Agencies involved in safeguarding adults and children in County Durham have come together as part of a national awareness raising campaign.
Members of both the Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) and the Durham Safeguarding Children Partnership gathered at an event organised as part of National Safeguarding Adults Week 2019.
Safeguarding is the protection of a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
The national week runs from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 November and aims to encourage agencies to focus on safeguarding adults. In County Durham, the week is being used as an opportunity to raise awareness of the main issues facing adults and children who may be at risk. The week will focus upon a range of issues, including modern slavery and exploitation by drug dealers, self-neglect and domestic abuse.
The board and the partnership joined forces for an event which saw speeches and displays on a range of safeguarding issues.
The event, at Durham County Council’s County Hall headquarters in Durham on Wednesday 20 November, saw speakers from statutory and voluntary organisations on themes including:
• ‘County Lines’ (Durham Constabulary) – looking at how organised drug dealers groom and take advantage of vulnerable young people.
• Social cohesion and protection from vulnerability (Safe Durham Partnership.)
• Child mental health (the council) – an overview of child mental health in County Durham and the appropriate services available.
• Loan sharks (England Illegal Money Lending Team) – what is a loan shark, how one operates and how the team can help victims.
• Domestic abuse (Harbour – a charity which helps families and individuals affected by domestic abuse) – covering the subjects of coercion and control; domestic abuse through the eyes of a child; and cumulative harm.
There was also a screening of ‘Rattle Snake’, a production by the Open Clasp Theatre Company, based on real life stories of women who have faced and survived coercive and controlling domestic abuse.
There were also displays by various agencies giving attendees more information on a range of issues and available support.
Andrea Petty, the council’s strategic manager for partnerships, said: “In County Durham we want all adults and children to live safe lives, free from the threat of abuse and neglect.
“The work of both the Safeguarding Adults Board and the Durham Safeguarding Children Partnership is key to this.
“During National Safeguarding Adults Week 2019 we want to raise awareness of the issues which put adults and children at risk and it has been great to meet with other agencies to see if there is more we can do to keep people safe.”
Further information on safeguarding of adults and children in County Durham can be found at: www.safeguardingdurhamadults.info and https://www.durham-scp.org.uk
Safeguarding concerns in County Durham can be reported by phoning 03000 267979. Calls relating to adults will be handled by Social Care Direct and those concerning children and young people will be dealt with by First Contact. All calls are handled by trained officers.