criminal justice
housing & housing services
local government
voluntary sector

6th Annual Violence Against Women and Girls Forum

criminal justice

housing & housing services

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:35

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Central London

Coronavirus update: Inside Government has now postponed all its planned conferences, forums and training courses until June. We are in the process of scheduling new dates and will be in touch with all booked delegates. The health and wellbeing of our delegates, contributors and staff is at the forefront of our concern and we appreciate your support in taking this step and your patience in awaiting new dates. Please get in touch if you need any further information, at


Early Bird Discount Offer 10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.


The 6th Annual Violence Against Women and Girls Event will once again provide the opportunity to discuss with peers and key sector leaders the latest developments in tackling the multitude of violent crimes committed against women and girls. Based on feedback from last year’s successful event this year’s key themes will include:

  • The Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill; latest updates since its introduction and the next steps for its implementation
  • Inclusive service models focusing on improving family ties
  • Understanding best practice preventative measures to tackle VAWG at its inception
  • Learning how to benefit from a fraction of the £16 million which was announced for councils across England to help fund domestic abuse refuge services

This year’s 6th Annual Violence Against Women and Girl’s Event will also look to really give attendees the opportunity to network effectively with their peers from the Voluntary, Local Government, Housing, Health and Criminal Justice Sectors. This will really maximise upon the opportunity to learn from others and drive home the importance of effective joined-up multi-agency approaches to tackling VAWG.

We are delighted to welcome the following speakers to this year’s event with more to be added In the coming weeks:

  • Claire Waxman, Victims Commissioner, Greater London Authority, Founder, Voices for Victims, Author, Victims’ Rights Bill
  • Nicola Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner
  • Nicki Norman, Acting CEO, Women’s Aid
  • Jemima Olchawski, Interim Chief Executive, Agenda: Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk
  • Gudrun Burnet, CEO, DAHA and Standing Together Against Domestic Violence

This Forum is specifically designed for the Voluntary, Local Government, Housing, Health Sectors and also the Criminal Justice Sector. 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:
  • Claire Waxman, Victims Commissioner, Greater London Authority, Founder, Voices for Victims, Author, Victims’ Rights Bill
  • Nicki Norman, Acting CEO, Women’s Aid
  • Jemima Olchawski, Interim Chief Executive, Agenda: Alliance for Women and Girls at Risk
  • Gudrun Burnet, CEO, DAHA and Standing Together Against Domestic Violence
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Dr Louise Arimatsu, Distinguished Policy Fellow, The Centre for Women, Peace and Security, London School of Economics (LSE) (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Outlining the Government’s Progress on Tackling Violent Behaviour Towards Women and Girls – A Focus on Domestic Abuse

  • Highlighting key changes in the Domestic Abuse Bill after its first reading in Parliament, including introducing Domestic Abuse Protection Orders to further safeguard victims and place restrictions on the actions of offenders
  • Exploring how the commissioner will help end VAWG including by supporting plans by the home office to contribute £8 million towards support to children affected by domestic abuse
  • Analysing how the commissioner will improve VAWG services nationally by monitoring provision of domestic abuse services against the National Statement of Expectations
  • Outlining progress thus far in overseeing the Domestic Homicide Review Quality Assurance process and exploring how this affects organisations working on VAWG

Nicola Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner (invited)


Special Keynote: Outlining Key Developments in the Violence Against Women and Girls Landscape

  • Exploring key findings in the 2019 London Rape Review, including a £15 million investment into services for females who experience sexual violence and abuse
  • Analysing additions to the ‘Review into the Victims’ Code of Practice’ which requires agencies to make victims aware of their entitlements to be referred to support services at each stage in their case
  • Outlining recommendations for sectors dealing with VAWG, including undergoing workplace trauma informed training and recognising the neurobiological impact of trauma on memory
  • Reviewing the Government’s ‘Strategy to End VAWG’ including a preventative approach such as the ‘WeProtect’ Advisory Board established to coordinate stakeholders to tackle online CSE
  • Exploring progress made to date including the draft of the ‘Sexual Offences Bill’ which refines a range of sexual offences and a new set of orders against perpetrators
  • Reviewing the ‘Voice4Victims’ campaign including a victims’ rights amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, making stalking harder for perpetrators

Claire Waxman, Victims Commissioner, Greater London Authority, Founder, Voices for Victims, Author, Victims’ Rights Bill (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Improving Mental Health for Women and Girls Affected by Violence

Woman’s Trust will be demonstrating how to better provide tailored mental health services for survivors of domestic abuse, by aiding women to overcome the emotional and mental health harm their experiences of domestic abuse have caused.

Delegates will learn to look at the wider effects of VAWG on female survivors including the mental health needs of those survivors, which are very often overlooked.

Heidi Riedel, Chief Executive, Woman’s Trust (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Developing a Multi-Agency Approach to Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

  • Examining the ‘A Whole System Approach’ project, which contains 3 strands designed to create an effective domestic violence strategy, and is consequently being rolled out across the six police forces in the North East
  • Learning how to create local Domestic and Sexual Violence Champions across the region who act as a point of contact for your organisation for information relating to VAWG
  • Analysing the success of the project which led to sexual offences reducing by 65.8% within one year
  • Outlining key lessons learnt from the programme including the need to pilot a domestic violence Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub to promote collaborative working

Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria (invited)


Special Keynote: Tackling Violence Against Girls – Promoting a Preventative Approach

