This policy is not aimed at raising anxiety levels amongst volunteers but to help them to mitigate any risk to themselves or other by lone working.
Lone working is where a volunteer is without close or direct supervision or company for substantial periods of time. This will mainly apply to Friendship Group volunteers who:
- Visit the homes of refugees.
- Those who offer lifts to refugees.
BRWR will make every effort to minimise any risks that they are aware of, we would never knowingly put you at risk of harm but we do not know everything about the families or individuals you will be visiting, their visitors or about the neighbourhoods they are living in.
This policy is to alert volunteers to the risks presented by lone working. It is intended to give volunteers a framework for managing the risks of lone working.
BRWR should seek to minimise the risk to volunteers by carrying out an assessment before lone working commences visiting the home of the refugee to ascertain whether there are any risks to the volunteer such as:
- Is the area considered safe for parking/walking in at all times of day?
- Is the access to the premises well-lit?
- Is the door hidden from view?
- Are there any obstacles either outside or inside the premises that could be unsafe?
- Is there any known history of challenging behaviour from any person living or visiting the household?
BRWR should visit new refugees in pairs for the first few weeks to establish contact and become confident in the trust built during this time before lone working commences.
BRWR will not recommend lone working to commence if it believes that volunteers are likely to be met with unpredictable behaviour or where the risk assessment indicates otherwise.
BRWR should listen to and act upon any information from volunteers that suggests that lone working is no longer safe due to changes to the physical environment or in the behaviours of anyone in the refugee household.
BRWR’s should advise refugee families of the scope of a volunteer’s involvement. This is the responsibility of the Friendship Lead who will visit the refugee with the support of an interpreter to explain the support BRWR is able to offer. The Friendship Lead will make every effort to match volunteers in an appropriate way taking into account gender issues, interests and the personal circumstances of both volunteer and refugee.
If BRWR are satisfied that it is safe for lone working to commence this should be reviewed on a regular basis during volunteer supervision sessions which take place at the Friendship meeting held regularly by the Friendship Lead. Volunteers should contact the Friendship Lead if they are concerned about any aspect of lone working with refugees.
Volunteers should be aware that there are risks associated with lone working and should be diligent in reducing the risks to themselves by:
- Telling a responsible person at home where they are going and when they will be back. The address should be written down in a place that the responsible person can easily access.
- Making sure their mobile phone is fully charged and switched on.
- Parking in the safest place.
- To keep their car safe from suffering theft including putting articles in the boot.
- To make the walk to the refugee home short and safe including carrying valuables discreetly.
- Signing in, by completing an entry in the refugee family’s diary provided by BRWR.
- Staying in the communal areas of a refugee household.
- Sitting in the seat nearest to the door.
- Stating the scope of their involvement where needed. To avoid for instance; being left alone with a minor/ politely refusing to babysit.
- Checking with BRWR if they are asked to complete a task they are uncomfortable with and being prepared to ask for help. Lifting heavy items for instance.
- Being conscious of appropriate/modest dress codes when with refugees.
- Being considerate of a refugee family’s cultural expectation.
- Being careful to avoid escalating conversations into areas that might illicit strong reactions.
- Knowing when it would be best to leave the premises to remain safe.
- Being aware that hate crime since Brexit has dramatically increased therefore of the need to take more care in the choice of where to meet and what to do with refugees.
Responsibility of drivers
In addition to the above drivers should:
- Check they are insured to give lifts on a voluntary basis.
- Give the collection address and destination to a responsible person.
- Let a responsible person know if plans are changed.
- Ensure they are not alone with minors. A person with parental responsibility should also be travelling or a second BRWR, DBS checked volunteer.
- Ensure minors sit in the rear of the car and car seats are used where required.
- Satisfy themselves that car seats are correctly installed by refugee families for use in their car.
BRWR Volunteer training and regular Friendship meetings will afford opportunities to discuss and gain further insight into how to minimise risk when visiting refugee families.
Should be reported promptly to the Designation Safeguarding Lead in accordance with BRWR’s safeguarding policy.