Accessibility: A A A Colour Black and White
Menu

Events & News

This page is for partners to add news and events happening not only across the partnership but nationally.

If you would like to add information and links please send the information to [email protected]

There’s a campaign called ‘Escape the Control’ being launched by Sefton and Knowsley Council on 27 July which is all about domestic abuse.

The main points are that:

  • It will run for about 4-5 weeks
  • Use digital and physical resources
  • Mainly aim to cover the subject of ‘Coercive control’
  • Please find the poster and link to the leaflet below:

ESCAPE LEAFLET A6 8PP V4 TEXTURED

No More Suicide- Preventing suicide in Cheshire & Merseyside

Suicide is preventable yet in England 13 people kill themselves every day; one person every 90 minutes in the UK. The impact on family, friends, workplaces, schools and communities can be devastating; it carries a huge financial burden for the local economy and contributes to worsening inequalities. Friends and relatives of people who die by suicide have a 1 in 10 risk of making a suicide attempt after their loss 7 and they experience severe effects on their health, quality of life, ability to function well at work and in their personal lives.

Acting to eliminate preventable deaths is a public health concern. There is no single cause and no single solution to suicide, but a requirement for joint, collaborative effort utilising evidence-based interventions, intelligence and a drive to eradicate this preventable death.

This strategy is an all-age suicide prevention strategy, recognising that suicide and suicidal risk varies across the life course and that prevention and age-appropriate interventions are particularly important.

This 2017 update increases the focus on inequalities, men, children and young people, self-harm and safer care.  Please click on the link below:

No More- Zero Suicide Strategy

Wirral Council pledges zero tolerance to domestic abuse during the World Cup

Reported incidents of domestic abuse increase during World Cup season with findings from previous tournaments showing a spike of up to 27% when England won a game and 32% when they lost.

By unveiling a White Ribbon banner above the entrance to Wallasey Town Hall on Thursday 14 June, the start of the World Cup Tournament, Wirral Council and partners sent out a clear message that domestic abuse of any kind is completely unacceptable.

Cllr Paul Stuart, Cabinet Member for Law and Order, said, “The stats surrounding football and domestic abuse are shocking. These banners, greeting citizens at the doors of our town halls, should serve as a reminder that for some, ‘the beautiful game’ turns ugly after the full time whistle has blown.”

Cllr Stuart was joined by Cllr Anita Leech, local champion for the council’s Zero Tolerance to Domestic Abuse pledge alongside Nicola Palios, Vice-Chairman of Wirral’s newly promoted league football team, Tranmere Rovers FC. Tranmere Rovers have been staunch supporters of the council’s Zero Tolerance pledge since 2016. Local domestic abuse partners and agencies also attended.

The symbol was chosen in line with the national White Ribbon charity, who campaign to end violence against women, by engaging men to ‘call out violent, bullying behaviour amongst their peers, and spread a message of equality and respect.’

Cllr Leech said of the symbol, “The White Ribbon is an emblem of strength and solidarity with survivors of violence. But while we call out violence, we must also remember that not all forms of domestic abuse are physical.”

Wirral Council and its partners pledge to tackle all forms of abuse. This can include emotional, physical and sexual abuse and other forms of coercive control by people of any gender. Alongside the banners, Wirral Cabinet Members and members of the Domestic Abuse pledge committee also wore white ribbons as a symbol of solidarity with survivors of domestic abuse.

How to get help – looking for support?

Support options are available for survivors who are experiencing, or have experienced, domestic abuse of any kind via the council website at wirral.gov.uk.

• In an emergency, always dial 999.

• If you need help to deal with domestic abuse or violence you can contact the Family Safety Unit on 0151 666 4914, Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

• National 24 Hour Domestic Abuse helpline – call free on 0808 2000 247 National Domestic Violence Helpline website.

Wirral University Teaching Hospital

The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme

Annual Report

December 2017

The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), on behalf of NHS England.

The persistence of health inequalities between different population groups has been well documented, including the inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities. Today, people with learning disabilities die, on average, 15-20 years sooner than people in the general population, with some of those deaths identified as being potentially amenable to good quality healthcare.

