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Reflections on the MSCP/MSAB Joint Conference by Nicky Brownjohn, interim Independent Chair of MSCP

Date: Tuesday, 18th Apr 2023 | Category: General

On 15th March 2023, I was delighted to be able to chair the joint annual conference for Merton’s Safeguarding Adults Board and Safeguarding Children’s Partnership: Domestic Abuse Safeguarding: “Learning from the Lived Experience of Trauma from Child to Adult”.

I was impressed by the working together across the Board and Partnership teams, along with key people from local agencies. This launched the joint approach for the afternoon, with sessions enabling reflection and discussion across the safeguarding children to adults.

My thanks go to Councillor Fraser, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, and Councillor McCabe, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, for opening the event and participating in the afternoon’s discussions.

The keynote speech was delivered by Hayley Tuffin. She took the conference through trauma informed practice. This set the scene for the afternoon, looking at the lifetime impact of childhood trauma.

Hayley’s talk led to many questions from the audience. For me, the key questions she left us with to ask of ourselves, as professionals:

‘How do we experience people?’ ‘How do we label?’ ‘How do we comment on behaviour in reports?’

We then went into a session facilitated by Trish Stewart about Safeguarding Adult Reviews, taking us from an overview of the national learning from reviews to a Merton SAR, Trish introduced Lorel and Kerylyn to speak from their lived experience of being hidden young carers, when they were children, to their parent who could not manage their own care and support needs. This provided the conference with such a vital picture of how services saw the adult at risk without seeing the children. Lorel and Kerylyn showed us how important it is for professionals to ‘think family’ to prevent harm.

I am sure all who heard these young women speak will continue to reflect on their words for a long time to come.

For the final part of the conference, Zoe Gallen and Claire Bowden spoke about the impact of domestic abuse on children, and their lifelong trauma. They provided advice on how to approach individuals who disclose domestic abuse: ‘Begin from a place of empathy’

This rounded off the conference well, relating back to Hayley’s speech, the national learning and Lorel and Kerylyn ’s lived experience.

We ended the conference with break out room activities to consider the next steps in our learning. Key outputs were:

  1. Continue strengthening relationship-based practice
  2. Let’s be bold, let’s create a Think Family charter
  3. Focus on children, don’t just listen to the adult
  4. Adult and children services working together
  5. Consider the recurring themes: Relationships

The Merton SAB and SCP will work on the outputs from the conference and ensure that these are fed through the business plans. Thank you all for your commitment to safeguarding in Merton.

Nicky Brownjohn, Interim Chair Merton Safeguarding Adults Board and Merton Safeguarding Children’s Partnership



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