CAT Case Study – Liverpool YMCA

When introduced to Liverpool Waves of Hope Mary had a history of alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour where she would scream, shout and become threatening towards staff and members of the community. Mary had also experienced rejection and domestic abuse, which resulted in loss of contact with her family.

Mary would regularly appear at reception very intoxicated where she would become highly offensive and abusive towards staff, throwing objects and shouting racist obscenities.

As a result staff would respond by pulling down the safety shutters, walking away and ignoring Mary’s behaviour or demand she go back to her flat to calm down. Often this technique failed leaving staff with no choice but to call the police.

They would often be left feeling shocked and threatened by Mary’s behaviour, whilst also feeling powerless to help and support her. This resulted in staff lacking empathy towards Mary and feeling frustrated and burnt out.

A CAT informed action plan was developed that advised staff to listen to Mary when she was ranting rather than send her to her room, try not to call the police but ask questions that help her to internalise her own behaviour and how it impacts the people she abuses.

After CAT mapping Mary, staff reported to have more of a shared language, understanding and approach to Mary’s behaviour. They felt they had more empathy, feeling less threatened and abused, but instead more willing to see solutions to support her.

The outcome of staff working to a CAT informed action plan with Mary included:

  • Reduction in offending and arrest
  • Reduction in incidents of racial abuse
  • Reduction in length of abusive outbursts
  • Reduction in alcohol use
  • Increased contact with family members
  • Mary held down the longest tenancy since being in services
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