From 1st July 2016 to 30th November 2017, 1,311 deaths were notified to the LeDeR programme. The most frequent role of those notifying a death was Learning Disability Nurse (25%), most commonly working in a Community Learning Disabilities Team.

Key information about the people with learning disabilities whose deaths were notified to the LeDeR programme includes:

  1. Just over half (57%) of the deaths were of males
  2. Most people (96%) were single
  3. Most people (93%) were of White ethnic background
  4. Just over a quarter (27%) had mild learning disabilities; 33% had moderate learning disabilities; 29% severe learning disabilities; and 11% profound or multiple learning disabilities.
  5. Approximately one in ten (9%) usually lived alone
  6. Approximately one in ten (9%) had been in an out-of-area placement.

Please click on  the link below for the full report:

LeDeR-annual-report-2016-2017-Final-6

Below is a short power point presentation provided by the specials

Specials Presentation

BBC News: Southern Health fined £2m over deaths of two patients

Connor Sparrowhawk/Teresa Colvin
 

An NHS trust that admitted failing two patients who died in its care, one in a bath, has been fined £2m.  Connor Sparrowhawk, 18, drowned in Oxford in 2013. Teresa Colvin, 45, died in Hampshire in 2012.  Southern Health admitted to “systemic failures” and pleaded guilty in 2017 to breaching health and safety laws.

Passing sentence at Oxford Crown Court, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said each death was an “unnecessary human tragedy”.  The trust will pay £950,000 for Mrs Colvin’s death and just over £1m for that of Connor Sparrowhawk.

The judge said the penalty was “a just and proportionate outcome that marks the seriousness of the Trust’s offending, the terrible consequences of that offending, and the other material factors that I have indicated”.

Dr Sara Ryan’s campaign uncovered problems at the trust

He said it was a “regrettable fact” Dr Sara Ryan, Mr Sparrowhawk’s mother, and Roger Colvin, Teresa Colvin’s husband, had to campaign to uncover problems at the trust.  The judge paid tribute in particular to Dr Ryan who had to endure “entirely unjustified criticism” during her JusticeforLB campaign – named after her son’s nickname Laughing Boy.  A victim impact statement from Dr Ryan made for “almost unbearable reading,” he said.

He acknowledged the trust’s early indication it would plead guilty and said Southern Health had made it completely clear it would not attempt to shift responsibility to individuals.  Speaking outside court, Teresa Colvin’s husband Roger said his wife – who he called TJ – had been “a vivacious, beautiful, and loving woman”.

Roger Colvin

“Six years on, so many questions play over in my mind”, he said, adding his life was “much poorer” for her loss. “We all loved her so dearly,” he said.  “TJ and I believed the hospital was a place of safety and Southern Health failed her,” he added.

Teresa Colvin with her husband Roger

Mr Sparrowhawk’s mother thanked the judge for his summary of Southern Health’s failures and also thanked the Health and Safety Executive for their “meticulous investigation”.  She added: “No-one should die a preventable death in the care of the state.

“I’m left thinking if Connor was here now in the shadow of Oxford Crown Court and St Aldates police station, he would say: ‘Why mum?’ And I would say: ‘I don’t know, but we’ve done you proud’.”

‘Entirely preventable’

In its submissions to the court, Southern Health acknowledged the deaths were “entirely preventable” and were “a matter of significant regret” it did not address its failures quicker.  Dr Nick Broughton, its chief executive, said he wanted to “apologise unreservedly”.

He was ordered to stand during the final part of the sentencing by the judge as an acknowledgement of the trust’s historic failings.  Speaking outside court, he said: “Those mistakes and those failures had dire consequences.  “Both Connor and Teresa should not have died. That is a matter of profound regret to me and the organisation, and I am truly sorry. We let them down and we let their families down,” he said.

Connor Sparrowhawk

The deaths had “served as a catalyst for change,” he added.  Dr Broughton was appointed in September after previous boss Katrina Percy resigned after it was revealed the trust had failed to investigate hundreds of deaths of patients in its care.

