Voluntary Action Camden

Safeguarding interview series 2: National Centre for Domestic Violence.10.06.2020

Anyone can  be a victim of Domestic abuse, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background.

With shocking statistics revealing that domestic violence has surged nationally since the start of the corona-virus lockdown, VAC’s Safeguarding Lead talks to Brian Reilly, Training manager at the National Centre for Domestic Violence.

This award-winning free service allows anyone who has recently suffered or been threatened with domestic abuse or violence to apply for an emergency court injunction, usually issued within 24 hours of making contact.

They work in close partnership with the police, solicitors and other support agencies such as Refuge and Women’s Aid to help victims obtain speedy protection. Please email Brian Reilly at brian.reilly@ncdv.org.uk for information and training for your organisation.

Listen here: 
Safeguarding interview series 2: National Centre for Domestic Violence.10.06.2020

Please see: www.ncdv.org.uk for more information.

COVID-19: National FGM Centre Podcast

In our first series of interviews, VAC’s Safeguarding Lead talks to Leethen Bartholomew, Head of The National FGM Centre, about the rise in Domestic Violence and child neglect cases, emerging stories of faith groups promoting and selling Covid-19 protection and miracle cures and the recent data that black, Asian and ethnic minorities are being dis proportionally effected by Covid-19.
He also offers advise to professionals and safeguarding leads who may be supporting BME communities, in terms of surviving the lock-down and the pandemic as a whole.
All referrals relating to FGM, abuse linked to faith and belief, breast flattening and other harmful practices, should be made through the usual safeguarding routes, designated safeguarding leads, children’s social care or the police.
Listen to the podcast here:
Infographic – Covid 19 and Harmful Practices

Useful Resources

The National FGM Centre
Hestia – Support adults and children in times of crisis

Safeguarding project nets £500,000 Lottery funding

“Charity groups have been handed more than £500,000 to develop a suite of digital tools to promote safeguarding in the voluntary sector.

The National Lottery Community Fund has handed £570,000 to the Safer Social Sector Partnership, which is coordinated by the NCVO and comprises 13 charities and third sector organisations, including NSPCC and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA).”

Read the article online at Charity Digital News to find out more:



Dispelling the Myth

For the past 8 years I have been delivering training sessions on ‘Safeguarding Children’ and ‘Harmful Practices’ to BAMER community, faith groups and supplementary schools in Camden.  These sessions are delivered as part of the Community Partnership Project, funded by Camden Council’s Children Safeguarding Board.  The project has been running since 2007 to address issues of child safeguarding amongst Camden BAMER communities.

In this time I have met a variety of people, mainly older women, attending these sessions in groups, many of whom are initially wary of Social Services and the Police and their role in protecting children in the community.  But recently a young couple with their baby attended my session.  It was the first time I have ever seen a young couple attend one of my sessions.

They were part of a group of local BAMER parents who organised the training for themselves and had asked a local Primary School for a space to deliver it. I was pleased to acknowledge that all efforts to hold the session and invite me to facilitate had come through word-of-mouth.   But, conversely, I have come to learn that messages passed through word-of-mouth can have far more catastrophic consequences when myth and stereotyping is passed unchallenged between communities, including the myth that Social Services is only good to remove children from their families.

Challenging Perceptions

This young couple were new to the country and along their journey to the UK had acquired a firm mistrust of Social Services. In their view, the power of Social Services to take away children from BAMER families correlated to punishing parents because of their ‘alien culture’ in upbringing BAMER kids in the UK.

Despite their preconceptions, this couple were actively engaged in the session.  In all my experience of delivering sensitive sessions of this sort the couple genuinely raised more questions  than any other participant has or would dare to ask about ‘Harmful Practices’ such as FGM, Honour Based Violence and radicalization vis a vis the law of the land.

During the session there was a specific exercise I conducted with the group on why Social Services or the Met Police may intervene behind family walls. I drew a job advert for the post of a ‘good parent’ and asked the group to look out for all required skills and qualifications for any successful ‘parent’ job applicant.

Dispelling the Myth

The couple then probed this further with the group and after more discussion the group acknowledged that sometimes parents may in fact lack the required skills of being good parents and that some parents who believe themselves to be devoted and caring parents can find this difficult to swallow. This led to the recognition that sometimes parents may call for further support on how to be a good parent. By comparing the good parenting qualities with inadequate or inexistent parenting skills the group agreed that intervention by the local authorities was sometimes necessary where parental skill was lacking.

They recognised that Social Services or the Met Police may intervene in certain situations because of a concern around the lack of parental skills that would usually manifest in children being abused or neglected.

This in itself helped demystify why the Local Authority is invested with the role of taking care of children, which sometimes would require the removal of children from families. The perception that all kids, including their own were subject to British law made clear that no matter the ethnicity, culture or creed, children are equally protected from ‘harm’ within family walls or outside.

Lessons learnt

What stood out about this session, even with the firm held views of the couple at the outset, was the willingness and eagerness of the young couple to open up and learn about UK laws on child safeguarding and to use this to challenge and dispel the myths and mistrust of the roles of statutory child service providers that are passed unabated between community members.

It made me realise how vital young people are in tackling generational and cultural attitudes towards child safeguarding issues and in particular of harmful practices, and in spreading these messages further within communities through word-of-mouth.

Sessions like this are one of the many reasons why the Community Partnership Project is such an important bridge between communities and statutory bodies in helping organisations work better together (particularly statutory bodies, local community organisations and faith communities), and in supporting communities to be aware and responsive to child protection issues and procedures and building knowledge in areas of violence to children that affect particular communities e.g. honour violence; forced marriage, abuses linked to belief and female genital mutilation.


To find out more about the project or if you would like VAC to deliver a session for your community or group, please get in touch with:

Asha-Kin Duale

Community Partnership Advisor, Voluntary Action Camden

Email: aduale@vac.org.uk

Project website: https://vac.org.uk/projects/safeguarding-children/


Annual and Evaluation Reports

Annual Reports

CAP AR 1314







Alternatively you can download a Word copy of the Annual Report by year:

Evaluation Reports


Asha-Kin Duale  |  Community Partnership Advisor

Tel: 020 7 284 6575  |  Email: aduale@vac.org.uk

Safeguarding Children: Project Statistics

Project Statistics

Round 6: ‘Protecting children in the community’ training sessions – ( Statistics Round 6)

Statistics are also available for download from previous rounds of this project:


Asha-Kin Duale  |  Community Partnership Advisor

Tel: 020 7 284 6575  |  Email: aduale@vac.org.uk

Let’s Talk About It: Project summary report

Let’s Talk About It:  Project summary report

The “Let us talk about it” project aimed to engage in an innovative way the young generation of Somalis living in Camden and to raise awareness of the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a harmful, illegal practice and a child protection issue.  This reports looks at the aims and objectives of the project as well as the methodology used and resulting findings and reccommendations.