Significant Incident Reports
There are always challenges that are recurring from year to year. With mixed progress around the country, women in the justice system are still experiencing issues with addictions and repeat prescriptions during, and post-release. Additionally, increased demand on mental health services has seen great delays to much needed support.
Shine mentees are extremely vulnerable and have multiple complex needs. This increases the risks they experience, as well as the risk they may potentially pose to others. As agreed and set out in the Operational Standards and Guidance, mentors complete Significant Incident Reports when notified of an incident involving a mentee. They are reviewed by respective managers and when needed, additional support or safeguarding measures are discussed and applied.
From April 2021 to March 2022 Shine was notified of 21 cases meeting the ‘significant incident’ criteria: seven fatalities, five suicide attempts, seven injuries to self or others, one ‘challenging behaviour’ and one ‘adult protection’. Unfortunately, with one exception, all fatalities were drug- or alcohol-related, half of which were suspected overdoses. The five suicide attempts were carried out by women struggling with their mental health. Two of the seven incidents ‘injuries to self or others’ were reportedly episodes of self-harm or expressing suicidal ideology.
While in a lower number than the previous year (23), these incidents are a clear indication that additional support is needed for women struggling with addiction, as well as a need to increase capacity for mental health services. Shine is also aware of the risks of vicarious trauma to mentors. Support was offered in an ‘open forum’ style during digital mentor meetings during the year, but also on a one-to-one basis when needed. Staff wellbeing is at the forefront of our service and always a theme during workshops and training sessions.