  • Reviewing key findings from The 2019 State of Girls’ Rights in the UK report, including key guidance on how to ensure young girls are safe from VAWG
  • Understanding the human rights framework and how it can be used to tackle VAWG by developing inclusive education and tackling sexual harassment in education
  • Outlining research by Agenda which shows a link between domestic abuse and mental ill-health, addiction and poverty for girls and reviewing how this can be mitigated
  • Analysing the response and recommendations to be considered in the Domestic Abuse Bill including considering young girls more clearly in the definition of domestic abuse
  • Exploring the ‘Girls Speak’ campaign and demonstrating how it aids in reducing VAWG by using the experience of victims to influence policy and practice

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


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: The Role of Housing in Reducing Violence Against Women and Girls

  • Exploring progress in setting accreditation standards for housing providers and demonstrating how they protect women and girls by identifying support nearby
  • Outlining resources to tackle VAWG in the housing sector including through free workshops on how staff can become trauma-informed and identify signs of abuse
  • Analysing how the National Domestic Abuse Service Standards help the housing sector to examine and improve service delivery through offering risk management training
  • Learning how the standards can lessen the £18 billion yearly cost to the public purse from domestic violence through earlier intervention
  • Demonstrating how the standards promote collaboration in and across sectors through connecting organisations to effective local initiatives through industry-standard referral tools

Gudrun Burnet, CEO, DAHA and Standing Together Against Domestic Violence (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Practical Workshop: Improving the VAWG Support Offering for Ethnic Minority Groups

  • Exploring how to ensure that your VAWG strategy is inclusive of black and minority women and girls through quality assurance; accredited training and peer education
  • Learning about best practice approaches to addressing VAWG through CPD programmes providing all statutory bodies increased knowledge about family, criminal, civil and human rights law
  • Analysing the gaps and key differences to the approach for tackling VAWG for ethnic minorities
  • Outlining tangible outcomes and actions to be made since the Greater London Authority Survivors’ Consultation

Baljit Banga, Executive Director, Imkaan (CONFIRMED)


Refreshments and Networking


Special Keynote: Understanding the Role of Domestic Abuse in Violence Against Women and Girls

  • Analysing key updates since the introduction of the Domestic Abuse Bill including the introduction of a VAWG strategy backed by over £100 million in funding
  • Highlighting how to improve the police response to stalking and harassment by ensuring officers undergo stalking training, co-delivered by VAWG support specialists
  • Learning what the key boundaries to dealing with VAWG are, including uncertainty over future funding and funding not covering full costs of delivery
  • Outlining the ‘Change That Lasts’ Model, including the ‘Ask Me Initiative’ by identifying the strengths of this approach and how can it be implemented locally
  • Overcoming the 30% shortfall in the number of refuge spaces compared to that recommended by the European Council by identifying victims who need most urgent care
  • Exploring the 2020 ‘Domestic Abuse Report’ which provides a 360° view of survivors’ needs through a statistical update of the state of VAWG in 2020

Nicki Norman, Acting CEO, Women’s Aid (CONFIRMED)


Guidance Session: Embedding a Successful Regional Approach to Reducing Violence Against Women and Girls

  • Exploring preventative measures being taken in London such as working with police and criminal justice partners to effectively handle dangerous individuals including over £3 million to expand the rehabilitative Drive project
  • Learning how to lobby government for such an approach further afield including how to get involved with influencing the government to create a register for perpetrators of domestic abuse and violence, and for tougher sentences for image-based offenses
  • Teaching about the London Councils Harmful Practices programme including how nurses, midwives and social workers were trained to recognise VAWG
  • Providing best practice guidance on how to secure funding at a local level to improve the offering for local VAWG services

Unmesh Desai, Chair, Police and Crime Committee, The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Supporting Disadvantaged VAWG Victims Through a Recovery Project

  • Exploring the Women’s Safe Engagement and Recovery Project, working with disadvantaged VAWG victims by providing outreach programmes through local advocates
  • Highlighting the success of the project, leading to 69% of women supported to seek help for substance misuse and 62% supported to register with a GP
  • Demonstrating how others can replicate the project by utilising BAME specialist advocate navigators and a clinical psychologist to identify vulnerable group in the community before offering support
  • Learning lessons from the project, including the need to train professionals from a range of organisations to grow an understanding of issues facing disadvantaged VAWG victims

Fiona Dwyer, Chief Executive Officer, Solace Women’s Aid (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of women and girls killed in England and Wales has risen to its highest level in 14 years, with a 10% increase on the 220 recorded the year before and the highest total since the year ending March 2006. Furthermore, the Home Office stated that25% of UK women will experience domestic abuse and 1 in 5 sexual assault during their lifetimes.

In March 2019 the Government published an updated version of the Ending VAWG Strategy. The strategy makes 54 new commitments in addition to the 95 contained in the 2016 original strategy. Key commitments include a new pledge to carry out a review of the criminal justice response to sexual offences, exploring the missing evidence on the connection between alcohol, substance misuse and VAWG and providing more support for LGBT and male victims. Crucially, it refers to the 10% increase in funding for rape support   as well as an overall commitment to spending £100 million on tackling VAWG from 2019-2024. Also, in February 2020, over £16 million was announced for councils across England to help fund domestic abuse refuge services through 75 projects helping approximately 43,000 survivors get access to the help they need as they move towards a safe future, free from domestic abuse.

Furthermore, in 2019, the Greater London Authority carried out a Review into the Victims’ Code of Practice which involved investigating how agencies can make victims aware of their entitlements to be referred to support services at each stage in their case. The review also followed recommendations for sectors dealing with VAWG, including undergoing trauma informed training and recognising the neurobiological impact of trauma on memory.

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.

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