Thurrock Council Case Study
Helping staff at Thurrock Council understand sexual violence and abuse
We worked with the team at @thurrockcouncil to develop understand of and help prevent sexual violence and abuse and create a safer, more supportive community. In on-demand, e-learning modules, participants explored definitions of sexual violence, consent and legislation and how to respond to disclosures of sexual violence.
Thurrock Council in Essex approached us looking to extend their commitment to preventing and dealing with incidents of sexual harassment and violence. Thanks to their dedicated Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) councillor and strong partnership with SERICC (South Essex Rape Crisis Centre), the organisation already had a comprehensive VAWG strategy in place. This includes effective public action against sexual violence, for example, handing out rape alarms. Now, they wanted to focus on internal response strategies.
Raising awareness and understanding of sexual violence
Thurrock Council commissioned us to roll out training to all staff to raise awareness and understanding of sexual violence, its impacts and outcomes. As a public facing service, their goal was not only to create safer workplaces, but to extend that to the communities they serve.
Engaging, evergreen content for on-demand learning
As a council service, Thurrock has a huge workforce with an extremely high turnover. The aim was to create learning that all employees, present and future, could complete. It needed to be accessible, appropriate and useful to everyone from desk-based workers to those out in the community, like library staff and refuse collectors.
We drew on our previous experience creating e-learning modules for Essex University to create an interactive, useful and evergreen programme for Thurrock Council staff.
Survivor-led guidance to promote safeguarding
We delivered a 20-minute, interactive module based around four case studies. The course is accompanied by a workbook of questions and statistics to enhance learning and retention.
The course explores the lived experiences of real-life survivors. The four case studies bring the facts to life and break down stereotypes surrounding sexual violence. Through the stories told, participants can understand sexual violence from the survivor’s perspective, including the many and varied possible impacts of such trauma. This is particularly important for council workers in public facing roles who may find themselves in a safeguarding position.
The training unpacks what sexual violence, rape and assault are. It explores consent and sexual offences legislation. The diverse experiences depicted serve to dispel myths around sexual violence, who perpetrates it, who experiences it and how it happens. On a practical note, participants learn how to respond to disclosures of sexual violence, how to recognise trauma in others and how to support survivors in their community or workplace.
The course has been CPD-accredited, so it counts towards employees’ personal development points.
Building safer workplaces and communities
The training is now mandatory for all Thurrock Council staff. By the end of the module, participants have a better understanding of the definitions and legislation around sexual violence. They know how to notice signs of sexual violence in those around them and respond appropriately. This is knowledge they can use to make their workplace and community safer.
With an entire workforce educated and empowered, the hope is that many more survivors, whether colleagues or members of the public, will feel more supported. Thurrock Council will become a safer and more equitable place to work. And Thurrock itself will become a safer place to be, with fewer incidents of sexual violence and a more compassionate approach to those that do arise.
To discuss training for your organisation, get in touch.