A chat with Jeanie Harrison, our Domestic Abuse & Safeguarding Coordinator
Jeanie Harrison is Poplar HARCA’s Domestic Abuse & Safeguarding Coordinator. As part of the Safeguarding team, she works closely with vulnerable residents. We chatted to her about how she supports residents and what advice she would give to anyone who thinks that they, or someone they know, might be experiencing domestic abuse.
What are some of your typical day to day responsibilities?
I check over cases and liaise with other agencies regarding our residents, meet with residents, complete visits to vulnerable residents and generally offer support as someone that residents can talk to, providing them with a safe space. I also attend various meetings including the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (which focuses on high risk domestic abuse), child protection reviews and core group meetings.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy being someone that our residents can talk to. I feel that one of my strengths is being able to listen and understand people. At HARCA we are more than just homes; we care and offer other activities and support for our residents. I feel that we encourage and motivate people to get the best out of their life.
How do you work with other teams and what’s the importance of this?
I have been working in the Poplar area for a very long time so I have positive contacts in all teams. Working with other teams is vital as we are then able to offer a seamless service to our residents. Cross-team working is very important when working with domestic abuse survivors as I need to ensure that their safety as well as their children’s is always a priority.
How does the work you do positively impact on residents’ lives?
There have been a few occasions where residents have just been grateful for me to listen to them and believe what they are saying. The fact that we have been able to offer extra security in their home has made them feel that they can stay living where they are and feel safer. As I also support vulnerable residents, I currently have a resident that is going through a tough time and although they like to have their own space, I know my contact with them is always greatly received. Knowing that someone is there caring about them and wanting them to get the support that they need is vital in their recovery. On one occasion I told the resident “to take one step at a time” and this statement has stayed with the resident since then because quite often the resident repeats it back to me.
What should someone do if they think that they, or someone they know, is experiencing domestic abuse?
The most important thing do to is to report the issue so that support can be put in place to ensure that the victim(s) is safe. You can report domestic abuse to Poplar HARCA’s Safeguarding team here or on 0800 035 1991. Once we receive a report, I contact the victim to offer a safe space to speak about their current situation and give them options on next steps. We also run drop-in sessions at the community centres:
Teviot Centre, (9.30am-12pm)
8th January, 5th February, 4th March & 1st April 2020 (9.30am-12pm)
St Paul’s Way Centre, (1pm-3.30pm)
15th January, 19th February, 18th March & 15th April 2020
There is also a one-stop-shop at Idea Store Whitechapel every Thursday from 9.30am -12.30pm. At this workshop there are police officers, housing options, victim support and a solicitor who offer advice and information about specialist support services.