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Helen has been a Safeguarding Associate at Thirtyone:eight since 2014.  A former head teacher, she spent over 25 years in Primary Education. 

Helen's responsibilities at Thirtyone:eight include developing and delivering a range of safeguarding training packages and providing consultancy advice for churches, cathedrals, dioceses and schools as well as other faith groups and secular organisations. This includes safeguarding audits, risk assessments and clergy file reviews. She has completed risk assessments relating to clergy, employees and volunteers in a number of different dioceses.  

Experience:

During her 15 years of headship Helen was the Designated Safeguarding Person, managing casework, supporting families, liaising with Children’s Services, Police and other statutory agencies and providing training for staff. She sat on the Local Safeguarding Children Board and was involved in serious case reviews and developing multi-agency working.

In 2013 she completed a Masters’ Degree in Woman and Child Abuse at the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University.   This covered all forms of abuse, violence against women and the exploitation of children, young people and adults in both national and global contexts as well as the development and application of various human rights instruments.

Helen has extensive experience of working with the Church of England. She completed six years as Designated Safeguarding Person for a large Anglican church where she was also a church warden. She worked closely with the diocese on more complex cases including those that involved a risk assessment of volunteers whose behaviour raised concerns.  She is currently on the Safeguarding team in a smaller rural parish.

Helen is currently involved in developing expertise and understanding of the challenges of safeguarding internationally. She served for over three and a half years as Chair of Trustees for a small Christian NGO working in conflict and post-conflict zones and understands the specific challenges of implementing good practice for safeguarding the young, the vulnerable, workers and volunteers in international contexts. She has supported a small charity to assess potential risks and develop good practice with field partners in Bulgaria and has advised a number of churches about safe practice when sending out short, and longer-term workers and partnering with churches and projects overseas.

Helen has provided consultancy support to a range of international charities.  This has included auditing and helping charities to ensure they develop policy and practice that fulfils all statutory requirements in the UK whilst navigating the challenges of developing an understanding with overseas partners about developing safe and protective environments for the young and the vulnerable.

In addition to international safeguarding, her current interests include creating safe cultures and the abuse of power in faith settings.

Helen Gilbert

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