Southern Health employs more than 6,000 staff and owns or manages 136 sites, including 15 mental health facilities and two for people with learning difficulties.

Slade House


Wouldn’t it be nice if we all pledged to simply treat others how we would like to be treated ourselves? We thought you would agree! That’s because you’ve got a RED Heart!

Wirral Change is soon to launch such a campaign and we would like to invite you to endorse it and be part of a truly positive movement. Get your colleagues, clients, networks, family, friends, and neighbours to sign up! It won’t cost you a penny; just help us to spread the word.

Just send us an email at [email protected] to tell us you are on board or call us on 0151 649 8177 to find out more and we will send you the press release and materials to send out at a set time and date to be announced soon, thank you.

Please see a short powerpoint presentation:

The Red Heart Campaign

You can tell the world your organisation supports this campaign and show everyone how proud you are to stand for Respect Equality and Diversity.

Please click on the link below for the flyer
The Red Heart Campaign

Community Action Wirral: Deputy PCC pledges £3m of support for vulnerable victims through Victim Care Merseyside service

Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner has announced her plans to deliver nearly £3m of support for victims of crime through the Victim Care Merseyside service over the next three years.  Cllr Emily Spurrell has today confirmed eight key services have been commissioned to support vulnerable victims, witnesses and families affected by crime, and the organisations which will be delivering those services, from April 2018 until April 2021.

Victim Care Merseyside was officially launched by the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, in 2015 after powers and funding was given to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to commission victim support services. Last year, the Commissioner announced her intention to conduct a comprehensive research programme, reviewing the existing service and assessing how the needs of victims across the region may have changed and developed since the service was first established.

In light of that review, the Commissioner announced her plans to further improve and expand upon the existing package of care by enhancing the existing services and commissioning a number of new services to plug any gaps created by new and emerging crime types.  Following a competitive tendering process, the Deputy Commissioner has today confirmed the third sector and voluntary organisations which will be delivering all eight Victim Care Merseyside services, which include supporting child victims of sexual and criminal exploitation, victims of rape and sexual assault, domestic abuse and hate crime.

Emily said: “I’m delighted to confirm that, over the next three years, we are committing £3m through the Victim Care Merseyside service to provide support and care for some of the most vulnerable victims of crime in Merseyside.  “Nobody chooses to be a victim of crime, and when someone does suffer at the hands of others it is only right that they get the support to help them cope and recover.

“The aim of Victim Care Merseyside is to ensure victims get that support and that’s why the Commissioner and I are determined to constantly review and evaluate the services that are on offer. I’m so pleased to be in a position today to confirm the services that we have commissioned to support victims over the next three years and announce the fantastic local organisations which will be delivering that care.

The services which will be provided through Victim Care Merseyside are:

  • Vulnerable Victims’ Champion service for vulnerable victims of crime and anti-social behaviour (£185,648 per year) – Victim Support;
  • Domestic abuse support service, including support for young people and families – £270,000 per year distributed to the region’s five Local Authorities to enhance their existing services;
  • Specialist support service for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation (£182,000 per year) – Catch 22;
  • Dedicated aftercare support service for survivors of rape and sexual assault (£172,500 per year) – jointly awarded to RASA and RASASC;
  • Hate crime support service – jointly awarded to Anthony Walker Foundation (£40,000 per year), the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (£20,000 per year), and Daisy Inclusive UK (£10,000);
  • Third part hate crime reporting service (£25,000 per year) – Stop Hate UK;
  • Delivery of a Homicide Victims’ Advice Centre to provide support for victims of homicide, including homicide-related road traffic collisions (£23,456 per year) – Families Fighting for Justice;
  • New service to support victims of harmful practices (£22,000 per year) – Savera UK;
  • Child Exploitation / missing from home coordinator based within Merseyside Police (£40,000 per year).

Emily added: “We were one of the first areas in the country to offer support for victims of child criminal exploitation. Today’s announcement builds on that forward-thinking approach by delivering new services offering enhanced care for those who have been subjected to harmful practices, including forced marriage, so-called ‘honour-based’ violence and female genital mutilation; families who have had family members murdered or killed; and people who have been targeted by different types of hate.

