criminal justice
health & social care
housing & housing services
local government
voluntary sector

Tackling Domestic Abuse and Violence

criminal justice

health & social care

housing & housing services

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:00

Wednesday 19 June 2019

The Hatton- etc Venues, Central London


This Forum provides an opportunity to discuss the latest policy developments around addressing and tackling domestic abuse, while exploring the role of the voluntary, housing and crime sectors, as well as local government, in supporting survivors. Participants will discuss the January 2019 draft Domestic Abuse Bill, while engaging with best practice case studies across various sectors to learn and share proven methods for reducing domestic abuse and providing victims and survivors with the help they need.


This Forum is specifically designed to be a multi-sector event including the voluntary, housing, local government and criminal justice sectors amongst others focusing on the importance of cross-sector collaboration in effectively tackling domestic abuse. Typical job titles attending this event include:

  • Operation Managers
  • Community Health and Wellbeing Officers
  • Housing Managers
  • Domestic Abuse Leads
  • Head of Programmes and Practices
  • Justice Leads
  • Support Workers
  • Youth Engagement Officers
  • Vulnerable People Leads
  • Detective Superintendents
  • Detective Chief Inspectors
  • Heads of Safeguarding

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
  • Nicki Norman, Director of Services, Women’s Aid
  • David Tucker, Head of Crime and Criminal Justice, College of Policing
  • Detective Superintendent Deborah Alderson, Programme Director – ‘Whole System Approach’, Northumbria Police 
  • Kenny Gibson, National Head of Safeguarding, NHS England
  • Danielle Mcleod, Head of Knowledge Team, SafeLives
  • Richard North, Domestic Abuse Lead, West Midlands Police
  • Joanna Sharpen, Policy Manager, Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) 
  • Rebecca Vagi, Manager, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) 
  • Frank Mullane, CEO, Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA)
  • John Lee, Norwich Connect Service Manager, Spurgeons Children’s Charity
  • Daniel Ryan, Beacon Lead, SafeLives 
View the agenda and additional speakers

The latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales revealed that 2 million adults experienced domestic abuse in the year up to March 2018, with an estimated social cost of £66 billion – £34,000 per victim. Domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police increased by 23% in the same time frame. While this may be viewed as a positive step in victims having more confidence to come forward and police improving identification procedures, only 38% of these recorded crimes led to arrests, highlighting the need for a change in policy to better support victims and survivors.

The government’s draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published in January 2019 and currently undergoing parliamentary scrutiny, seeks to implement new laws that will better enable key stakeholders to successfully reduce domestic abuse and safeguard survivors. Reforms outlined in the Bill include the introduction of Domestic Abuse Protection Orders for courts to impose a variety of conditions on perpetrators, as well as preventing them from cross-examining victims in family courts. Economic abuse has also been included in the definition to broaden the scope of behaviour that can be recognised and reported as a crime, and a Domestic Abuse Commissioner created to hold the government to account. The Bill also provides statutory status for the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare’s Law, five years after it was first introduced. In November 2018, the government also announced £22 million of funding for projects across England to help provide tailored support to more than 25,000 domestic abuse survivors and their families. £8 million has also been earmarked to help children who witness abuse, which the NSPCC have called to be recognised as child abuse.

While these reforms will go some way in working towards the elimination of domestic abuse, the Home Affairs Committee has suggested that the Bill go further to include paid domestic violence leave for victims, a national register of serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators, and for the Commissioner to cover Violence Against Women and Girls as well.

If these reforms are to be successful, and if funding is going to be spent in the most effective way, all stakeholders involved in supporting victims and survivors, and tackling the unacceptable behaviour of perpetrators, must work in partnership. Improving continuity across the responses given both during the initial interaction with a domestic abuse case and throughout the process of follow up support is crucial.

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

Jess Phillips is a Labour Party politician who became the MP for the constituency of Birmingham Yardley at the 2015 general election.

Jess has committed her life to improving the lives of others, especially the most vulnerable, and spent five years working for Women’s Aid supporting and defending women. She became a councillor in 2012 through the Labour Future Candidates Programme. In this role she worked tirelessly to support residents, with her work being recognised when she became Birmingham’s first ever Victims Champion.

Since becoming an MP, Jess has continued her fight to support those who need it the most and has been appointed to the Women and Equalities Committee, the Backbench Business Committee and Chair of the Women’s PLP. Jess has earned a reputation for plain speaking since being elected, unfazed by threats and calling out sexist attitudes as she promotes women’s rights.

Nicki Norman, Director of Services, Women’s Aid

Nicki Norman has over 25 years’ direct experience of providing, managing and developing local domestic violence services in a range of settings. Nicki has worked for Women’s Aid since 2007, assisting with all aspects of the national charity’s work to end violence against women and children. Nicki oversees the delivery and development of Women’s Aid’s direct services which include the National Domestic Violence Helpline, online Survivors’ Forum and ‘No Woman Turned Away’ project. Nicki’s remit also includes supporting and representing a national network of around 175 local member organisations providing violence against women services, as well as the National Training Centre and all its work. Currently, Nicki is leading on a national project that is transforming multi-agency responses to domestic abuse in England and Wales – ‘Change That Lasts’.

