Women’s Aid in Northern Ireland
Women’s Aid work with women and children who are living with the effects of domestic abuse. They provide a number of services including refuge and floating support services.
Women’s Aid Ballymena has around 15 employees who work alone. There are significant risks presented to these staff members, particularly those working within the Floating Support service. This service requires staff to visit clients in their own homes whilst working alone.
Staff working in volatile environments are exposed to potential violence, physical and verbal abuse. The Ballymena branch needed extra support to ensure the safety of their support workers at all times. Having reviewed some options, Women’s Aid Ballymena decided to work with Peoplesafe. It’s been a successful partnership having now used the personal safety service for over seven years.
In the past, the branch used a buddy system where support workers rang into the office with details of the address they were visiting. However, this system was not ideal as there was always the risk of human error, e.g. the staff member who took the call becoming preoccupied with other areas of their work. They’d forget to ring the support worker back to enquire if they had ended their visit safely. Peoplesafe has resolved this issue through its efficient automated service.
Peoplesafe’s lone worker safety service can be used via a mobile phone or lone worker safety devices. What’s more, it was quick and easy to implement. Support workers can log in and out of daily tasks, leaving details of their location and the expected duration. If their activity overruns, Peoplesafe will automatically call the support worker to verify their safety. If they cannot be reached, a nominated respondent or our ARC will be notified of the overrun activity.
At this stage, an agreed protocol will be followed to verify the user’s safety and location. Should a support worker feel that their safety has been compromised they can press a dedicated button on their mobile to summon emergency assistance.
Peoplesafe provides the user’s personal details, activity details, and audio to the Alarm Controller receiving the escalated call. This information is invaluable if emergency services need to be notified. Using the Peoplesafe service through a standard mobile phone provides Women’s Aid with a robust, easy-to-use personal security service for their support workers without the cost of purchasing additional devices.
Women’s Aid has found Peoplesafe to be an invaluable service to help to protect and support their staff whilst working alone, and visiting clients in the community.
Gail McLauglin, Floating Support and Community Resettlement Manager has peace of mind that staff have the extra support they need to perform their jobs efficiently and safely:
“Using Peoplesafe has also helped us provide evidence to funders that we as an organisation are using all mechanisms available to keep our workforce as safe as possible at all times.”