▪️NEW BLOG ▪️ Making a difference: Behind Closed Doors with Sophie Whitehouse.
Last week I mentioned how a passing comment from a colleague in West Sussex Fire and Rescue led to a whole programme of work. Well, that was two years ago and the Behind Closed Doors initiative has been one of my most rewarding pieces of work.
“We see so much when we go into people’s houses, it would be great if we could do something with that information”. This was the comment and it got me thinking about all the officials and professionals that visit people in their homes, what they see and how they can help keep them safe and well.
Behind Closed Doors is now two years old and we have delivered two conferences and we are now half way through a series of smaller, bite sized learning events for 2017/18. We aim to raise awareness of the crimes that can happen in people’s homes and can be harder to spot.
Our conferences have covered a range of issues – scams and fraud, human trafficking, domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation, gang recruitment, sexting and consent, radicalisation, child to parent abuse …
I spend a lot of time finding just the right speakers to bring these subjects to life. Last year, Junior Smart MBE talked of his experience of being recruited into a gang and the year before, we had everyone in tears, hearing from a survivor of human trafficking.
➡️Read the full story on the website too: adur-worthing.gov.uk/our-stories-your-councils/sophie-whitehouse/
I am in the midst of planning the next two sessions. I am in contact with the Elder Abuse Recovery Service as this is a topic I would like to raise awareness around. It’s early days but it looks like I might also have someone who suffered elder abuse who is willing to share their story.
We have a range of people who come to our events: social workers, housing officers, fire officers, police – it is great that there is a real appetite for learning how to spot and offer support for these crimes. But, there is more to do, more people to reach who can help spot these signs – carers, mobile hairdressers, builders … It is hard to get them along to these events as we are asking them to take time out from being paid so still figuring that one out …
I was heartened to hear that one of our refuse workers had spotted someone vulnerable whilst out and about on their rounds and reported it in. Last year I heard that two maintenance workers helped a victim of domestic abuse after attending to fix a window that had been broken by the perpetrator.
Some crimes are harder to spot so that is why it is so important that we continue to deliver this work- those who take advantage of the most vulnerable and isolated can only be stopped if those who can raise the alarm, know what they are looking for and where to go for help.
I will leave you with this video from our 2015 conference. It is my friend Kadie, the survivor of human trafficking who bravely shared her story and an important message. Grab your tissues, it’s emotional …
➡️Read the full story on the website too: