Sharon is a Chief Inspector in Avon and Somerset Police, working in South Somerset and Mendip leading the Neighbour teams and Partnership work. She has been a police officer for 21 years, having worked in uniform all that time her love is working in the Community, where you get the time to build professional relationships with colleagues in other services but also where you are a name and a face for the community, one Sharon hopes they can trust.
What made you decide to work with people experiencing domestic abuse?
Like so many others in Public Service I joined the Police to help make a difference to people’s lives, there is no greater feeling then knowing that. Staff and the public see me as a strong person, a uniformed cop, however I am also a survivor of Domestic Abuse. I am determined to help show that abuse doesn’t discriminate, it can and does reach into anyone’s life, even those you think it can’t. I recently became the Force Lead for Domestic Abuse, while hugely daunting, I did so because I am passionate about improving service across our force area.
What keeps you going when the work gets tough?
Most days it is the little things that make me grateful and remind me to smile, this week it was a short walk after work and watching my dogs playing in the stream. In work it is when I hear or read about how a member of staff has gone above and beyond and helped a victim, whether that is accessing support or escaping their abuser.
What is the biggest challenge and the biggest reward in your role?
I am driven to keep going by every account of a survivor rebuilding their life, or someone coming forward for help for the first time, that is the best job satisfaction anyone can ask for. There are always challenges in Policing, and the ever-changing landscape of priorities is certainly something I’m feeling now, but that’s the nature of Policing, it keeps you on your toes.
What are you most proud of so far?
Coming forward as a survivor at work was hard, it felt like a leap into the dark, however I soon realised how much it has helped others I wish I had done it sooner. I am proud to be a Police Officer and Survivor, I have been able to be the voice of many victims both in the workplace and public, I hope it will help build trust amongst victims that there is just ‘Us’ no ‘them’.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering this career, what would it be?
It is an incredible honour to help protect and to serve, think deeply about your own values and beliefs, know what you stand for and be proud of that.
Sharon’s nominator said, “Sharon has not only been brave enough to recently publicly detail her own lived experience but has gone above and beyond for me personally and is intent on changing outcomes for victims and their children.”
Do you know a professional who has gone above and beyond to change the response to domestic abuse and keep survivors and their families safe? Nominate someone for Star of the Month by emailing email@example.com with ‘Star of the Month’ as the subject line.