Charity workers take on a variety of roles, many of which involve interacting with the public. Consider volunteers who might work with at risk individuals, or those recovering from trauma or addiction - helping vulnerable people carries with it additional risk that cannot be ignored. Fundraisers who handle cash donations or go door to door might be seen as easy targets and are at high risk of violence. 47% of charity and housing association employees say they had experienced violence or aggression.
Risks can include:
Working with people; entering the homes of donators or service users; fundraising on location, often without immediately available support
Risk of theft or attack in charity stores; handling of cash or desirable items
Accident and injury; trips, slips and falls even greater when mobile working in unfamiliar locations
Following a Home Office investigation into abuse against shop staff, almost a third of charity retailers said abuse towards staff and volunteers had increased in the previous two years. A Mind charity worker was harassed while giving out donation buckets at Ulverston Indoor Market, leading to a man being given a restraining order.
Charity and volunteer organisations have a duty to safeguard all their staff, whether they are paid members of staff or volunteers and regardless of location.
Charity organisations often rely on the power of goodwill of people when it comes to making donations and engaging with their cause - this goodwill doesn’t always extend to lone workers in the charity sector, and so proper measures need to be in place to prevent violence and abuse, as well as help every employee work safely.
Accountability and visibility for lone workers in the charity sector is imperative to keeping them safe. Ensure that volunteers in the streets or going to door-to-door have a clear line of communication and check-in regularly. Your lone working policy should be developed to keep this in mind. If you don’t know where your workers are and can’t reach them, this is a significant problem.
Train all your staff to identify, defuse and prevent instances of violence and frustration. Ensure that lone workers seeking donations and sign-ups are not so pressured that they do not feel they can’t walk away from a situation. All charity workers should feel empowered to avoid a situation if they don’t feel safe.
Use a lone worker safety solution like Safepoint to make the process of checking in, monitoring and raising emergencies easy for your charity workers, all from your existing devices.
Robust management tools
Safepoint helps you meet health and safety requirements and legally safeguard your charity for the future. Manage your lone workers simply and effectively, and make informed safety decisions in real-time.
Smart, effective protection
Safepoint offers smart protection for lone workers in the field. Your employees can request help in case of emergency and the app alerts Guardians in the event a task duration expires. Your lone workers are safeguarded wherever they are.
Visibility and real-time updates
Safepoint shares vital safety information including GPS location, battery life and signal strength, instantly keeping Guardians and lone workers updated. Data is only shared during an active task so lone worker privacy is maintained.
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