Last week leapfrog met the Edinburgh Women’s Aid [EWA] group in Edinburgh for a tool sharing event. EWA are an organisation that works primarily with children and young people aged between 0 and 18 years of age. The primary function is to support the needs of young people who have been affected by domestic abuse of their mother. They “give a voice for children who may be witnesses to abuse”. They engage with young people for two primary reasons: to tailor support services for their needs; to measure the efficacy of their services.

They have three main roles in their organisation:

  1. Advocacy workers specifically deal with court cases, access right for children and refuge services. These services usually last for a short period of time.
  1. CEDAR [Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery] is a 12-​week program of support for victims of domestic abuse
  1. Family support workers that support people in dealing with feelings of anger and emotional responses to abuse

EWA are familiar with using tools. CEDAR and Family Support Worker roles already use tools and are familiar with developing their own tools to engage in individual situations.

One of the key challenges EWA face during their consultation with children is that, they get mostly positive feedback which does not give enough information for EWA to improve the services. The children and the victim are most of the time just happy that they have someone [EWA] to talk to and get help from. The issue for EWA is engaging with young people between 8–12 in refuge about their experience of the refuge service. The challenges working with people of different ages [for example: a tool that work for 6‑year-​old children and 12-​year-​old children]; and working with young people who are in their care for different lengths of time [they might be in refuge for 3 days or 3 months but they want to capture the input of all uses]. EWA would like a tool that could adapt to different ages and time scales. Something that is fun and engaging.

Leapfrog shared a collection of its tools to the group to understand if the tools could potentially help address some of EWA’s challenges. We shared Evaluating Game, Storyboard Contract, Make it Stick, Target Control, Everybody and Seeing Things tool.

The group identified Evaluation game to be effective and simple tool to access what has been a positive and negative experience for young people. They also thought Evaluation Game could work well with young people as it is in the form of a board game which can be popular among most of them. One of the staff said she is planning to use it after her session/​ group works to evaluate how it went.

Storyboard contract was well received, one of the staff mentioned that she could see the tool being used with children to draw about difficult experiences which may be hard for them to talk about.

Everybody was also seen as a potential tool they could use with the young people. One of the staff mentioned that Everybody tool is a fun way of engaging with young people to get feedback on service development. Another staff identified the tool to be simple and easy to use to gather ideas from all age ranges. The staff said the tool also gave them flexibility to write or draw.

The group took away leapfrog tools and are planning to test with their user groups in the near future. Leapfrog team will be following up to evaluate the tools with EWA.