Safeguarding staff

How to support staff:

When delivering any training on Violence Against women and Girls or raising awareness of the issues, it is imperative to consider sources of support that are available to staff participants. There may be staff in the education setting that have or who are experiencing abuse themselves.

Delivering, participating or being part of programmes on this topic may be distressing  for staff members, so it is vital to provide an appropriate ‘safety-net’ of support within any training. Information regarding local and national support services, as well as ‘in-house’ support for staff needs to be well advertised and accessible.

Posters, information in staff handbooks or on intranet systems are all useful places to advertise this support. When delivering training, this information can also be a part of the participant’s ‘hand outs’ pack, or an information board with leaflets to take away can be displayed in the training room.

Schools should have an up-to-date policy on staff experiencing domestic abuse. There is a good example of a template policy for school staff from Nottingham Local Authority. This includes details on confidentiality, support from the organisation or counselling, flexible working patterns and time off.

More information on how to deal with staff who experience or use violence and abuse can be found in Respect’s Domestic violence resource manual for employers.

Having an active Violence Against Women and Girls policy for safeguarding staff will ensure that the organisation is prepared to deal with incidents when they occur and have the following impact [1]:

  • Save the lives of staff and their children,
  • Ensure the safety of staff and their children,
  • Increase efficiency, productivity and morale within the organisation,
  • Improve organisational reputation by demonstrating that it cares and wants to stop VAWG.

What to do if a staff member tells you about their experience of violence:

When an adult discloses their experience of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) confidentiality can be maintained unless there are children at risk. For example, if there are children in their home where she has disclosed domestic violence, or if they are considered to be high risk or deemed to be ‘vulnerable’.

There is no duty to report but if you have any concerns that a child could also be at risk or serious concerns and need someone to talk to contact the organisation’s designated child protection lead.

Respond:

  • Listen carefully, stay calm, and validate her feelings
  • Take it seriously and ensure her that you are on her side, but do not make promises that you will not be able to keep.
  • Do not push her to talk about it if she does not want to.
  • Do not judge her. Maintain confidentiality if she is over 18.

Inform:

  • Provide her with information of relevant support services that she can contact herself or refer directly if requested.
  • Encourage her to seek some form of support.
  • Inform her of next steps and possible options.

Support:

  • Offer immediate support, understanding and reassurance.
  • Find yourself support as it can be distressing to listen to others

Refer:

If you are concerned about harm to a child as a result of this disclosure then immediately report and refer this to the designated child protection lead.