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Sibs wants to ensure that local groups for adult siblings offer a safe and supportive environment to a consistent standard. Groups that agree to and sign up to this charter can use SibsNetworkUK name to promote their meetings locally, and will be supported by Sibs with training and publicity.

Principles of the Sibs group charter

The group is exclusively for adult siblings of people with a lifelong learning disability or autism

Be clear about who can attend the group. It is essential that siblings have shared childhood experiences and as adults are dealing with similar concerns about future care for a brother or sister with lifelong care and support needs.

The group shares the aims of the Sibs support group network

Inform all members of the group of the following aims:

  • To improve adult siblings’ wellbeing and resilience
  • To empower adult siblings to be advocates for their brothers and sisters
  • To support adult siblings in the transition to more involved roles in their brothers’ and sisters’ care and support as their parents get older
  • To give adult siblings a voice within services for carers and disabled adults 

The group facilitator attends Sibs adult sibling group leader training

Ensure that at least one member of the group has attended Sibs’ adult group facilitator training. This provides group leaders with a consistent approach to facilitating a group and supporting group members.

The group respects and acknowledges the different experiences of siblings

  • Recognise that adult siblings may have different experiences of childhood, different expectations of their sibling role and different relationships with their brothers and sisters.
  • The group must be respectful even when there are disagreements about aspects of the sibling relationship and role. Include all siblings who fit the group criteria, and be sensitive to their individual needs including culture, beliefs, ethnic background, gender, disability, sexuality and age.
  • Respect the choices of adult siblings about the level of involvement they want in the lives of their brothers and sisters.

The group offers a safe and supportive environment

  • Protect siblings’ confidentiality and privacy by ensuring what is said in the group stays in the group. Agree confidentiality with external speakers.
  • Agree on the groundrules and remind members of these at the start of each group meeting.
  • Don’t allow members of the group to use the group for research purposes, advertising products or services, or for financial gain.
  • Create a positive group atmosphere for siblings to feel hopeful about dealing with their issues.

The group has a duty of care to members of the group

  • Share the adult safeguarding policy with all group members.
  • If an adult sibling discloses an abusive situation affecting them, their disabled brother or sister or other family member this must be taken seriously and reported directly to the appropriate agencies.

The group is open to new siblings joining it

  • Hold group meetings in a consistent place that is accessible, provides privacy for discussion of sensitive issues, and in a public venue to ensure members’ safety.
  • Advertise the group in local public spaces where new siblings can find out about it

The group supports Sibs in furthering its campaigning work

Maintain a close relationship with Sibs in order to evaluate and improve the support group network and to help Sibs campaign for better support for siblings.