Community Safety and social integration

Feeling safe in the UK and in their home is an important concern for refugees. They may require reassurance about issues that we cannot immediately appreciate. Listening to these issues, with help from an interpreter where necessary, may be particularly important. Some common issues affecting refugees include:

  • The need for support workers / volunteers to recognise anxieties affecting parents and children e.g. separation and develop imaginative ways to make them comfortable.
  • Direct contact with the police and other public servants can help new arrivals to trust these groups. Any information sessions that address community safety messages should be attended by police and other community safety professional.
  • Explaining how to use the emergency services is important.
  • Police or other acknowledged agencies should be encouraged to work on partnership with Refugee Community Organisations (RCOs) to brief individuals about how to report  Hate Crime and the protection measures available.
  • Fire fighters should be encouraged to work in partnership with RCOs to delivery key information about fire safety. It should include cooking practices and recognise that people from rural areas will have no experience of, for example, high rise living and fire escape issues.
  • Notwithstanding separation anxiety, in some cultures it may be common to leave young children alone for significant periods of time that would be considered unacceptable according to UK law. Working with families to outline possible risks whilst understanding cultural differences is advisable.
  • Other urban hazards include children living above the ground floor and road safety.
  • Need to explain the law relating to driving on UK roads – lessons, licences, insurance, MOTs.
  • Need to explain the British approach to equality, including issues concerning domestic abuse, same sex relationships, sexual and racial harassment, equality monitoring.
  • Need to explain British standards in relation to child protection, including safety / protection from danger and chastisement.
  • Adult protection issues may also be an area where refugees require support to understand UK policy and practice.