BF Safeguarding Board Bulletin No. 4

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Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board

Bulletin No. 4      20 May 2020

Brian Boxall

The Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board continues to coordinate the responses of statutory agencies and to collect and disseminate information.  The current lockdown has now been in place for two months and we recognise how positively local partners have embraced different ways of working, with faith groups and voluntary sector organisations  having played an important role in supporting work to build community resilience  

As we move to the ‘new normal’ we have engaged with partners to identify future ways of working and will look to build on innovative approaches developed in response to Covid-19. However, we are also keen to ensure we understand how these impact on traditional relationship-based approaches that may have been compromised in recent weeksAs we do this, it is important that local residents are assured that core medical services and safeguarding responses continue to be in place and can be delivered safely without fear of infection.  

As restrictions are eased, we will closely monitor any surge in notifications that may reflect the adverse effects of ‘lockdown’ and will be alert to those whose harm has been hidden during this period. To inform our future strategies we will need to secure the direct views of vulnerable residents and to understand the impact of the services currently being delivered. 

While the continued uncertainty presents a challenge to us all, we hope that this bulletin provides links to vital information and messages produced by the Board and our partner agencies.  We are aware that not everyone has access to the online resources and ask that where it is necessary, you print off and display any posters/leaflets relevant to your service.  

The Safeguarding Board and Partnership will continue to meet regularly to ensure all the partner agencies are aware of each others developing plans for the new normal, whilst also recognising that existing risks need to be identified.

Key messages from recent meetings include: 

  • The continued need for all those living and working in the borough to act as our ‘eyes and ears’. By recognising the signs of abuse and knowing how to share concerns we can all help protect those at risk of abuse and exploitation. Information to support such efforts can easily be accessed through the Safeguarding Board’s website    
  • The continued need to support people to cope during these extraordinary times and to build community resilience over the long term 
  • The increase in cases of very young babies (under 12 weeks) presenting with non-accidental injuries in other areas of Berkshire.

 Additional information on these areas can be found below. 


mental health image

Emotional wellbeing 

Recognising the unprecedented pressures associated with Covid-19, in this edition of our bulletin we’re especially keen to support the current  #mentalhealthawarenessweek During the campaign we’re keen for partners to continue to promote the NHS’s 5 steps to mental wellbeing  and the #coping resources designed by the CCG to promote emotional wellbeing and that offer practical guidance for parents and carers and children themselves.  

Vulnerability online  

We recognise that during the period of the lockdown individuals not known to services may have also been exposed to abuse and exploitation.  As a Board we are alert to concerns that longer periods of online activity may have resulted in  increased incidents of exploitation or radicalisation. As a result, we urge partners to make their staff and volunteers aware of the resources listed below:  

Forlorn teddy bear

Accidental and non-accidental injuries 

While we’re keen our partners work to prevent injuries to people of any age, we are alert to the specific risks associated with the very youngest children. Working closely with the Berkshire Child Death Overview Panel we’d like to remind colleagues of some important messages based on our local learning.  The Safeguarding Board have webpages designed to highlight risks and provide support in respect of babies and toddlers. 

Reporting Concerns and Accessing Support 

During this period of lockdown we know that there is likely to be an increase in abuse against the most vulnerable in our community.  Please watch and share our short video which promotes the need for people to be bravespeak up if they see, hear or suspect abuse to childrenvulnerable adults or those experiencing domestic abuse.  The video can also be found on our social media pages (click links in the bulletin footer.) 

In addition to our local services people concerned about abuse can also contact: 

Hourglass (helpline on 0808 808 8141) to share concerns about older people  

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) who operate a helpline (03000 616161) and will respond to concerns about care or abuse in care homes, domiciliary care, home care or care in a hospital setting.   

The NSPCC provides advice and support on a range of issues to anyone worried about a child and their dedicated Childline service can be accessed by calling 0808 800 5000.  A BSL video is also available to outline the support available for children who are deaf / hard of hearing. 

