The creation of a Safeguarding Directorate (and associated developments around safeguarding) are part of a major change to service provision. The Directorate is now established in SHG, and signals a recognition of the importance of improving support and assistance to vulnerable people on St Helena.
Recognising that historical approaches need to be overhauled and that Safeguarding is a priority for SHG is not a short term process. Special attention to Safeguarding will need to be provided for at least 3-5 years so that new systems and approaches can develop and achieve sustainability.
Ensuring our whole population feels safe and part of a cohesive society, with individuals and communities who are able to access the services and support they need to achieve their life goals, is central to the Island’s future. The Directorate will work with a range of partners both on Island and overseas to ensure that we are focused on a preventative approach to protecting vulnerable people and groups. This will require best practice, robust policies and processes, good communication and crucially multi-agency working. The establishment of a Safeguarding Directorate represents a way of focusing on the business of safeguarding as a priority on St Helena. However, safeguarding is also ‘everybody’s business’, and the new structure and strategy does not replace a need for a robust capacity within other directorates.
Children, young people’s and vulnerable adult’s safety is of paramount importance. That they are kept safe from harm through all walks of life is a priority for SHG. We will work with our partners to further develop good early intervention and prevention practices that are effective in identifying risks and that clear pathways are in place to provide the appropriate level of support required. Safety and security is also built on robust social services and support beyond statutory engagement. Our commitment is to work with the families, the community and our partners to ensure that we are supporting the emotional resilience and wellbeing of vulnerable people on the Island so that they are safeguarded from harm.
Safeguarding vulnerable people is everybody’s responsibility and we will work with the community to embed a culture of; See it, report it! If people suspect abuse or neglect the worst thing they can do is nothing. In such a small community confidentiality and trust are also imperative to enabling people to come forward and we must ensure that people coming forward are protected and feel comfortable to talk freely at an early stage. Developing relationships and relationship-based working at strategic and operational level will be key to this.