“There will also be more money provided to enhance and expand our existing services, including our provision for victims of domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault and nearly double the amount of funding available for those affected by hate crime than in previous years. Following feedback from our partners, we have also taken the decision to make all of the contracts for these services three years long to give more long term security for the organisations who are commissioned and stability for victims.

“The nature of crime is constantly evolving and that means we have to adapt and update our services to ensure they are meeting the needs of victims today. Victims are at the heart of everything we do and through these new, and enhanced services offered through Victim Care Merseyside we are building on the great care which is already on offer to give the most vulnerable victims the extra help they need to become survivors.”

All of the decisions taken to enhance the Victim Care Merseyside service were based on detailed evidence, compiled as part of a Victim Needs Assessment (VNA). The VNA was carried out between May and October and incorporated extensive reviews of the crime data, a ‘what works’ literature review, a victim service mapping exercise and feedback sessions with service providers.

Crucially it also involved extensive consultation with victims of crime, including an online survey, focus groups and one-to-one interviews. A special workshop was also held with nearly 40 support organisations with the aim of identifying ‘hidden’ crimes that may still be going on undetected and out of sight.

All of the services were then put out to tender with organisations invited to apply. Assessment panels were held during February at which all the bids were scored based upon quality, cost and the provision of references.

If you have been affected by crime and need information, help or support, please visit Victim Care Merseyside.

Liverpool Echo: Investigation launched after prisoner dies in custody at Walton prison

The Prison Service confirmed Carl Newman had died in HMP Liverpool
A prisoner who had recently been recalled to jail died while in custody at Walton Prison.  Authorities have confirmed Kirkby man Carl Newman’s death late last week and said an investigation had been launched.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “ HMP Liverpool prisoner Carl Newman died in custody on Friday 6 October 2017.  “As with all deaths in custody there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman”.  Newman, 23, was previously on Merseyside Police’s wanted list after breaching the conditions of his licence and failing to return to custody.

He had been sentenced to 140 days in prison on 21 March 2017 after being convicted of motoring offences but failed to comply with his license release conditions and was recalled to prison.  Earlier this year it was revealed that prison deaths on Merseyside are at their highest level in almost three decades.  A staff union claimed huge cutbacks to the prison workforce and local mental health services were driving up suicides and self-harm.

Sam Molyneux, who died at HMP Liverpool

A 21-year-old man was found hanged at Walton prison just a fortnight after warning court staff he’d take his own life if he was locked up again.  Sam Molyneux was found in his cell at HMP Liverpool on April 1, 2016, and despite efforts by prison staff and paramedics to resuscitate him, he was declared a short time later.

Liverpool Coroners Court heard that five days before his death, Mr Molyneux was assaulted by fellow inmates and was treated for a superficial injury to his left hand.  Coroner Andre Rebello was told that Mr Molyneux had convictions stretching back to 2008, and had served time in custody since 2011 “on and off”.

One of his custodial sentences ended on February 12, 2015, and six months later, in August 2015, he was again remanded into custody at HMP Liverpool.  During that court process, Mr Rebello said, he was charged with breaching a restraining order and burglary, after which he informed staff of his intention to kill himself.  Mr Molyneux was initially monitored in jail, but 13 days later, he was found dead.

Mr Rebello told the court: “Sam was in prison. He had had a chaotic time as he was growing up, and {in} his early life.  “The state had a responsibility to look after him during that incarceration.“…Mr Molyneux was single, he had a history of mental illness, of self-harm and of attempted suicide, and abuse of drugs, including Spice.”

Spice is a synthetic form of cannabis which has reached epidemic levels of use in UK prisons.Mr Molyneux’s cause of death was given as asphyxia due to compression of the neck due to hanging from a ligature. His inquest is expected to last 12 days at Gerard Majella Courthouse, on Boundary Street, Kirkdale.

Prior to his death, Mr Molyneux, who was born in Bolton and lived in Atherton, Greater Manchester, had changed his anti-depressant medication and was involved in transfers back and forth between Hindley prison in Wigan and Liverpool.

