The Trust’s Safeguarding Team has led a targeted ‘Spotlight on Safeguarding’ campaign this month with virtual learning sets each day and the launch of the Silence hides Violence poster campaign.
The Silence hides Violence campaign closes three weeks of thought-provoking and powerful awareness and education sessions reflecting the unintended and often unseen consequences of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The team fielded its own experts and many partner agencies to help staff of all roles and responsibilities consider and prepare for the impact of a national rise in domestic violence. It is estimated lockdown containment measures have resulted in a 77% increase in reports of domestic violence nationally. Tragically, in the first three weeks of the UK’s lockdown, 16 women and children were killed in their own homes, 11 more than the same period last year.
The Trust’s Chief Nurse Kimberley Salmon-Jamieson explained: “Safeguarding is about protecting the health, wellbeing and human rights of a person and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility and is an integral part of what we do.”
Safeguarding almost always requires a multi-agency response and the Trust is working with partner agencies, including the national NHS Safeguarding team, to raise awareness of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on domestic violence, alcohol abuse, fabricated induced illness and the additional support that families will need to cope as they face the future.
“We are yet to see the true extent of what the pandemic has produced for the lives of many who require safeguarding,” said Ms Jamieson, “The one certainty about safeguarding moments is that they can and sometimes impact on us all or someone we love or know. It is important that we signpost our patients, visitors and even our staff to the most appropriate help and publicise that they are not alone and we are here to help.
“While children have not been affected by the virus to the same extent as adults, the lockdown restrictions will have significant impact on their learning, development and wellbeing which will become apparent when they return to school in September. “We are already experiencing the rise in the number of complex adult patients requiring safeguarding support admitted into the hospital. Spotlight on Safeguarding has been an opportunity to share learning and best practice with our staff and partner agencies as well all prepare for further challenging times.”
The Trust has launched a toilet-door poster campaign at its hospitals with helpline information available for those who may be experiencing domestic violence provided by the Warrington Independent Domestic Violence Abuse (IDVA) and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, highlighting the support for those who need it as well as reassurance that they ‘are not alone’.
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse can contact the Warrington Independent Domestic Violence Abuse (IDVA) on 01925 243359 firstname.lastname@example.org or the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk