criminal justice
housing & housing services
local government
voluntary sector

5th Annual Violence Against Women and Girls Forum

criminal justice

housing & housing services

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:40

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Central London

This Forum provides the opportunity to discuss with leading policy figures the latest updates on the Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill and the next steps for its implementation. Participants will have the opportunity to gain insights from organisations at the forefront of developing inclusive service models that put survivors needs at their heart. Attendees will examine how the local government, voluntary, criminal justice and the health sectors can work together in partnership to strengthen prevention, whilst ensuring legislation is fit for purpose to bring perpetrators to justice.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Voluntary, Local Government, Housing, Health  Sectors and also the Police. Typical job titles attending this event include:

  • Operation Managers
  • Community Health and Wellbeing Officers
  • Housing Managers
  • Domestic Abuse Reduction Coordinators
  • Head of Programmes and Practices
  • Justice Leads, Senior Policy Officers
  • Service Delivery Managers
  • ASB Officers
  • Heads of Community Safety
  • Support Workers
  • Vulnerable People Leads
  • Detective Superintendents
  • Detective Chief Inspectors
  • Detective Constables

This Forum is also open to the Private and Education sectors in order to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Jess Phillips MP, Chair , All-Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence and Abuse
  • Katie Ghose, CEO, Women’s Aid
  • Jemima Olchawski, Interim Chief Executive, Agenda: Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk 
  • Ciara Bergman, Change that Lasts Perpetrator Response Development Manager, Respect
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to the most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales, one in five women in England and Wales have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16. Furthermore, the figures also go onto show that an estimated 4.3 million women (26%) have experienced some form of domestic abuse since the age of 16.

In March 2018, the Ministry of Justice launched a consultation on Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse, intended to ensure the landmark Domestic Abuse Bill meets the needs of survivors and brings perpetrators to justice, whilst also focusing upon education and prevention. This includes a new broader statutory definition of domestic abuse, which recognises forms of abuse such as economic abuse. The Prime Minister has stated the new bill will also create a dedicated Domestic Abuse Commissioner and place renewed focus upon the impact of abuse on children. Moreover, the government has committed £100 million until 2020 to strive to combat violence against women and girls. This includes £17 million to 41 areas across England and Wales through the Violence Against Women and Girls Service Transformation Fund.

However, whilst progress has been made, there is still much to do in a context whereby research from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published in 2017 found local authority funding for refuges across England had been reduced from £31.2 million in 2010/11 to only £23.9 million in 2016/17. In addition, it is vital that commissioners take into account the needs of all women and that funding arrangements protect specialist provision for BMER and LGBT+ women. In 2018 the All Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence and Abuse published Creating a Truly Transformative Domestic Abuse Bill outlining key recommendations for strengthening including removing barriers to access to justice for women with insecure immigration status, moving towards a more sustainable funding system and eliminating wide geographical variations in the availability and quality of services.

Therefore, it is imperative that the relevant organisations are fully up to date with recent policy developments, including the Domestic Abuse Bill, and are able to work in collaboration and contribute towards an environment where women are able to live their lives without the dangers presented by violent behaviour and domestic abuse.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Donna Covey, Chief Executive, Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Discussing the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy

  • Discussing the key measures outlined in the Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse Government Consultation March – May 2018
  • Outlining the next steps following on from the Consultation and how it’s findings will inform the shape of the Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Assessing the planned impact of Domestic Abuse Protection Orders and outlining how these will be implemented in practice
  • Developing a new definition that recognises the range of forms domestic abuse can take including psychological, physical, sexual, economic and emotional: What will be the practical impact of this change?

Paul Giannasi OBE, Cross-Government Hate Crime Programme Manager, Ministry of Justice (invited)


Special Keynote: Striving to Enhance the UK's Response to Violence Against Women

  • Examining recommendations from the Creating a Truly Transformative Domestic Abuse Bill, 2018
  • Highlighting the importance of the statutory definition of domestic abuse and explicitly recognising its gendered nature: How this must impact how services are commissioned and delivered
  • Working in collaboration with all survivors including BME, migrant, LGBT, and older women to ensure their voices are heard and services meet their needs
  • Evaluating the next steps to achieving a sustainable funding model and how this would look

Jess Phillips MP, Chair , All-Party Parliamentary Group on Domestic Violence and Abuse (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Placing Survivors Needs at the Heart of Policy When Working to End VAWG

  • Working to ensure survivors who choose to report are supported throughout the entire criminal justice process
  • Undertaking a review of compliance with the Victims Code of Practice
  • Striving to dismantle current barriers to justice for survivors considering accessing services including immigration status
  • What practical steps can organisations take to work to ensure survivor access to justice is inclusive, transparent and timely?
  • Sharing updates on the review into rape prosecutions and justice outcomes in London in the Spring 2019 report
  • Providing a survivor’s perspective to demonstrate the importance of understanding these experiences and considering them to inform VAWG strategy

Claire Waxman, Victims Commissioner, Greater London Authority (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Achieving Change that Lasts - The Next Steps

  • Striving to ensure the Domestic Abuse Bill is fit for purpose and addresses key areas including funding and prevention in a way that recognizes the varying needs of survivors
  • Sharing insights from the Women’s Aids submission to Transforming the Response to Domestic Abuse Consultation and the May 2018 Women’s Aid’s Survivor Survey
  • Outlining the Change That Lasts Model, including the ‘Ask Me Initiative’: What are the strengths of this approach and how can it be implemented locally?
  • Examining the impact to date of the SOS: Save our Services Campaign including the recent government commitment that housing benefit can continue to fund refuge places

Katie Ghose, CEO, Women’s Aid (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Providing Comprehensive Support for Survivors Navigating the Justice System - Lessons From a Local Authority

  • Outlining ‘Project 360’: a collaborative approach to ensure repeat victims of domestic abuse are supported throughout the criminal justice process from first reporting through to trial if appropriate
  • Creating a dedicated engagement team that make contact with a victim within 24 hours of the offence being reported to offer advice, support and assistance
  • Highlighting the importance of the 24 hour period given the drop off in engagement after this period
  • Building upon the work of ‘Project 360’ to develop Operation Encompass, linking with schools to support children living in a household that has experienced a police call out regarding domestic abuse
  • Working in partnership with Leicester City Council, Rutland County Council and the PCC to commission joined up specialist services that are holistic in nature

Stephanie McBurney, Domestic Violence Coordinator, Leicester City Council (invited)


Case Study: Outlining the Role of the Housing Sector in Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

  • Discussing how the housing sector can play a crucial role in identifying and preventing violence against women and girls, such as training staff to effectively respond to domestic abuse
  • Ensuring staff are equipped to identify early signs of domestic abuse, such as interpreting warning signs in repairs and anti-social behaviour reports
  • Outlining how housing providers are expected to support domestic abuse survivors through implementing the domestic abuse accreditation criteria, including providing safe rooms to ensure victims feel safe
  • Sharing best practice of housing providers in identifying, preventing and effectively responding to domestic abuse, such as establishing a Domestic Abuse Steering Group to implement an effective domestic abuse strategy across all areas
  • Working in partnership across sectors to pool expertise and share best practice

Gudrun Burnet, Senior Business Partner (Domestic Abuse), Peabody Housing Association and Co-Founder, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Supporting At Risk Women to Lead Lives Free from Violence

  • Assessing findings of Women in Crisis: How Women and Girls are Being Failed by the Mental Health Act August 2018
  • Striving to end widespread use of restraint and raise awareness of how re-traumatising this can be particularly when conducted by male staff
  • Outlining why routine inquiry regarding abuse is so vital and the need for specialist therapeutic follow up support
  • Examining what good practice looks like in supporting women with mental health needs who have experienced abuse
  • Sharing updates on the work of the October 2017 National Commission focusing on domestic and sexual abuse against the most marginalised women and girls
  • Examining police responses to trafficked women forced into criminal activity: How can this be improved?

Jemima Olchawski, Interim Chief Executive, Agenda: Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Taking an Early Intervention Approach to Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls

  • Examining the Change that Lasts Perpetrator Response programme, an early intervention response to those who perpetrate domestic violence and abuse
  • Discussing how early intervention can enable behaviour change and increase accountability whilst ensuring the wellbeing of survivors as a priority
  • Supporting frontline workers whom encounter domestic abuse to intervene safely and effectively to protect vulnerable women and girls
  • Engaging with communities to increase perpetrator accountability

Ciara Bergman, Change that Lasts Perpetrator Response Development Manager, Respect (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Utilising Transformation Funding to Implement a Whole System Approach to Tackling VAWG

  • Accessing over £640,000 of funding from the government’s Violence Against Women and Girls Service Transformation Fund
  • Examining the innovative ‘A Whole System Approach’ project, which contains three strands designed to implement an effective domestic violence strategy, and is consequently being rolled out across the six police forces in the North East
  • Boosting police training regarding coercive control, developing strong court files to aid prosecutions and working in partnership with the Criminal Justice System to protect victims
  • Developing effective multi-agency victim support and perpetrator management to ensure effective response to perpetrators whilst prioritising victim needs
  • Establishing the importance of working across sectors to improve local delivery and ensure a better service for victims across the region

Dame Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner, Northumbria PPC (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Examining the Need for Specialist Services for LGBT Survivors of Violence

  • Outlining the aims and impact of the Recognise & Respond Project: Sharing good practice in tackling LGBT+ domestic abuse and identifying current gaps in national policy
  • Examining common myths about domestic violence in LGBT+ relationships, including that it does not occur and that it should be taken less seriously
  • Identifying and exploring the unique barriers preventing LGBT+ survivors from seeking support: How can these be dismantled?
  • Assessing key measures that would enhance the safety of LGBT+ people
  • Promoting input into the design of service provision and improvements in the inclusivity of SRE and healthy relationships education

Dr Jasna Magic, Domestic Violence and Research Policy Officer, GALOP (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Innovatively Raising Awareness of Sexual Harassment and Violence Within Schools

  • Harnessing the power of drama and art to explore what healthy and unhealthy relationships can look like in a safe and expressive environment
  • Empowering students to evaluate their own and other behaviour through a critical lens and recognise gendered and abusive dynamics
  • Collaborating in partnership with both primary and secondary schools to undertake a preventive approach to domestic abuse and sexual violence through challenging and changing normalised attitudes
  • Engaging young people through incorporating their experiences and enabling them to become ambassadors

Susie McDonald, Chief Executive, Tender: Acting to End Abuse (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing a Grassroots Approach to Ending FGM

  • Undertaking community led initiatives that focus on tackling FGM through education: Working to change behaviour and cultural norms
  • Creating ‘community champions’: Members of affected communities including survivors who raise awareness and engage with statutory services co-producing prevention initiatives
  • Highlighting the need for comprehensive specialist training for frontline health professionals to ensure they can recognise and respond appropriately to cases of FGM
  • Outlining why it is crucial to undertake a ‘rights based’ approach to tackling FGM

Agnes Baziwe, Chief Executive, Africa Advocacy Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

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