He carried out numerous acts of self harm and, on March 30, two days before he died, Mr Molyneux climbed onto a netting platform on the prison wing, and was heard expressing concerns over his own mental health.  The court also heard he had taken to barricading himself inside his cell.

Community Care: Call for tougher adult safeguarding standards after man’s murder

The Rochdale Safeguarding Board said the case highlighted “the disparity” between expectations of professionals in adult and child protection cases

Vulnerable adults should be protected in the same way as children at risk of abuse, a safeguarding review into the death of an ex-charity worker has found.

Joseph O’Hanlon, 61, was found beaten to death at his Rochdale home in May 2016. He had a long history of alcohol problems and was well known to statutory and voluntary agencies.

Joe’s ex-partner first made a safeguarding referral in July 2014 over concerns he was being financially exploited by “drinking associates” who visited him at home. Joe’s killer, Anthony Bennett, was with him when council and police professionals visited days before his death. Police said Bennett was one of the people who “took advantage” of Joe’s good nature.

Rochdale Safeguarding Adults Board found professionals had been in contact with Joe 128 times since the initial safeguarding concerns were raised.

‘Reasonable response’

The review concluded services’ response was “reasonable”, and in some cases “excellent”, with professionals working hard to address the risks Joe faced from other individuals who visited him at home. However, it said the case highlighted “the disparity” between expectations of professionals in adult and child protection cases.

Anthony Bennett was with Joe when a housing officer and police community support officer visited a few days before the killing. The officers had never seen Bennett before and with Joe not appearing threatened by the man, no investigation into his background was made.

The review said if Joe had been a child, “there would have been a much greater expectation in relation to the information that followed from that visit and what was then recorded on both police and local authority systems.” This would have included details of Bennett and an assessment of the risks he might have posed to Joe, if he had been a vulnerable child.

The panel urged authorities to consider how adult safeguarding practices could be better aligned with those that exist within child protection services going forward.

‘Tragic story’

The review also said a Care Act assessment should have been completed, even if Joe was not eligible for social care support, because it might have identified information that would have assisted with the safeguarding enquiry.

It recommended that Care Act assessments are always considered when a safeguarding referral is received, as a means of gaining as much information as possible. It also called for safeguarding services to engage with local banks to ensure they recognise the risk of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults and have measures in place to support them.

Jane Booth, independent chair of the safeguarding adults board, said: “This is a particularly tragic story and our deepest sympathies are with the victim’s family and friends. The murder was a terrible crime and the person responsible is rightly service a prison sentence.”

BBC News: Patients ‘sent home to no heat or light’

woman by fire
Frail and vulnerable patients are being trapped in an “endless cycle” of going in and out of hospitals in England, the British Red Cross is warning.  The charity said the pressure on the NHS meant hospitals were rushing some patients home before they were ready and without adequate checks being made.

It said its staff had found patients in distressing situations, sent back to homes with no heating or lighting.  Hospitals are meant to coordinate care for frail patients on discharge.  But the Red Cross said that simply was not happening because of the lack of community services available from councils and the NHS. It meant there were growing numbers of patients being readmitted soon after leaving hospital because they were getting no help, the charity said.

It pointed to a report last year that suggested the number of readmissions within 30 days of being discharged had risen by nearly a quarter in the past four years.

The study – based on Freedom of Information responses from hospitals – suggested close to one in 20 admissions was likely to be a repeat admission. The charity said it wanted to see automatic home checks for every frail patient on discharge.

Community Care

The Community Care group is firmly placed at the heart of the social care sector, offering a range of products to help social workers and other professionals meet the demands of an ever-changing sector. These include a multi award-winning news website, as well as online learning tools, informative events and innovative recruitment solutions.Community Care Live London is our annual flagship event and is the UK’s largest free event for social workers. Due to an increase in demand in the North West, Community Care Live Manchester was launched in 2017 and continues the great work of London Live by providing a comprehensive, free-to-attend event for the region.

