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Gwynedd’s service recognised for progressive and ground-breaking work

A CYNGOR GWYNEDD service has been recognised for its progressive and ground-breaking work in child protection and is the first of its kind to operate through the medium of Welsh.

Tîm Emrallt was established 2019 as a training and advisory service for professionals working with vulnerable children and young people on how to respond and deal with individuals displaying harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

To date, more than 1,100 practitioners have been trained by the team in Gwynedd, giving them the essential skills to help children and young people to prevent their behaviour from escalating. Unchecked, these behaviours are not only incredibly harmful to the individuals themselves and others but could also lead to a young person being involved with the criminal justice system and have a long-term impact on their future.

Members of Tîm Emrallt recently spoke in an international conference hosted by NOTA – a support network for professionals involved in work with, or related to, sexual offending. It was an opportunity to speak about Cyngor Gwynedd’s multi-agency approach to preventative work in the field.

Gina Carty, one of the staff members at Tîm Emrallt said: “It is fair to say that we as a society are more aware of harmful or inappropriate sexual behaviour among children and young people which means that more cases are being reported. Our work is aimed at educating and training people to spot the signs sooner and to know what to do if they encounter these sorts of behaviours.

“It’s important to remember that many children and young people who display this sort of behaviour have been harmed themselves, sexually, physically or emotionally and through this will have an unmet need.

“The changes in and access to social media and technology means that our young people can be exposed to all sorts of incorrect messages, distorting what they think of as ‘normal’ and healthy relationships. This can have a life changing impact on the young person and those around them.

“We work with all sorts of people – social workers, teacher, youth workers and foster carers – to give them the training and guidance they need to help vulnerable young people.”

Tîm Emrallt sits within Cyngor Gwynedd’s Children and Family Support Department and is overseen by Youth Justice. It was the first of its kind in Wales and the only one to work completely bilingually. The team is now working with other local authorities to help them follow suit and be able to provide workshops, learning materials and paperwork through the medium of Welsh in other areas of Wales.

Councillor Elin Walker Jones, Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for the Children and Family Support Department said: “I was delighted to join the team at the international conference in Cardiff, where delegates from Europe and North America heard about how Cyngor Gwynedd is leading the way in our multi-agency approach to this difficult and sensitive subject.

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“It was fantastic to see the team from Cyngor Gwynedd share the stage with representatives from other highly respected organisations from the academic and clinical domains from all over the world.

“All the delegates recognised the importance of dealing with these issues sensitively and keeping all children and young people safe. It’s essential that everyone who works with children are given the tools and training to recognise the signs early on and to respond appropriately to the needs of the young person.

“It’s important that Tîm Emrallt is able to work through the medium of Welsh, complementing our educational and social services and in line with Cyngor Gwynedd’s progressive and ground-breaking language policy.”