Sikh Mediation and
SMART is a community based initiative aimed at
providing bespoke and unique care and rehabilitation services primarily to people of predominantly
SMART utilise an experienced team with in depth knowledge of handling the complex religious and
cultural sensitivities involved with cases stemming from sexual grooming, domestic violence, bullying
and drug or alcohol abuse.
By utilising experienced and trained professionals alongside Sikh faith based treatment programmes
in a secure environment, SMART addresses the current shortcomings within the mainstream
treatment of victims of abuse.
Our team of multi-lingual professionals ensure that communication between victims and the local authorities is accurate and concise.
The key focus of SMART is to act as a medium to provide the tailored and multi-layered community intervention required in order to address the current failures inhibiting the police and social services to effectively cater for victims.
The S.M.A.R.T Centre is an independent facility providing mediation between victims and local authorities and/or law enforcement agencies. As an independent facility, victims and family members can provide details of their situation in FULL confidence. S.M.A.R.T co-ordinators will assess each case and liaise with the police, legal experts, local authorities and social services across the country as deemed appropriate.
In numerous situations across the country, Sikh children are placed into the care system due to the ignorant and negligent approach of local councils. Victims are often manipulated by their exploiters to make false “honour” related allegations in order to distance the victim from their families. This will include fabricated allegations of abuse, forced marriage or violence to the police or social services. When the child is placed in to care, the exploiters then have full access to them and the exploitation deepens.
Mediation by S.M.A.R.T counsellors seeks to prevent these situations from developing by acting as a medium between the families and authorities. S.M.A.R.T will assess cases to educate the authorities about cultural/religious nuances or aspects of relevance to cases.
Rehabilitation and Support
The central function of the S.M.A.R.T Centre is to provide counselling and support within a Sikh ethos to the primary of sexual abuse and exploitation. This is conducted by a team of professional counsellors providing twenty-four-hour support across the United Kingdom throughout the year.
The role of the counsellors is to rehabilitate victims but more importantly to provide around the clock peer support. The recovery of victims can be a roller coaster journey and is also an important factor in giving them the strength to give evidence in legal proceedings. The S.M.A.R.T centre aims to turn VICTIMS into SURVIVORS.
S.M.A.R.T counsellors also provide support and counselling to the secondary victims of abuse. The vast majority of interaction in cases of abuse is with the family members and friends of victims. These secondary victims are often ignored by authorities or further traumatised by the treatment they receive at the hands of the police and social services. The trauma they suffer can be asserious as that sustained by the primary victims. As they often sustain significant mental health problems, support and counselling for secondary victims in and independent and non-judgemental environment is imperative and typically unavailable within mainstream initiatives.
The targeted abuse and exploitation of Sikh females across the United Kingdom has taken place for over five decades. As it has been widely ignored and brushed under the carpet, the abuse has become increasing sophisticated and refined. The advent of social media has resulted in abuse and exploitation reaching epidemic proportions. .
In order to tackle this threat, it is important to empower children and continue to raise awareness of grooming and the online threat. In addition to this, collating intelligence and evidence identifying perpetrators, their networks, affiliated businesses and locations is essential. Such evidence is key to facilitating the arrests and prosecution of perpetrators. However, it is also essential that the community are aware of gangs or perpetrators who are operating in their localities.
The S.M.A.R.T Centre houses a team of intelligence officers who work around the clock to identify online predators in addition to collating evidence on active cases. This includes private investigation, surveillance and tracing services. The key benefit of this service is the provision of irrefutable evidence for police to investigate cases and prosecution agencies to conduct legal proceedings. Furthermore, the intelligence enables knowledge to be shared with schools, educational establishments and Gurdwaras to alert parents about the individuals targeting children and the methods being utilised.
Sexual abuse and exploitation can include a whole range of criminal behaviours such as assault, stalking, coercive control, criminal damage as well as sexual crimes. Anyone subject to such behaviour has the right to be protected under British law.
The risk of targeted sexual abuse has become significantly heightened over the last decade, with the complexities increased since the advent of social media and wider utilisation of the internet.
Given the rapid and ever evolving techniques utilised by perpetrators, the Police and social services are constantly playing catch up in their efforts to tackle the modern face of sexual abuse. The current climate is resulting in numerous inadequate investigations as well as failed prosecutions.
S.M.A.R.T has been developed to fill the void which is currently failing victims. As well as providing legal assistance and support with reporting crimes, S.M.A.R.T serves as a conduit to assess cases and initiate legal proceedings against perpetrators as well as being able to advise on all courses of action available under criminal and civil law.
Furthermore, S.M.A.R.T will evaluate cases through to completion in order to ensure police and prosecution agencies are fully aware of religious and cultural issues which may be of pertinence to a case.
S.M.A.R.T endeavour to enhance networking among service providers whilst ensuring a supportive community infrastructure for both primary and secondary victims.
As victim safety remains central to our approach, S.M.A.R.T has developed a system of policies and protocols for crisis intervention to be adopted wherever deemed appropriate.
By evaluating the coordinated community response from the standpoint of victim safety, S.M.A.R.T determines when intervention services such as legal, medical, financial and housing assistance is required.
Specific strategies for achieving S.M.A.R.T objectives include ensuring the immediate safety of victims (police response, emergency orders for protection, emergency shelter) as well as synchronisation with the justice system to focus on the coordination of information between victims, law enforcement and prosecution agencies.
Given the complex nature of sexual abuse and exploitation, coupled with the ever evolving techniques being utilised by perpetrators, S.M.A.R.T are ideally positioned to identify developing offending patterns as well as gathering intelligence.
S.M.A.R.T awareness initiatives utilise such information for community outreach, education, early intervention, specialised services for youth, public education and media campaigns.
In November 2018, S.M.A.R.T conducted in depth research and analysis of offending to produce the R.A.S.E Report on the religiously aggravated sexual exploitation of young Sikh females in the United Kingdom.
The R.A.S.E Report was produced and has been utilised to educate service providers and authorities on the history, techniques and cultural sensitivities involved in targeted sexual abuse, as well as encouraging reform in the investigation and prosecution of such offences.