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A message from Executive Director, Helen Jones 4 December 2020

4 December 2020

Since I last wrote, National Safeguarding Adults Week has taken place. Reflecting for another blog I was asked to write for the occasion reminded me that we used to think that to make people safe we simply had to take them away from the danger.

For instance supporting someone with social care needs to move out of their home, (if someone or something presented a risk to them in the home) and into residential care was thought to be the right thing to do.

At the heart of good social work practice however is the understanding that we need to distinguish between what is important ‘for’ people but also what is important ‘to’ them.

This dilemma is keenly played out in the current situation during Covid and visiting in our care homes.

We all want to ensure staff and residents don’t get ill but the impact on residents’ health and well-being when being kept away from their loved ones is also unthinkable.

It’s important ‘for’ people not to get ill but for so many it’s important ‘to’ them to have contact with loved ones.

And imagine someone with social care needs living in a situation with domestic violence. If they choose to stay because it is important to them not to lose touch with other family members, then it is our duty to work with that complexity.

What is important ‘to’ them needs consideration not just what others might deem is important ‘for’ them to keep them safe. This is the territory of the skilled and sensitive social work practitioner who walks alongside that person.

This is work that is going on day in and day out across Derbyshire with our teams of highly trained, dedicated social work professionals. As we reflect back we remain grateful to those professionals from all agencies who are willing to step into that complexity alongside people, rather than take the easier way out.

For more information on the work happening across Derbyshire to keep elderly and vulnerable people safe visit the Derbyshire Safeguarding Adults Board website.

And you can find information about how to seek help in relation to domestic violence on the council's website.