Safeguarding Statement

Prioritising the safety and wellbeing of people in our services, while creating the right environment for our staff and volunteers to meaningfully do so, is a fundamental part of our day to day work supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

Safeguarding statement

Prioritising the safety and wellbeing of people in our services, while creating the right environment for our staff and volunteers to meaningfully do so, is a fundamental part of our day to day work supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

The primary focus of our safeguarding culture must always be on prevention, while also requiring the reporting and resolution of safeguarding issues. This is an integral part of providing a high-quality domestic abuse service in which we recognise our collective efforts to prevent harm and abuse, protect people in our services, and respond to concerns in an appropriate and timely manner if and when they arise.


Governance Oversight

Refuge is regulated by the Charity Commission and adhere to their safeguarding guidance, including submitting serious incident reports when required.

As a service provider delivering support to adults and children at risk of harm and abuse, we comply with all relevant legislation and statutory requirements. Our operational approach to safeguarding can be found in our overarching Safeguarding Policy and associated procedures.

Our Board of Trustees have appropriate oversight of safeguarding including through a dedicated Services & Safeguarding sub-committee of Trustees.  There is designated leadership for Safeguarding and Whistleblowing within our Board and Senior Leadership Team (SLT).  The SLT works closely with the Senior Management Team which also includes Designated Safeguarding Leads.

Key Performance Indicators, Thematic Annual Reports and the Risk Register also enable the Board to interrogate safeguarding practice and culture within Refuge.


Safe Recruitments

We recognise the need to create a safe, inclusive and collaborative working environment for our staff, volunteers and Trustees. Safeguarding is incorporated throughout our recruitment process including at application and interview stage, and full reference, police and other checks appropriate for the role are carried out in-house by trained specialist staff. The expected behaviours of our staff, volunteers and Trustees is set out in our Staff/Volunteer and Trustee Codes of Conduct.


Our Policies & Procedures

Our safeguarding and other related policies and procedures are reviewed annually to reflect current and accurate legislative responsibilities, statutory duties, regulatory requirements, and crucially the needs of survivors of domestic abuse as they seek safety.

The Overarching Safeguarding Policy is supported by Adult and Children Procedures. We expect strict adherence to all our policies and procedures including other safeguarding prevention and response related guidance in our Risk Management Policy, Case Management Policy, Respect at Work Policy, Complaints Procedure and Whistleblowing Policy.  Though guidance on modern slavery sits within our safeguarding procedures, you can read about our specific measures to tackle it here.


Our Induction & Training

All our staff and volunteers complete a mandatory safeguarding induction and there is other safeguarding training appropriate to the role. All frontline staff must complete Adult Safeguarding, Children Safeguarding, National Domestic Abuse Helpline Safeguarding, Risk Management and Suicide Prevention training. Further training is available relevant to the role of safeguarding when required, including access to local authority training where contractually stipulated.


Safeguarding Culture

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. To ensure people have the confidence to speak up and highlight safeguarding concerns, Refuge works hard to develop and maintain an open and transparent culture amongst staff and volunteers. This includes mechanisms for formal and informal feedback and consultation through the staff forum, all staff meetings, employee engagement surveys, equity, equality, diversity and inclusion groups, team meetings and line management supervision.

Recognising our direct work with clients will include elements of positive risk taking, incidents including safeguarding are considered through the lens of continuous learning with post incident reviews conducted to aid learning and minimise future occurrences.

Where staff have not been able to address concerns informally there is access to a grievance procedure with grievances investigated by trained managers and a full response provided.

If staff have concerns that the organisation is failing to address serious concerns, including safeguarding, Refuge’s Whistleblowing Procedure can be used. There is a named whistleblowing trustee to oversee the process.

All staff are periodically reminded of these processes and their effectiveness is measured through training completion rates, quality audits, annual complaints, incidents and safeguarding analysis, post incident reviews, risk register and feedback from clients, staff and volunteers.


Supporting Staff & Volunteers

All line managers receive training to effectively support and manage staff and volunteers including with any safeguarding related concerns. Clinical group supervision is available as is access to confidential support and advice via our Employee Assistance Programme.


Listening to Survivors

We actively seek out the views of people experiencing our services through our frontline staff and our Survivor Engagement team. This is so that we can improve as an organisation and our services meet the needs of survivors of domestic abuse.  Through this approach, we may learn about safeguarding or other concerns where people are unable to speak to a member of staff, use feedback mechanisms within frontline services, or the Complaints Procedure.  All our staff are trained to work with people in a sensitive and reassuring way while escalating any safeguarding concerns immediately so that action can be taken.


Investing in Partnerships

We recognise the importance of investing in partnerships and fully engage with multi agency protocols. Refuge works with relevant local and national agencies, including positive engagement with Local Authorities as Commissioners of the services we run, the Police, Partnership Boards and other agencies including in health and education so that we can act fast and collectively support survivors of domestic abuse including children.