East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board Newsletter September 2021

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Don’t turn your back on abuse and neglect

Working together to enable adults in East Sussex to live a life free from harm, abuse and neglect

September 2021 – Edition 6

Sharing news about the work of the East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) and distributing information and learning about adult safeguarding issues

Message from Graham Bartlett, Independent Chair, East Sussex SAB

Graham Bartlett

Welcome to the latest newsletter from the East Sussex SAB, the last issue published during my time as Independent Chair.  I am standing down to pursue other challenges but am delighted to hand the reins over to a hugely experienced chair, Deborah Stuart Angus.

I’d like to thank everyone who has made my tenure as SAB chair such a privilege, and for the support and engagement of SAB partners, who continue to work to ensure we have effective safeguarding systems in place to respond to situations in which people experience abuse or neglect.  This need has been even more critical during the pandemic, and to those who have stepped up to the plate and made such a difference in these difficult times, a very special thank you.

News from the SAB:


Since the last newsletter was published the SAB has met twice on 15/04/2021 and 08/07/2021.  Highlights include:

  • Commencing three new Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs), including a thematic review exploring the learning across a number of cases. Updates will be presented in future newsletters.
  • Developing an action plan to respond to the learning from the Adult C Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR), which was agreed at the Board meeting in April. The Board has also received updates on progress to address specific recommendations within this plan, including receiving updates on the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act by District and Borough Councils, and the development of a Multi-Agency Risk Management Framework, due to be launched this autumn.  
  • Receiving an update from the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) regarding the framework and process for responding to allegations regarding people working in positions of trust with adults with care and support needs.
  • Reviewing and contributing to our Annual Report, which we expect to publish in September.
  • Launching the Sussex SABs bi-annual self-assessment audit process in July 2021. A revised audit tool has been designed to help SAB partner agencies evaluate the effectiveness of their internal safeguarding arrangements and to identify and prioritise any areas in need of further development.  The outcomes of the audit will inform a series of peer challenge and support events which will take place in October 2021.

Staffing updates:

  • We would like to welcome back Alice Clarke, SAB Administrative Officer who has returned from maternity leave, who will share the role alongside Gail Butler.
  • Katharine Finnigan, Quality Assurance and Learning Development Officer left her post in August 2021 to pursue other opportunities and pastures new. Her team wish her all the best for the future. 

East Sussex and Brighton & Hove SABs Conference:


Our joint conference with Brighton & Hove SAB ‘Learning from Safeguarding Adults Reviews: a multi-agency approach’ held as a virtual event on 26th May 2021, was attended by over 200 staff across both SABs.

We were pleased to welcome two keynote speakers, Janine Cherry-Swaine, Consultant Psychotherapist and Service Lead from a Trauma and Resilience Service in Rotherham and Catherine O’Neil from Intermediaries for Justice.  Other workshops were led by SAB partners and covered a range of themes, including trauma-informed practice, professional curiosity and the Mental Capacity Act and inherent jurisdiction. 

The event was a huge success, and the positive feedback received will be used to inform future event planning.  Given the limitations caused by the pandemic, the event reflected the valuable opportunities virtual events can offer in sharing experience and learning from others.  We would like to extend our thanks to all our speakers, those who attended the event and those whose hard work helped to bring the event together

Spotlight on …… the Domestic Abuse Act

Domestic Abuse

The long-awaited Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which came into law on 29th April 2021 marks a significant step in providing enhanced protection and support to the millions of people who experience domestic abuse.

How will the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 help victims of domestic violence and abuse?

  • It sets out a statutory definition of domestic abuse, which goes beyond physical violence and recognises that domestic abuse can be emotional, coercive or controlling, or economic. As part of this, children will be regarded as victims of domestic abuse, if they see, hear or otherwise suffer the impact of abuse.
  • The Act extends the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour, no longer making it a requirement for abusers and victims to either still be in a relationship or to still live together.
  • The Act creates a new offence of ‘non-fatal strangulation’, which carries a specific criminal offence punishable by five years’ imprisonment.
  • Part 3 of the Act places a duty on local authorities to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children within refuges and other forms of safe accommodation.
  • The Domestic Abuse Act amends homelessness legislation to give victims of domestic abuse automatic priority need status for settled housing, without needing to fulfil the vulnerability test.
  • Puts the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, commonly referred to as Clare’s Law, on a statutory footing for the first time.
  • It creates the position of Domestic Abuse Commissioner and gives the role specific powers that will help improve the response to domestic abuse and hold both governments and agencies to account.

The government has produced a factsheet covering the key provisions under the Domestic Abuse Act

The Shadows Behind Me – understanding the issues faced by female offenders

The shadows behind me

The Adult C SAR reflected important learning about the negative impact that short term prison sentences can have upon women with multiple complex needs.  Emma Conduct, Divisional Women’s Strategy Lead with HM Prison and Probation Service, provides a probation perspective on sentencing women. 

