Safeguarding during Covid-19 | Meena Kumari

| 29 May 2020

Summary: We recently spoke to National Operational Lead, Meena Kumari to learn more about the incredible work our safeguarding teams deliver, how they are supporting customers and adjusting to new ways of working due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Safeguarding plays a fundamental role in our organisation as the safety and wellbeing of our customers is our top priority. We as an organisation are very privileged to have a committed and hardworking safeguarding team who ensure our most vulnerable customers are protected.

Meena, based in Derby, works very closely with DSLs (Designated Safety Leads) who are the first point of call and effectively communicating with vulnerable groups to ensure they are provided with the support and effective care they need.

There has been a drastic rise in domestic abuse cases since Covid-19, what are we doing as an organisation to ensure our vulnerable customers are protected?

There has definitely been a spike in domestic abuse cases and with a number of people now in lockdown and often living with the perpetrator, resulting  a spike in calls to national helpline services. Interestingly enough, many of those calls have been coming from friends, family members and neighbours as a lot more people are at home. Looking at our domestic abuse information and data we are pretty much on the same par as to where we were this time last year.

We’ve been thoroughly assessing our data and recently started domestic abuse proactive calls, where five of our DSLs have been additionally trained to make phone calls to domestic abuse survivors from the last 12 months. The DSLs have a weekly updated spreadsheet where they call prior, HSOs and ASB officers to carry out and check risk assessments and whether safety plans needs to be put in place.

How are the Safeguarding teams staying connected during the pandemic? 

We are all in daily contact most of the time. We also linked DSL’s who are making the proactive calls with one of our colleagues, Anna, who works within the Women’s Refuge that we hold and she did some brilliant work! She was able to share useful information that she’s previously used working with children, not just around domestic abuse but mental health due to the impact of Covid-19. Anna was able to support the DSL’s remotely and it’s so nice to be part of an organisation where we can utilise other colleague skills. We’ve had a significant rise in ASB cases specifically regarding noise and nuisance and have been working very closely with the teams that are picking up those calls too.


How important is self-care in your role and what do you do to practice this? 

Self-care when dealing with traumatic and sensitive cases is very important. Listening and seeing other people’s trauma, can be very difficult, therefore, I try to interact with my team and my manager as much as possible for advice and guidance. I have also joined a mindfulness group called my 30 minutes by Buddhi, sessions are run on Zoom and have been highly effective.

 

If you are experiencing financial difficulty, have concerns about the wellbeing of yourself or your family, or if you are aware of a resident who is struggling to receive support whilst self-isolating, please visit https://www.mtvh.co.uk/coronavirus/ and someone will call or e-mail you back to explain how we can help.

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