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New safeguarding boss promises action and support for victims

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A new Safeguarding body on St Helena is already reported to be bringing new concerns to light, two months after it was set up to protect people from abuse and violence.

A specialist detective now works solely on sex and domestic violence cases, and two new protection officers are helping to improve the management of offenders.

Greg Hall arrived on the island on 29 January 2015 to start work as head of the new Safeguarding Directive, which aims to protect vulnerable children and adults.

Part of his role is to make sure the police, judiciary, health and education services work well together, with others.

In November 2014, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said the relationship between police and social services on St Helena had broken down.

A statement from The Castle in Jamestown said better assessment of cases was “already bringing about increased confidence in safeguarding… and a rise in referrals”. Historic cases were also being dealt with.

“Safeguarding on St Helena is rightly a high priority for St Helena Government,” said the statement.

“The recruitment of experienced officers to key posts… has greatly improved the capacity of government to protect individuals.

“For example, an experienced child protection and sexual offence detective now works exclusively on allegations of sexual offences and child abuse.”

Greg Hall said: “For people who feel vulnerable it can be difficult to talk about personal issues or raise concerns. Our staff understand this and are committed to listening and giving options, and we will continue to develop avenues for support.”

Training is being given to social care officers and people working with children.

The government said it was also implementing recommendations from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, which had alleged failures to deal with abuse.

Money is being sought to recruit two more social workers, set up a family centre and a victim support service, and employ more staff in the mental health service.

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