Case Studies

Akeem

A single mother contacted RDUK regarding her son who had been threatened with permanent exclusion a few weeks before his GCSE exams. The student was a Rastafarian faith which means he wore very long dreadlocks, because of this, the students from his year, taunted and bullied him over an inordinate period of time. Consequently, despite his complaints to his Mother, Form Teach and Head of Year no one intervened. This resulted in this student stabbing one of the student’s alleged to have bullied him with a pair of scissors in the classroom. He was immediately threatened with exclusion at the insistence of the parents (of the alleged bully), despite his pleas that he had been continuously bullied and taunted.

RDUK intervened and successfully advocated on behalf of the student, presenting very strong mitigating circumstances which where overlooked by the school in making their decision to exclude him during this crucial time of his life and he was permitted to take his exams.

RDUK then engaged in a 1-1 process with the student using a combination of dispute resolution and conflict management. There was also a breakdown in communication between Akeem and his mother, having been separated from her for 7 years of his life. After a period of time we were able to ascertain that painful issues from his past were still unresolved, furthermore, his previous socialization which involved unprecedented episodes of violence, having come from an area in inner city Jamaica, where traditionally most it not all conflicts are resolved by violence, was a contributory factor in the incident in question.

Promoting Safer Neighborhoods – Forest Hill, South East London

RDUK was called in to intervene in a neighborhood plagued by anti-social behavior which ultimately left residents living in fear.

After initially consulting with local councilors and residents RDUK held a meeting with the residents and it was established that around 4-5 families were predominantly involved in anti-social behavior. We then met with these families individually, diplomatically, being careful not to apportion blame, whilst advising these parents of consequences of Anti-social behavior with regard to the law.

We also highlighted how gangs are formed within deprived communities. Once the parents realised that most of the acts (of anti-social behavior) could be considered to be criminal offences, for which their children could be imprisoned, over a period of time things began to change. As a part of our intervention we would have preferred to include additional targeted activities and training however, due to a lack of available funds this was not possible.

Malcolm

Aged 11, was living with his mother, step-father and his older brother (age 15). When he ran away from home, RDUK were asked to intervene.

His older brother had become involved with the local gang. He told us he had no choice other than to join for his and his brother’s protection, on and off the estate. He did not see his step-father as someone who was interested in their well-being so felt he had to step up and be “the man”.

The older brother was used by the gang as a younger, the elder now wanted to draft in the little brother. Malcolm was always opposed to the gang but was soon wooed by the new iPhone and more money than he had ever held in his lifetime. However, he was a conscious young boy who was fearful his mother would find out so he ran away, not wanting to wake up every day seeing the gang members passing by not knowing what they may do to him.

RDUK was contacted and we began our intervention. Strangely, it was the police who told us that Malcolm was still on the estate, they had run a trace on his mobile phone but said they could not do anything more to find him.

We (about 10 volunteers) went into the Estate on a daily basis asking residents if they had seen Malcolm. To which there was an astounding no, from each person we questioned. Until one day, a resident out of frustration told us the precise flat where he had been staying. By this time the Leader learnt of our presence and also knew we were not backing down. We decided to go to this flat and ask whether he was there or not. However, on the way there, another particular resident bravely told us that he was always sent out at a particular time to go to particular shop that we should just wait for him.

We called his mother and she met us there the next day, we waited at the shop and Malcolm turned up. When he saw his mother we heard the sigh of relief from him. He simply could not cope with his living conditions and personal trauma, having felt that his mother was not there for him and his brother, and that his Mother preferred the company of his Step-Father, not them.

We meditated for some time between Mother, Step-Father and Children and eventually came to an amicable working arrangement.