First names are more likely to be given to children in remote health care settings where keeping patients and staff safe is paramount and stigma prevents people seeking help. That’s exactly the situation for some families coming to us for support. The Breen Family (named here because of the failure to publicly identify the child who was sexually abused by his mother’s partner) is an example of a family requiring
intensive ongoing therapeutic support. We were required to take them on our existing support package because we were not ‘up to it’ to provide intensive social work intervention. While doing her best to provide her son with the support he needed, the father became a great carer for his son. It is clear the man is deeply traumatised and wants to support his son, but the care he gave meant our care package had to be
reduced to provide better support for the Breen Family. We were well aware that this was not an ideal outcome for all of the Breen Family, but our response to the family was justified in this instance given the evidence of neglect and abuse that was already in the system. It would have been unjust to further victimise the family who desperately need long-term psychological recovery to regain their mental health and
support. The Breen Family This is also true for the families and individuals who, following an incident, turn to us for crisis support with no idea of the consequences of their actions. Dr. Martin, 45, lives in Swanwick, near Barnsley. After an incident at work (there is no evidence of this incident on his CV) which saw him hospitalised, Martin turned to the police for help. He has tried to contact the authorities
for over a year, but has received no meaningful or comprehensive response. He was interviewed by South Yorkshire Police and was due to be interviewed by the NHS on 12 June. Martin’s mental health has been affected by this incident and has resulted in him self-harming, regularly arguing with others and experiencing suicidal thoughts. Dr. Caitlin is a qualified social worker who has worked for South Yorkshire Police
and Mental Health South Yorkshire. She is also a clinical adviser with an independent mental health hospital for children and young people. Caitlin spent the last two days of May breaking through barriers within the mental health services and treating Martin individually. What we observed was that, due to a culture of fear and stigma in the system, Martin was not adequately supported by the staff and asked for help.
He was then back at his family home and treated by the local social worker who may not have known his background. Martin was then back at the police station, where he had been taken upon the call out he received following his work injury. At around 3pm on 9 May, just an hour after his appearance in the local newspaper, Martin told us of his feelings of guilt and fear. We made a home visit to see if Martin felt safe
and supported. On our return, Martin was back at the police station and that evening attended a scheduled appointment with the Social Care Examiner. His attendance was a surprise to us and caused concern as he has shown no real interest in improving his situation. We are concerned at the lack of progress regarding Martin’s ongoing mental health. The system is clearly designed to support people in crisis but not those
in the wake of a traumatic incident. Martin has been asked many times to return to the police station to meet with his social worker and local social worker again and has been prevented from making this very public statement in favour of being able to protect his family. We are calling on the Government to investigate this experience and recommend a robust and effective process for planning future services to
prevent, rather than reinforce, such situations in the future. We also call on the public to raise any concerns about issues with their local authorities and local police force via their community safety messages on Facebook and on Twitter.