Kenny Gibson, National Head of Safeguarding, NHS England

Kenny Gibson is the Head of Safeguarding for NHS Safeguarding, overseeing several portfolios including Domestic Violence; Exploitation, Contextual Safeguarding; Trauma Informed Care; Prevent in the NHS and Child Protection Information System.

Having begun his NHS career as a laundry assistant in 1980 at a mental health unit, Kenny was encouraged to become a nursing assistant and then trained as a nurse and then a midwife.

Kenny has held various operational, management and strategic posts in both community and public health but always with nursing at the heart of these roles.

Prior to becoming the Head of Safeguarding for NHS England, Kenny was the Head of Public Health Commissioning for London.

Kenny is passionate about connecting with and listening to patients, carers and health practitioners in order to improve services and experiences within the NHS, as well as to empower people about their own well-being.

You can follow Kenny on Twitter at: @KennyGibsonNHS or @NHSSafeguarding

Rebecca Vagi, Manager, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA)

Rebecca is the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) Team Manager at Standing Together Against Domestic Violence and has worked in the field of domestic violence for over 10 years. Her experience includes delivering and managing frontline services for women and children and working with health and housing sector organisations to develop their own response to domestic abuse. Rebecca is a guest lecturer at Goldsmith’s University for their MA Understanding Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse course and member of a Women Against Violence Network (WAVE) working group, which is investigating strength-based, needs-led approaches to domestic abuse. 

Rebecca tweets @RebeccaVagi, whilst the DAHA Alliance tweet @DAHAlliance


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Joanna Sharpen, Policy Manager, Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Responding to the Government’s Plans for Tackling Domestic Abuse

  • Highlighting the positive changes that the 2019 Domestic Abuse Bill includes, and how this reflects long term campaigning efforts, such as the removal of rights for perpetrators of abuse to cross-examine their victims in family court
  • Considering further measures that can be implemented to better support victims, and women in particular, in family courts, and the role of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner in leading on this
  • Exploring other key measures for inclusion in the Bill, such as standards around specialist services and refuge bed spaces, and more access to services for migrant women
  • Outlining further recommendations from the APPG’s 2018 report, Creating a Truly Transformative Domestic Abuse Bill, and how these can be effectively woven into the government, and wider sector’s efforts

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


Questions and Answers


Workshop: Seeing the Whole Picture Through the Multi-Agency Lens - Lessons From the One Front Door Pilot

  • Exploring through a case study the way in which multi-agency partnerships at local level can focus on supporting victims and survivors through a whole family approach
  • Discussing the cost benefit of identifying and acting at the earliest point for families
  • Learning from the national One Front Door pilot
  • Best practice examples of statutory agencies working with parents who are victims of domestic abuse
  • Bringing the voices of victims and survivors to the multi-agency system for better outcomes

Danielle Mcleod, Head of Knowledge Team, SafeLives (CONFIRMED)


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Strengthening the Health Sector’s Response to Domestic Abuse

  • Outlining the key elements of the Responding to Domestic Abuse: A Resource for Health Professionals guidance, including helping to identify potential victims, initiate enquiries and respond to disclosures of abuse
  • Highlighting the updated section of the guidance particularly around perpetrators and the range of health-based services that can be delivered via a structured domestic violence perpetrator programme (DVPP)
  • Encouraging more integrated and multi-agency commissioning across the NHS for specialist services that interrupt perpetrators and support victims, including to improve referral pathways for clinical and administrative staff
  • Discussing the role of service managers in developing effective local responses to abuse including protocol for cross-service information sharing and provided DVA services for children

Kenny Gibson, National Head of Safeguarding, NHS England (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: The Importance of Status in Domestic Abuse and Domestic Homicide Reviews

  • Discussing Domestic Homicide Reviews and their impact on reducing domestic abuse

  • Exploring how the families and commissioners of Domestic Homicide Reviews benefit from specialist and expert advocacy

  • Sharing lessons from gaining funding from the Home Office to increase awareness of this advocacy

  • Examining the link between Domestic Homicide Reviews and other strategies to reduce domestic abuse

Frank Mullane, CEO, Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Gaining Funding to Implement a Whole System Approach to Tackle Domestic Violence

  • Outlining the ‘Whole System Approach’ project that aims to improve efforts to tackle domestic abuse; from improving the police response to domestic abuse, collaboration with the family courts and innovative multi-agency working to support victims and survivors and pro-actively target the most harmful domestic abuse perpetrators  
  • Detailing the importance of collaborative and multi-agency working and highlighting some innovative partnerships developed
  • Focus on the Multi-Agency Tasking and Coordination (MATAC) process to pro-actively identify then target the most harmful, including serial, domestic abuse perpetrators
  • Discussing the next steps for national sharing of best practice including ‘Operation Encompass: The Next Steps’, a new development working with schools to develop and deliver PSHE (Personal Health and Social Education) and RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) sessions in schools to break the cycle of domestic abuse

Detective Superintendent Deborah Alderson, Programme Director – ‘Whole System Approach’, Northumbria Police (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Effectively Dealing With Perpetrators of Domestic Violence and Supporting Victims