Additional support 

The links below provide access to a range of important services that can provide specialist support:   

The Alzheimer’s Society offers advocacy and support to people with dementia and their carers. 

The Ann Craft Trust work with staff in the statutory, independent and voluntary sectors to protect people with learning disabilities who may be at risk from abuse. They also provide advice and information to parents and carers who may have concerns about someone that they are supporting. Telephone: 0115 9515400 or email:  

The National Stalking Helpline is a project run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. For advice and information in relation to stalking and harassment telephone: 0808 802 0300 

 Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA) provide confidential support, information, outreach services and refuge accommodation for women and their children who are affected by domestic abuse and violence.  They work throughout Bracknell, Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham, and are affiliated to the Women’s Aid Federation of England (WAFE).  Call their helpline 0118 950 4003.  

Victims First Willow Project is working across the counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, seeking to identify and support those individuals (of all ages) who are assessed as having been victims of exploitation or who are deemed to be at risk of exploitation.  They are currently requesting to be contacted via their online referral form and a Victims First Officer will make contact. 

The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day to give support – call 116123 

Feeling Trapped

Preventing Harmful Cultural Practices  

It’s important that we maintain an awareness that all types of harm continue to be experienced during the lockdown period. Female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage are just examples of abuse that can be associated with harmful cultural practices that occur across the region Oxford Against Cutting (OAC) is a group working to end such practices suffered by girls and women living in the Thames Valley area. Their current poster campaign is a response to increasing concern that people within practicing communities are at an even greater risk of 'honour'-based abuses since they are at home with multiple perpetrators and may have numerous barriers preventing them from reaching out.  

It is important that those at risk are signposted to specialist services and that OAC resources are shared widely via social media, online and hard copy. 

COVID Risk advice to professionals

Multi-agency Risk Framework - guidance for professionals 

The Safeguarding Board has produced advice for professionals and ask that they factor COVID-19 pressures into their risk planning for vulnerable adults.  The risk framework provides a multi-agency method to support the management of these risks where they sit outside of the statutory adult safeguarding framework. 

Managing a fall that require an ambulance during COVID-19 pandemic 

Falls in care and residential homes are common. Fortunately, most don’t require an emergency ambulance response. Staff are experienced in managing what to do when a person in their care falls and have routine procedures to care for them, which for non-serious injuries may include calling a GP, out-of-hours care provider, falls service (if available) or NHS 111. It is particularly important that the 999 service is used only when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, and that care home staff know how they can support residents who have fallen and are waiting for an ambulance.

Falls in care homes

Teenagers drinking

Updated COVID-19 guidance for intergenerational households and shielding

This guidance is intended for intergenerational households where a member is aged 70 or over, meaning they are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus

This guidance is for young people on shielding themselves and others they live with or care for.

Anyone can get it.  Anyone can spread it.  This is the slogan accompanying the short Twitter videos shared by the CCG to raise awareness of the importance of children and young people adhering to physical distancing. 

Advance Care Planning – based on the needs of the individual  

The writing of personalised care plans has never been more important than it is now. Where a person has capacity, this plan should always be discussed with them directly. Where a person lacks the capacity then the plan should involve the family or other appropriate individuals. It remains essential that these decisions are made on an individual basis, with the GP having a central role. 

It is unacceptable for care plans, with or without DNAR form, to be completed for groups of people; these decisions must continue to be made on an individual basis according to need. 

If you have any specific queries about Mental Capacity issues and the people supported by Bracknell Forest please contact BFC Best Interest Assessors Charles Chisangaurwe or Angie Limer to discuss and get further guidance.  In addition, the SCIE website has a range of MCA support and guidance which is also helpful. 

ReSPECT process is a new approach to encourage people to have an individual plan to try to ensure that they get the right care and treatment in an anticipated future emergency in which they no longer have the capacity to make or express choices. 

Links below to social media and website

 Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board • Time Square • Market Street • Bracknell • RG12 1JD

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