In this case study, we’ll look at the work of the Equality & Inclusion Partnership (EQuIP) in providing inclusive safeguarding services for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in Warwickshire.
Junaid Hussain, Chief Executive at EQuIP spoke to us about the work they’ve been carrying out to engage disaffected sections of the BME community, including traveller families, to access the safeguarding support they need.
EQuIP was established in 2016 and has built on decades of work tackling issues around race, equality, and discrimination.
They provide a casework service specialising in community engagement, promote diversity through the Equality Network, and offer training and development to individuals, groups, and organisations to support inclusion for all. 
EQuIP outlines its core vision as:
“A society that embraces diversity, where people live and work equally in peace and harmony.” 
Over the past couple of years, their work has centred around:
- Health and wellbeing
- Community safety
- Financial inclusion
- Education and training
- Black Lives Matter
Safeguarding in Warwickshire
EQuIP supported Warwickshire Safeguarding Adults Board’s consultation on their Annual Report and Strategic Plan.
The services EQuIP provide were sought to engage with disaffected sections of the Black and Minority Ethnic Community across Warwickshire, including Traveller families and new migrant communities arriving in the UK.
The types of abuse and neglect BME communities in Warwickshire are most at risk from are:
- Neglect: 32%
- Financial: 31%
- Physical: 30%
- Psychological: 4%
- Discriminatory: 1%
- Withholding access to food or the right food for a person
- Not supporting a person to wash and maintain appropriate personal hygiene and comfort
- Not supporting a person to change soiled or wet clothing
- Not seeking medical assistance when a person needs it
- Withholding access to appropriate medication or treatment for a person
- Spending another person’s money inappropriately when asked to look after it on their behalf
- Forcing a person to spend their money on things they don’t want
- Internet, email, phone, postal and doorstep scams
- Coercion and control over a person’s financial affairs and arrangements, including exploitation, pressure, and the misuse or misappropriation of a person’s property, possessions or benefits
- Physical assault
- Denial of food or water
- Misuse of medication
- Threats to physically harm or abandon the person
- Preventing someone from seeing other people
- Controlling and coercion
- Verbal abuse
- Unreasonable and unjustifiable withdrawal of support
- Any kind of harassment or unfair treatment due to
- Gender and gender identity
- Sexual orientation
EQuIP carried out a survey of their clients, asking who they would be most comfortable reporting a safeguarding concern to. The answers were:
- Family: 24%
- Friend(s): 22%
- Social services: 12%
- GP: 12%
- Police: 11%
- Community leader: 10%
- Voluntary organisation: 6%
- Support worker: 2%
- Faith leader: 1%
This highlighted the importance of educating families and friends of the services available to them, as well as how to report safeguarding concerns.
If these more trusted groups don’t report their concerns, the information groups such as EQuIP need to act on doesn’t get filtered through to them, with only 6% of people suffering feeling comfortable telling a voluntary organisation.
Making it Easier to Report Abuse and Neglect
To make it easier for people to report their concerns about neglect and abuse, some key questions had to be answered.
There had to be guarantees of confidentiality when reporting issues. People need to feel confident of their safety and trust those they are disclosing such personal and sensitive accounts too.
Another key issue was addressing potential language barriers. Some of those who had not reported concerns have said it is simply because there was nobody able to speak the same language when they tried coming forward.
Not only this, but a lot of the processes when it comes to voicing concerns were not in plain English. Removing jargon from the information available and making it less confusing to report any concerns have been a big area of focus for EQuIP.
Translating information into multiple languages has also been a necessity when engaging with the diverse communities in Warwickshire.
Offering multi-faceted services, including an improved face-to-face service has allowed those who don’t have easy access to the internet, where many of the workshops and resources had been hosted, to access the services provided by EQuIP and other agencies.
EQuIP have been attempting to raise awareness in the community of the services available to people suffering from or concerned about, someone who might be suffering from abuse.
Part of this effort has been to offer continued opportunities for engagement that go beyond a single workshop or drop-in, allowing those who don’t feel comfortable speaking up in a group setting the ability to request a follow-up session where they can speak freely.
Raising awareness has also involved training members of the community to spot signs of abuse, deal with allegations of abuse and neglect, and report those concerns back to the appropriate authorities.
Case Studies on Different Cultural Dynamics
EQuIP highlight that previous approaches to safeguarding followed a pattern that meant different cultures were not accounted for in the operating procedures of care services.
One example given by Junaid was that of ‘Mrs A’, who despite receiving help to escape a violent situation, the broader causes of violence in the community were not addressed.
Mrs A is her in late ’60s. She was known to the Day Care Centre Coordinator, however, she was not a service user at the centre. Mrs A had been a victim of domestic violence for most of her marriage.
She told her friend, the Day Care Coordinator, that she could not live like that anymore. She did not want to live the rest of her life in fear. Her friend helped her get support from a Domestic Violence Service.
Mrs A was removed from the situation at home and was re-housed in local authority accommodation.
Mrs A did not want her husband to be prosecuted, she just wanted to be away from him.
It is important to note that despite Mrs A being removed from a violent home, the ramifications of this were detrimental to her.
The community “shunned” her and her children wanted no contact with her. She is free from violence but very isolated.
Another example is Mrs E, whose situation in the aftermath of her initial attempt to seek care was not made clear to the Day Care Coordinator until too late.
Mrs E accessed a Day Care Centre. When her husband passed away, her son told her to sell her house to come and live with his family. Mrs E sold her house and gave the money to her son, who bought a larger property.
After a couple of years, Mrs E felt that her life was not her own. She couldn’t spend her own money and she was not allowed to go out. She was very isolated despite attending the Day Care Centre (which was only 3 days a week).
Mrs E asked the Day Care Coordinator for support to apply for local authority accommodation as her mental health was deteriorating and she could not live with her son and his family anymore.
When Mrs E’s son found out he was furious. He said that this would embarrass him in the community and it would be shameful if his mother lived in “a council house”.
Mrs E’s son arranged for his mother to move to India permanently. She did not want to go as all her friends and family were there. She was forced to leave the country so that her son would not have to face the shame.
The Day Care Coordinator was unable to raise concerns as she only found out about the client’s move to India after the event.
For the Community
As previously mentioned, attention has been drawn towards the language used in the materials. Ensuring information has been made clear and concise, as well as available in multiple languages is a necessity to engage black and ethnic minority communities.
Raising awareness and providing tailored safeguarding training for coordinators, community workers, and volunteers is also high on the list of priorities when tackling abuse.
Encouraging reporting and giving training on how to deal with the disclosure of abuse is vital to making an impact within the community.
Providing cultural awareness training for safeguarding practitioners will allow them to take a more comprehensive approach to those seeking care.
This should go some way to stop the situations that arose in the two case studies from happening again, as the wider implications of providing care can be considered and factored into the support.
Preparing agencies to deal with the unique and diverse cases that arise from BME communities allows for better cooperation between the two groups, and allows for a more creative approach to safeguarding.
 Hussain, Junaid. 2021. Chief Executive, EQuIP. Providing Inclusive Safeguarding Services for BME Communities.
 Sense.org.uk. 2021. Types of abuse and neglect.
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