  • Discussing the impact of the updated Authorised Professional Practice on domestic abuse guidance, including how police can now better support those experiencing coercive behaviour
  • Exploring how evidence-led prosecutions could be undertaken more often when a victim is unwilling to support a prosecution
  • Understanding the role of first responders at an incident of domestic abuse, how they can conduct an effective risk assessment, and ultimately safeguard the victim, and sharing a toolkit to help staff in this role
  • Looking at the future of training needs for police, and other blue light service colleagues, both to change attitudes towards domestic abuse and to increase the number of perpetrators stopped and brought to justice, including how measures in the Domestic Abuse Bill will impact these efforts

David Tucker, Head of Crime and Criminal Justice, College of Policing (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Improving Support for Domestic Abuse Victims Across Housing Associations

  • Outlining the partnership between Peabody, Gentoo and Standing Together Against Domestic Violence to form the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse
  • Developing an accreditation process to assess housing associations’ policies and practices for tackling and preventing domestic abuse, providing a toolkit to support improvement efforts, which has now become the national benchmark for the sector
  • Discussing proven methods having trained over 43 housing providers to improve staff confidence in identifying domestic abuse and increasing interaction with local initiatives to improve quality and time of response
  • Sharing lessons from gaining funding from London Councils and Comic Relief to offer a workshops across the country, and highlighting how these support housing associations in working towards DAHA accreditation

Rebecca Vagi, Manager, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing an Effective Action Plan to Tackle Domestic Abuse - A Police Force Perspective

  • Outlining experiences with coping with changing demands in response to shifting conditions and situations, and best practice examples and insights in ensuring necessary resources are marshalled appropriately at times of system-stress
  • Discussing the rise of ‘evidence-led’ prosecutions, the necessity of balancing the value of pursuing them against the resources marshalled in doing so and outlining the challenges involved in producing a standard, commonly agreed approach to evidence-led prosecutions
  • Outlining the development and implementation of a West Midlands action plan for tackling Domestic Abuse, and reflection on the challenges and experiences throughout the process
  • Highlighting the cross-community partnerships created to form effective victim support strategies and the importance of the voluntary sector in supporting the work of the police forces in tackling domestic abuse

Detective Superintendent Richard North, Domestic Abuse Lead, West Midlands Police (CONFIRMED) 


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Effectively Reducing Family Violence – A Local Authority Approach

  • Outlining the Up2U: Family Intervention service to help people who use domestically abusive and unhealthy behaviours in their relationships and prevent the cycle of abuse as children who witness the violence become abusers themselves
  • Understanding what the programme includes, such as addressing the link between substance misuse and abusive behaviours and improving the ability to recognise and manage emotions linked with domestic abuse
  • Responding to individual need and risk through tailored packages that can include 6 to 40 sessions, delivered twice a week for high risk individuals, in a group or one to one
  • Promoting the benefits of an informal referral pathway that can be based on need, resulting in reducing the number of child social care cases by over 60% including those on a Child in Need (CiN) plan and in local authority care (LAC)
  • Funding this programme through the Big Lottery Fund and Home Office Family Intervention (VAWG) service: Lessons from successful funding applications and sustaining the approach through traded services

Amy Ford, Up2U Programme Author and Business and Development Director, Portsmouth City Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Forming Partnerships to Implement Innovative Approaches in Tackling Domestic Abuse and Supporting Victims

  • Outlining the aims and methods of the Norwich Connect programme, a partnership between Spurgeons Children’s Charity, Safe Lifes and the Norfolk Country Community Safety Partnership to support those experiencing abuse
  • Providing insight into how support can be tailored to the unique and personal situations and differing needs and complexities of the victims involved
  • Discussing how voluntary organisations can best work in collaboration with each other, and with other key organisations such as the Police and Local Authorities, to best support victims both during and after abuse
  • Highlighting how the programme seeks to build a evidence-base for what works to inform national approaches and create lasting, systematic change

John Lee, Norwich Connect Service Manager, Spurgeons Children’s Charity and Daniel Ryan, Beacon Lead, SafeLives (CONFIRMED)


Closing Keynote: Providing Sustainable Support for All Survivors of Domestic Violence and Abuse – Voluntary Sector Perspective

  • Outlining the Change That Lasts approach to responding to domestic abuse, ensuring that survivors get the response they need for their situation the first time they highlight a need for it
  • Placing the survivor at the heart of the response: Understanding that those who experience domestic abuse know their perpetrator better than any professional, and must be part of the solution to tackle the abuse
  • Highlighting the negative financial impact of not responding to individual needs, including the cost of re-housing survivors and their families, and continuous A&E visits, rather than participating in workshops or making an IDVA reference as soon as abuse is flagged as a problem
  • Promoting the VAWG Shared Core Standards, developed alongside Imkaan, Rape Crisis, Respect and SafeLives, as a method of validating the standard of commissioned specialist services
  • Discussing the implications of the new statutory requirement for local authorities to provide secure accommodation for survivors of Domestic Abuse

Nicki Norman, Director of Services, Women’s Aid (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

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