Women who commit crime are some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society. The majority of women who appear before the Courts have experienced trauma, often starting in childhood, resulting in long-lasting adverse effects on their mental, physical, social and emotional well-being. Research shows that adults with a history of childhood trauma have an increased likelihood of becoming victims of violence, including rape, physical assault and domestic abuse. Their behaviour, choices and actions can be difficult to understand until we view them through the lens of trauma.

On average female offenders commit less serious offences than male offenders and often pose a low or medium risk of serious harm to the public. Over three quarters of women sentenced to custody receive short sentences of less than 12 months with 70.7% of women reoffending following a short custodial sentence. The Female Offender Strategy (2018) set out the government’s commitment to do things differently, acknowledging the significant vulnerabilities and complexities of female offenders that are often the product of a life of abuse and trauma. The strategy acknowledges that many women can be more successfully supported in the community, where reoffending rates are much better.

Community sentences, however, are not an easy option. With treatment requirements attached, they can be an intensive option for women who might otherwise receive a custodial sentence. For dependent drug and alcohol users and women with mental health problems it provides an opportunity to address the vulnerabilities which are a factor in their offending or how they engage and respond to interventions. Non-compliance in such cases is often a consequence of the pre-existing disadvantages these women faced at the time of conviction rather than a flagrant disregard for the terms of their sentence. Understanding and working through the barriers and challenges that impact on engagement is rarely a linear process, but ultimately has far greater benefit to the woman and her family than a disruptive period of imprisonment.

Community sentences offer the opportunity to support women to effectively address the underlying causes of offending behaviour and to secure and maintain stable accommodation. Probation links with a plethora of experienced third sector women’s services enable women to be supervised in places such as women’s centres, offering a safe but challenging environment for probation supervision. Interventions which provide wraparound support and address common issues around emotional well-being, finances and debt, and employment, training and education in one place, can help lay the foundations for a different life.

Anticipating and being responsive to trauma in partnership with specialist women’s services in the community is often the most effective way to help women turn their lives around.

The National Probation Service have produced a video called ‘The Shadows Behind Me’ which powerfully illustrates the importance of trauma-informed practice. 

With thanks to Emma Conduct for this article.

Sussex Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures Updates


The Sussex Policy and Procedures Review Group consists of the statutory partners of the SABs across Sussex.  Its purpose is to review and update safeguarding policy, procedures and guidance.  Over 2020 – 21 the group agreed that some areas of the Sussex Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures required revision following the last substantive update provided in 2019. 

The following content has recently been published:

  • The domestic abuse chapter outlines issues in relation to consent where there may be coercion and control and provides guidance around the importance of seeing adults on their own away from family members where this is an area of concern.
  • The section on ‘causing others to undertake enquiries’ provides additional guidance to staff on when it is appropriate to cause another agency to carry out a safeguarding enquiry on behalf of the local authority.

Further updates are planned to enhance other sections of the policy and procedures, and to also publish a pan-Sussex Escalation and Resolution Protocol later this autumn, and information on this will be included in our next newsletter. 

National Analysis of Safeguarding Adults Reviews

SAB National Analysis

In December 2020, the first national analysis of SARs in England and Wales was published by the Care and Health Improvement Programme, supported by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).  Its purpose was to identify priorities for sector-led improvement in relation to the conduct and commissioning of SARs. 

The report makes a total of 28 improvement priorities nationally and for individual SABs.  The East Sussex SAB has developed an action plan to respond to these areas which is being overseen by our SAR Subgroup. 

The LGA have produced a range of targeted briefings including for practitioners, senior leaders, individuals and their families to enable the learning and key messages from this landmark study to be shared and have an impact across safeguarding practice and systems.

Please read, share and reflect on the messages in the Local Government Association briefings - analysis of safeguarding adults reviews.

Learning and Development Opportunities

learning and development

The SAB and the East Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership (ESSCP) are continuing to offer virtual training sessions delivered by MS Teams. 

Please visit the East Sussex Learning Portal to view our current training programme.

Many courses have prerequisite e-Learning that needs to be completed before you attend the course.  If your course requires you to complete some e-Learning this will be set out in the ‘Additional Information’ section in the course details. To see all the e-Learning modules please visit the Online Learning Page.

Adding course alerts enables you to set the Learning Portal up to send you an email when a course matching your requirements is added. 

Raising a Safeguarding Concern

Safeguarding Adults

No-one should have to live with abuse or neglect – it is always wrong, whatever the circumstances.

Anybody can raise a safeguarding concern for themselves or another person.  Do not assume that someone else is doing something about the situation.

You can raise a concern in the following ways:

Phone:       0345 60 80 191 (8am to 8pm 7 days a week, including bank holidays)

Email:         Health and Social Care Connect

Online:       Via the form on the East Sussex County Council website

if it is an emergency, stay safe and call 999.  You can also contact the police on 101 for non-emergency situations.

Find out more in our safeguarding leaflet which is also available in an easy read version

Our document Raising Concerns about Abuse and Neglect contains information on signs and indicators of abuse and neglect and guidance on what should be reported as safeguarding concerns.