A campaign to raise awareness in the North East about protecting vulnerable people from abuse and harm is returning for its fourth year.
SAFE week, which will take place between June 5 and June 11 this year, has previously raised awareness of protecting vulnerable adults, but this year’s campaign will also focus on safeguarding children.
The broader scope of the campaign is reflected in the new campaign name – Safeguarding Awareness For Everyone (SAFE) week.
To mark SAFE week, activities will be delivered in three local authority areas: North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland.
Key landmarks around the region will be lit up purple in honour of SAFE week, including St Mary’s Lighthouse, in North Tyneside and Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge.
There will also be white flags raised outside buildings across the local authority areas to highlight issues around domestic abuse.
Cllr Carole Burdis, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Everyone deserves to live their life free from harm and abuse but sadly that isn’t always the case.
“Events like SAFE week are a great way for us to highlight this issue and let people know that it is okay to speak up. We have a great range of support across our region and they can help you get through any problems you may have.”
As the lead organisation in safeguarding adults and young people at risk of harm, North Tyneside Council organises SAFE week in conjunction with multi-agency partners from health, police, Newcastle and Northumberland local authorities, as well as a range of voluntary and private providers.
Veronica Jones, Cabinet Member for Safeguarding at Northumberland County Council said: “We are proud to support SAFE week and raise awareness regarding the messages and support available for anyone who is or knows someone affected by these issues.
“Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and the events throughout SAFE week and beyond highlight the important role we can all play to promote safety.”
Chief Inspector Steve Hails from Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, said: “We are pleased to support our partners in helping to keep people safe in Northumbria.
“Victims are our absolute priority and we are working with some fantastic organisations and partners to be able to provide a full wrap-around of support for those who have been affected by abuse.
“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of domestic or sexual abuse – recently or in the past – to come forward and report it to police. Our specialist safeguarding officers are here to support victims and each case is treated in a highly confidential and sensitive way, with the welfare and safety of the victim being of paramount importance.
“We want to stress that everyone has a part to play in tackling abuse and we would ask if you witnesses something that doesn’t feel right with an adult or child, please report it to police. Safeguarding really is everyone’s business.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird DBE QC, said: “People of all ages often don’t realise when they are vulnerable and they can get into situations through no fault of their own. Northumbria Police has a duty to look after them, whatever the circumstance, and working with partners and ensuring our officers are doing everything they can to protect vulnerable people is a top priority of mine. I congratulate this campaign, which is highlighting some very important issues such as domestic abuse and sexual exploitation, and I give it my full support.”
Abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, institutional, discriminatory and neglect.
Signs of abuse may include:
- Multiple bruising or finger marks
- Injuries which cannot be properly explained
- Deterioration of health for no apparent reason
- Loss of weight
- Inappropriate or inadequate clothing
- Withdrawal of changes in usual behaviour
- An unwillingness to be alone with a particular carer
- Unexplained shortage of money