Whichever event you decide to attend, you can be sure that Community Care Live will provide you with essential learning and professional development through a mixture of training sessions, panel discussions, case studies and interactive learning, as well as an exhibition where you can meet and network with a range of local authorities, service providers, charities and universities from across the sector.  Please click on the link below to find out more:

Community Care Live

Community Care

Adult Safeguarding Summit 2018: Improving Adult Safeguarding Practice Decision Making, User Involvement & Outcomes

Date: Friday 27 April 2018
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London

Adult Safeguarding Summit 2018: Improving Adult Safeguarding Practice Decision Making, User Involvement & Outcomes

Book online now

Follow the conference on Twitter: #safeguardingadults

“Adult safeguarding means protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.” Adult Safeguarding Network, NHS England 2017

“The hand of safeguarding helps all children and adults who are at risk of harm or abuse. It touches the lives of children when it protects them from harm and neglect from wherever that comes; and it helps to provide them with all the chances needed to achieve the best a life can bring. To vulnerable adults it brings kindness, respect, dignity and support however short the hand that life has dealt them, and it protects them from harm and misuse from all and any quarter. It falls to us all in the NHS to give our hands to these endeavours.”
Dr Peter Green
, Consultant in Child Safeguarding & Hilary Garratt, Director of Nursing, NHS England, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, England and Chair of the National Safeguarding Steering Group, 2017

We are pleased to announce National Safeguarding Adults Summit which this year will focus on improving adult safeguarding practice: decision making, user involvement and outcomes. The conference aims to bring together adult safeguarding leads to understand current issues and the national context, and to debate and discuss key issues and areas you are facing in practice in moving forward with ‘making safeguarding personal’.

Benefits of attending

This conference will enable you to:

  • Network with colleagues who are working to improve adult safeguarding practice
  • Understand the national context of your safeguarding practice
  • Move towards full implementation of Making Safeguarding Personal
  • Learn from others to enable a user focused approach to adult safeguarding, including
  • hearing from service users, and the role of service user reference groups
  • Monitor and improve service user led outcomes for safeguarding
  • Understand the legal context including implications of recent developments such as the
  • Law Commission DoLS review
  • Improve your skills in identifying criteria and decision making for intervention and
  • escalation
  • Develop your skills in safeguarding investigation, undertaking a safeguarding enquiry and
  • report writing
  • Improving services and practice for people who self neglect
  • Understand how to work effectively with the police
  • Improve practice in multi agency information sharing
  • Self assess and reflect on your own practice
  • Gain CPD accreditation points contributing to professional development and revalidation evidence

Healthcare Conferences Adult-safeguarding

Merseyside Police launch Red Umbrella project to support sex workers on Merseyside

Date: 11 December 2017

Merseyside Police has today (11 December 2017) launched an innovative new project to support sex workers on Merseyside. This will be the first time a dedicated Police Sex Worker Liaison Officer has been appointed to help sex workers.

Following a successful bid for funding of £650,000 from the Home Office, Project Red Umbrella is set to help protect street sex workers from sexual violence, exploitation and trafficking. The project is part of a wider initiative which sees £15m of funding for Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) Service Transformation Fund.

Red Umbrella will be working in partnership with South Wales Police who have also received funding, and with Changing Lives, a charity responsible for advocacy work on Merseyside.

The project, which will run until March 2020, will put in place victim-focused processes to better support sex workers who are already victims and those who are at risk, both on the streets and online. The funding will enable the police to increase and improve the support they can offer to street sex workers in light of a recent increase of migrant sex workers and a shift which has seen more people take up the work online.

The project will also be able to improve the gathering of intelligence on those who inflict violence on mainly women, and also transgender workers and men, while encouraging more victims to report the offences committed against them, in order to bring more offenders to justice and prevent further offences from taking place.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Many of these women are extremely vulnerable and enter this work because of difficult life circumstances. This project will better support these women to ensure they get the help they need, ideally so they can get off the streets but, for those who remain, to ensure they are better protected and are able to work free from violence, abuse and exploitation.

“Merseyside Police has led the way for many years in prosecuting and securing convictions against those who commit crimes against sex workers, in large part by being the first force in the country to recognise these offences as hate crime. In January 2018 Merseyside will also have a dedicated Independent Sexual Violence Advocate for sex workers.

