The Safe and Sound Project supports young people and their families in a practical way when they have experienced a breakdown of family relationships. The family mediation service helps young people avoid irretrievable family breakdown by working with the young person and their family to resolve difficult issues and to agree courses of action. The project works with young people who have unstable family situations and might experience domestic violence and emotional difficulties. The project is a partnership between Shelter Scotland and Relationships Scotland.
A client's story
Fiona – Young Runaway, family mediation
Fiona*, a young carer, was 11 years old when she ran away for the first time. It was only
for a couple of hours, but it led to a spiral of conflict with her mum and repeated
incidents of running away.
Fiona is now 18 years old and wants to leave home. But with nowhere to go and no financial
income, she has limited options and was at risk of homelessness.
Fiona said: “My mum and I started arguing when she got a new boyfriend. I didn’t like him
and felt like he didn’t like me either so there was a lot of conflict. Eventually I’d had
enough and decided I wanted to leave home. My mum wanted me to stay, but I felt I had no
choice. The constant bickering was getting to me and I felt no one was on my side.”
Fiona was referred to Shelter Scotland’s Safe and Sound Project by her college councillor.
She was introduced to her own support worker who is helping her to resolve the underlying
issues with her mum and the two have started family mediation sessions with the service to
offer them a chance to listen to each others’ points of view and raise any concerns.
Fiona said: “I love my mum and we do have some really good times together, but sometimes it
all just gets too much for both of us. I want to rebuild my relationship with my mum. It’s
a slow process – there’s no quick fix, but at least we are being civil to each other while
we resolve our differences.”
While attending family mediation and getting help from her support worker Fiona has
remained at home. She still plans to move out, but is waiting until she has a secure and
affordable home to go to. In the meantime she’s receiving help in building up her life and
career skills. With little work experience, Fiona’s support worker has put her in touch
with local youth groups to receive on-the-job training, and meet like-minded young people
to build her confidence.