Leeds GATE

Working to improve the quality of life for Gypsies and Travellers

0113 240 2444

Crown Point House,
167-169 Cross Green Lane,
Leeds LS9 0BD

From a Child's Perspective.

By Joanne Birtwhistle |  August 4, 2016 |

On Monday we visited a roadside camp to offer advocacy support, during this visit we met with a number of families, speaking to mums, dads, Grandparents and children. However one thing that stood out to me and has stuck with me all week was the fact that a little girl aged around 7 years old came up to me and asked who I was and where I was from, before I could answer she said: “We are moving this evening anyway, so you don’t need to complain about us.” She then turned away from me.

It upset me that the initial thoughts of a girl of that age were that we were there to complain about her and her family and, that we could only be there for negative reasons. It shocks me that children can hold such negative views of professionals and this reaction is a reflection of the experiences and attitudes that she must have witnessed in the past.

I was aware that I did not want to leave this little girl feeling that way so I went back to speak to her and told her that we were from a charity that helped Gypsies and Travellers, again it was sad to see the initial scepticism of someone so young. However, after we chatted for 10-15 minutes she started to change her behaviour towards me and it appeared that she had started to trust in what we had to say.

I’m sure her response to us is not uncommon for Gypsy and Traveller children and I think it is sad that any child should ever be made to feel this way. 

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