Since 2006 Merseyside Police has deemed crimes against sex workers as a hate crime following the Suffolk murders of a number of sex workers and the recognition that some people target sex workers specifically. This project will cover on street, off street and online sex workers so is much broader in terms of what many perceive sex work to be.

Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “Sex work is an issue that can be challenging for some communities however, as a police service it is our duty to seek to protect everybody, especially those who are the most vulnerable within our communities, and this extends to all citizens including sex workers.

“Merseyside Police force will not tolerate violence against sex workers and we will make every effort to ensure that offenders are tracked down and face the full force of the law and that victims receive the justice they so rightly deserve.

“As a force we have already taken a progressive stance, which has influenced national policy. We treat attacks on sex workers as hate crimes, because they are a vulnerable targeted group.”

The project is working in partnership with Changing Lives, a national registered charity that provides specialist support services for 21,000 vulnerable people and their families every year, and will also be working with existing services on Merseyside such as Armistead street project.

Joe Sheppard, Changing Lives Area Manager North West said: “We feel we are in a privileged position in working in partnership with Merseyside Police and many others to deliver such an innovative and important service across Merseyside. We have an increasing understanding of the needs of women with experience of survival sex, sex work and sexual exploitation so it is fantastic to see specifically targeted funding being made available for this important work. We are acutely aware of the challenges but are confident that all partners will work together to deliver and continue to improve our Services to Women across Merseyside.”

PROJECT RED UMBRELLA

The aims of the project are to protect and support service users, gather intelligence, increase reporting for law enforcement to pursue and prosecute perpetrators of (VAWG) Violence against women and girls (including men and trans ) keep victims safe, prevent further offences and provide pathways for those wishing to exit sex work through sustainable programmes.

Type of interventions and support required;

• Drop in and case work*
• Safe space – internet access for those engaged in on / off street*
• Outreach – including sexual health, national ugly mugs and safety warnings*
• Netreach – online services for support including above
• Health and Mental health services / referrals*
• Awareness and reporting mechanisms for on line / off street sex workers
• Diversion programmes and information
• Exit, routes out and aftercare for those engaged in on and off street sex work
• Education and training advice and referrals
• Employment advice and referrals
• RSL / housing support advice and referrals
• Drug and alcohol services, advice and referrals*
• Legal – Criminal justice support and advice / referrals
• Migrant support / sessional worker
• Interpreter
• ISVA/ IDVA or ISVA with specialist training in Domestic Abuse and Human Trafficking
• Police Sex Worker Liaison Officer
• Evidence gathering facilities, including ABE, Court / video link
• Project manager
• Monitoring and Evaluation
• Sharing best practice
*where current provisions exist, this service will enhance and expand and the tenderer will be expected to build a strong partnership with current service provider

CHANGING LIVES

Changing Lives is a national, registered charity that provides specialist support services for 21,000 vulnerable people and their families, every year.

They work in four key areas:

• Drug and Alcohol Services
• Employment Services
• Housing and Homelessness Services
• Women and Children’s Services

Changing Lives understand that women have experiences that are different to men’s experiences but many mainstream services do not recognise those distinct needs.

Childhood abuse and domestic abuse are common features in the lives of the women we support, and we understand the on-going impact this has on health and wellbeing.

Underpinning all our services is an in-depth understanding of trauma and a focus on recovery, resilience and community integration.

Changing Lives is the only national organisation reaching out to women with experience of sex work survival sex and/or sexual exploitation in the UK, with services across the North East, Doncaster and Wolverhampton.

They started their services within a ‘hidden market’ where there was no visible red light district, and have developed a unique model of peer research to highlight the needs of women with these experiences. They now also support women in areas where there is a visible ‘red light district’.

Titan launch regional campaign to raise awareness of the issue of ‘County Lines’ and criminal exploitation of vulnerable people

The North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (TITAN) launched a regional campaign to publicise the issue of ‘County Lines’, a tactic in which organised crime groups from large urban areas recruit others to travel to rural or coastal towns to sell Class A drugs for them.

