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What's a Hearing like?

What's a Hearing like?

Posted by: Dale Meller | 09 April 2018| Categories: Team News

 As a Forum Member, the first time I meet a participant is when they walk through the door of the hearing room, although the person will have been well prepared by Forum support staff.

 Every Hearing is unique. Everyone has a different story to tell and I’ve never been in a Hearing where we don’t learn something new. I always hope that the person who has come along has also gained something from being heard and acknowledged.

 In a Hearing, there are two Forum members, the participant, and their supporter if they have one. After a brief introduction and explanation, it’s the participant’s chance to talk.

 Two hours is set aside for each Hearing and this is the participant's time to share whatever they want to share.  We don’t have a set of standard questions, although we may ask questions for clarification, or to help people if they are upset. Our job is to help people tell their story and to acknowledge their experiences.

 People speak about their time in care, what brought them into care and what impact it has had on their life and others close to them. Some people who come along have spoken about their experiences before care, some have not. The Hearing may be the first time they have told their whole story in one sitting.

 Some people are taken by surprise that they get upset, some people expect it and some people come to tell us about positive experiences. What is important is that it is their time to speak about as much as they want in the way they want to. That’s what is different about the Forum, it’s the participant’s time to use as they wish. People can speak off-the-cuff, use notes, have help from a supporter, take breaks, drink tea, get upset, get angry, laugh - in short, any way they want to describe experiences.

 We always feel incredibly grateful and privileged that people have come along to tell us what happened, and we hope that people gain something positive from having their experiences acknowledged.  In addition, we listen, learn and understand so that things can improve in future.

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