Social Worker - Exploitation Team at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Empathy, compassion, great listening skills, persistence - some of the qualities you need to be a social worker today. Being non-judgemental is crucial as I deal with some difficult situations and it helps to build trusted relationships with the people I support.
I’m Danielle. I’m a Social Worker working with people who are at risk of, or victims of, exploitation; this may be criminal, sexual or financial exploitation or modern slavery.
We’ve developed an ‘all age’ approach to exploitation in our local authority; we recognised there is a gap in services for young people moving into Adult Services and we realised there needed to be better co-ordination. I support those young people and adults who wouldn’t reach traditional services through Adult Care Services, and I work closely with Children’s Services and partner agencies.
I work with vulnerable young people who can become exploited by gangs carrying drugs and weapons across the country, or young people or adults who may be victims of home invasion where their property has been taken over by a gang or the exploiters. I helped rehouse a young man recently in a different area after he was subject to life threatening injuries in a violent attack. He’s now clean from drugs, more able to socialise and looking for training and work. It’s immensely satisfying when I can help someone get their life back on track.
My work with adults is to reduce risks around exploitation, focussing on areas such as housing including help to move house, accessing food bank vouchers, supporting someone into employment, registering with a GP or help to access therapeutic support.
I also work on modern slavery cases; for example supporting someone who is a victim of domestic servitude or forced labour and is often subjected to physical as well as emotional abuse. A creative approach is needed to provide support. This could be through the GP surgery as a place to speak safely, away from where the exploitation is taking place.
Previously I’ve worked in other aspects of social work such as helping people move from hospital back home, or into care homes, but I wanted to build longer term relationships with people I help and whilst this role can be emotionally challenging it is also highly rewarding.
My council is great to work for, they care and understand the importance of my wellbeing. I can work flexibly, feel supported by higher management and am able to progress my career here.
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