The launch coincides with a Cheshire Constabulary-led operation in which warrants were carried out across Merseyside and Cheshire and 28 people were arrested. Other forces across the region will be carrying out publicity and operational activity to support TITAN’s campaign.

Gangs typically use children and vulnerable adults to transport and/or deal drugs to customers. These victims are recruited using intimidation, deception, violence, debt bondage or grooming. During this process the ‘victims’ are likely to commit criminal offences.

The term ‘County Lines’ refers to the business model whereby a marketed mobile phone line known as ‘the line’ is used to order drugs for customers 24 hours a day.

Often the young people/ vulnerable adults that are exploited to deliver drugs have similar circumstances/ backgrounds and can include:

  • Drug addicts/ drugs debts / drug experimentation (in younger children)
  • Alcoholics or under-age drinking
  • Mental health problems or learning difficulties
  • In a relationship or friendship with a gang member
  • Come from deprived backgrounds or broken families
  • Young people who often go missing form home
  • Young people who frequently skip school
  • Looked after children/ under social services

The campaign is being developed to create a multi-agency approach which targets young people, parents, general public, care home staff, Merseyside Police officers/ staff, health care professionals and teachers to create a talking point about the signs and triggers of vulnerable adults and young people being exploited to deliver drugs, and the relevant reporting mechanisms.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Barr, head of TITAN, said: “The issue of County Lines is becoming widespread across the region and further afield and by launching this campaign alongside all forces and partners we want to educate parents, teachers, carers and mental health professionals about how to identify some of the warning signs that vulnerable young people and adults are being used to deliver drugs and the ways you can report it to relevant agencies.

“We also want to reach out to those vulnerable people on how they can avoid becoming a target to these criminal groups and how to get help.
Victims can be anyone in your community and criminal gangs will exploit vulnerability in all its forms to aid their activities.

“It can only be combatted if the public understand what it is, knows how to spot the signs and knows what to do if they think a person they know is being exploited.

“Intelligence from our communities is key to the police taking out the gangs responsible for this exportation of crime and exploitation of the vulnerable, so I would encourage anyone who has concerns about vulnerable people being targeted in this way to come forward and speak to us, either directly or anonymously through Crimestoppers.”

Who are the victims?

  • The victims can be anyone in your community – they can be as young as 10 or as old as 90 – criminal gangs exploit vulnerability in all its forms
  • Young people may become trapped through experimental drug use or mixing with the wrong crowd and the building up of a drug debt
  • Once in debt to a dealer they will be encouraged to sell drugs to pay the debt off
  • The gang will ensure the debt is never fully paid off and the victim can quickly become trapped in a cycle where their only option is to commit further crime
  • The more crime they commit the less likely they are to tell someone what is happening or seek help
  • They will be dispatched to travel to other parts of the country where they are not known to police or social services and can essentially fly under the radar
  • During this time away from home they are highly at risk of coming to further harm at the hands of people they are dealing to or rival local drug dealers
  • Older people may become exploited to also traffick drugs, weapons and cash but additionally their homes night get taken over by gangs needing somewhere to hide drugs or deal from
  • Adults with mental or physical disabilities, adults with addictions or adults who are particularly elderly may suffering ‘cuckooing’ where a gang take over their home
  • Other victims include the relatives of the exploited person who ‘lose’ their loved one to a criminal gang, and the communities where the drug dealing and associated violence is exported to

What are the signs?
In adults, signs of ‘cuckooing’ can include:

  • a loved one or neighbour not being seen for some time;
  • unknown visitors and vehicles to their house at unusual times;
  • exchanges of cash or packages outside their home;
  • open drug use in the street; damage and degradation to the appearance of their home;
  • a change in their own personality or behaviour e.g used to say ‘hi’, now appears nervous/worried/intimidated

What are the police doing and how can the public help?

Local forces and Titan have joined together with Crimestoppers to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms to look out for and how the public can help by sharing information anonymously.

If people suspect it is occurring where they live they should pick up the phone and call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Please click on the links below to find out what’s happening in your local area.

What’s on in Knowsley
What’s on in Liverpool
What’s on in Sefton
What’s on in Wirral