Top tips: ongoing support

You can play a key role in supporting someone after you have made a safeguarding referral or submitted an information report. Indeed, this is important as there is often a delay between when a submission is made and when specialist support is provided.

You may be best placed to provide ongoing support to the person during this time, and they may feel most comfortable disclosing information about themselves and their situation to you. Therefore, if possible, stay in touch with them and continue to keep a look out for anything that they say or do that seems concerning.

Receiving support may be difficult and stressful for people who have experienced abuse and exploitation. It will involve them disclosing personal and often painful information about their experiences, often to people who they have not met before and who they may not feel complete trust in. It may also involve them coming to terms with the full extent to which they have been exploited and abused, something which can be hugely stressful and traumatic.

They will also begin the difficult process of removing themselves from the exploitative situation. Doing so may expose them to the threat of violence and harm from those who have perpetrated their exploitation, and may involve them cutting ties with people who, whilst complicit in their exploitation, they may have felt attached to. They may be required to move to a new area for their own safety, and to begin the process of developing new friendship and support networks. They may be wary of accepting support, or find it difficult to keep engaging with these services.

Taking the time to appreciate and understand these stresses and challenges will help you to help and guide them through the support and recovery process.

You may feel that someone would benefit from additional support. If this is the case you may wish to consider whether any local support services may be suitable.

Directory of support services available in Devon

If at any time you feel that the level of harm, or risk of harm, that someone is exposed to has increased, please do one of the following: