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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

Read the latest NELFT news, including information on our services, new trust staff, research and development of our services.

Safeguarding lead received a Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing

NELFT employee Jen Sarsby recently received her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from Brighton University. Jen is the NELFT Lead for domestic abuse, harmful practices and LAC (looked after children) in the Safeguarding team.

We took the opportunity to ask Jen a few questions about her team and doctorate award.

Can you tell us a little bit about your team?

We currently have 34 members in our team with Catherine Webb our out-going AD and Diane Searle our director of nursing. In July 2014, the adult and children safeguarding teams merged, creating one of the most unique safeguarding team in the NHS because of our practice model and the creative ways we support frontline staff. Our team provide safeguarding advice to over 800 frontline staff every month.

What was your motivation for doing this research?

During my training as a nurse and as a health visitor, domestic violence was not a subject covered in the course module; however I quickly realised that it was far more prevalent on my caseload than anyone realised. At the time more than 90% of my safeguarding cases involved issues of domestic violence that were also linked to so called honour-based violence and modern slavery. It makes sense that developing expertise in this area of safeguarding would clearly improve the quality of safeguarding interventions for vulnerable families.

You recently received your Doctorate in Philosophy of Nursing, can you tell us about the course?

I gained my degree from the University of Brighton completing it over five years, part time. I am passionate about nursing and in particular about health visiting practice and the potential to tackle health inequalities so I wanted my work to help make a difference and improve what we do. I was extremely fortunate working for NELFT, as unlike other health organisations, our Chief Nurse Stephanie Dawe prioritised the issue of domestic violence as a key response to address safeguarding concerns; this is reflected in the knowledge and skills we provide for our frontline staff. Together, our team has supported an increase of over 1380% reporting of domestic violence cases across NELFT between 2009 and the year ending 2016.

What next?

It’s been an amazing journey, only made possible by the support I’ve had from the beginning to the end from the safeguarding team - particularly Hilary Hindley and Nicola Byrne.

Being part of the campaigning against domestic violence has been rewarding, but we still have a long way to go to achieve equality in knowledge about the experiences of men and women from minority ethnic groups’ experiences of this type of abuse. I’m looking forward to a few holidays, learning how to relax and thinking about the next challenge.

Jen would like to put on record her thanks for all the staff members who have supported her and especially the Operational Lead for Children’s Integrated Universal and Early Intervention Services in Barking and Dagenham, Joy Coutts.