- What do you understand to be meant by the expression ‘hard-to-reach groups’?
- What experience do you have of consulting with such groups?
- What do you think the challenges might be?
Hard to reach groups are many and varied. They are often those with the quietest voice and less likely to be able to stand up for themselves. Elected politicians MUST make it their business to identify these groups and stand up for them.
I spent a lot of time working with the traveller community and protected the CREDS funding as long as I could. The traveller community tend to be suspicious of “officials”. I went out with our schools liaison officer who was seen as someone that community could trust.
I had the plesure to present awards to a group of traveller women who had become Ambassadors for their communities.
Those with mental health continue to slip below the radar. It is a disgrace. I will work hard to make sure that less people with mental illness end up in cells when it is medical attention they need.
But we must remember that some hard to reach groups are not easy to spot. Those that suffer domestic violence are often intelligent, can live in middle class housing in a leafy suburb and very embarrassed to admit anything is wrong. We must do better.
I have promoted and visited lots of groups and charities all of whom deserve help.
The challenges to reach these groups are many. The prime one at the moment is a lack of funding. But that should not stop us being imaginative in providing mechanisms for contact.
Changes of attitude can help. It was only a few years ago that domestic violence would be be met with the police response of “domestic”, a shrug of the shoulders and that was it.Thankfully things have moved on – but how far.