big Lottery’s Young People’s Fund and Children in Need, it helps teenagers, aged 13 to 19 years, to avoid abusive relationships, end an abusive relationship safely or better manage their exposure to domestic abuse in the household in which they live.

The young people will learn about CRUSH and prepare training materials during the morning.  In the afternoon, they will help train teachers in teenage domestic abuse awareness and specifically look at the impact domestic abuse has on children and young people.  They will also conduct research, brainstorm marketing ideas, learn about the impact of domestic abuse on young people, train professionals, interact with relevant agencies to promote various CRUSH projects and exchange ideas and opinions on young people’s requirements.

Information from the event will be used to ensure service delivery is current and meets the needs of children and young people.

This is the second year West Mercia Women’s Aid has taken part in The Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Day.   Jan Frances, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid said: “Children benefit from the opportunity to experience the world of work and make their voices heard, while adults and organisations gain a fresh perspective on what they do.  Such events help break down the barriers between generations and encourage children’s active involvement in their communities.  We thoroughly embrace the initiative and hope it will have a positive impact on those taking part.”

The Children’s Commissioner for England is Maggie Atkinson.  The Commissioner and her team make sure adults who work with children think about the needs of children and young people and listen to their views to make their lives better.  They speak up for all children and young people, especially those who are not often asked for their views or might be vulnerable.  For example, children who miss out on education, disabled children, those who have just arrived in the country, young people with emotional difficulties and those who get in trouble with the law.  The Commissioner’s job was created in 2004 by The Children Act.  The Children Act is a law created by the government to keep children safe from harm.  The Commissioner uses the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) to guide her work.

The event is taking place just prior to The 16 Days of Action, an international campaign that focuses on ending violence against women.  It commences on Monday 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – and runs until Tuesday 10 December, International Human Rights Day.  West Mercia Women’s Aid supports the campaign locally.

Dedicated 16 Days campaign area pledge pages for West Mercia Women’s Aid regions can be accessed as follows : www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/Herefordshire www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/Worcestershire www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/Shropshire