Whilst delivering our first day of training with a fresh new cohort of domestic abuse champions last week, we caused a hiccup for one person in the room. The first day concentrates on theories, statistics and the impact DA has on victims and children and can be difficult for those with first hand experience. Katrina is a survivor of domestic abuse and came along to learn more about what she had been through and how multi agency training can help victims. She discovered that it still affected her more than she thought it would but, with some support, she completed the day. She spent that evening discussing it with her adult children and decided to put her feelings on paper. When she came back on the second morning she asked to read what she had written and we all listened intently. She delivered it with confidence and pride in the journey she has taken and we asked if we could publish it for all our visitors to read.
Whilst delivering our 2 day session recently to create a fresh new cohort of DA Champions in Slough, we had the pleasure of meeting members of the borough's Family Information Service. We thought that we would share details about what they do and what they can offer clients in Slough.
This week we held a half day refresher training for DA Champions. It was great to see a group of busy people who still carry the torch, despite some having trained several years ago. We do still have a couple of spaces left for the next one at County Hall Oxford on February 5, 2018. Just drop us a line if you'd like to attend.
We have just heard from an old friend of Reducing the Risk, Pat Miller. She is able to once again offer support to female domestic abuse survivors with her Springboard project to run in Oxford and she plans to extend this important initiative elsewhere too. The Springboard Women’s Development programme is designed for women from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their lives. It allows women to enhance their own skills and abilities, challenge power and equality while building confidence, assertiveness and a positive image. It is delivered in one day workshops and has five key ingredients: a best-selling up to date workbook, four action packed workshops over three months, real and inspiring role models as speakers, encouragement of effective networks, a proven support system of women to sustain progress.
We have been busy in the last few weeks with new Champions popping up in all our areas of involvement. If you are new to the role of being a DA Champion and just experienced our training, then a very warm welcome. This is a very special welcome, though, to the first ever cohort of Domestic Abuse Champions in Slough! They were such an energetic and dynamic group of people too and so hungry to know everything at once.
Oxfordshire County Council is changing the way it delivers children's services. From March 1, 2017 we will have a new Locality and Community Support Service (LCSS) and a Family Solutions Service (FSS). This is a long article outlining all the changes; please do click through and read the whole thing.
Last week saw us visiting Milton Keynes to create our first cohort of DA Champions there. It was a real delight to see their enthusiasm at engaging with our model. The group came from a wide variety of agencies and, with a second group in December and another planned for the new year, we look forward to growing a fantastic network there. The two days were very well attended with presentations from MK Act about all they can offer, such as crisis intervention, and from another DA Champion (thanks Lynn) about what amazing services they also provide locally to families.
With Father's Day fast approaching, we felt it appropriate to ask Nick Gazzard for his feelings. We often forget about those who have their family murdered and how they cope with such occasions each year. Nick very sadly lost his daughter a couple of years ago to DA. His reaction to her murder has been inspirational and in her honour, he set up the Hollie Gazzard Trust and now works for the benefit of other victims like Hollie.
Julie Summers, the biographer and historian who wrote Jambusters - the book about the WI during the Second World War that inspired the hit ITV series Home Fires - writes for Reducing the Risk about the true stories of wartime and postwar domestic abuse that she uncovered during her historical research, and how she and show creator Simon Block felt it was important to incorporate this theme into the series.
We do already have DA Champions across Health agencies in Oxfordshire but Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) wanted to increase their numbers quickly. They kindly allowed us to run a DA Champion course specifically designed for staff in the Trust. We completed the two days training this week with a fantastic and vibrant group of people which included nurses, matrons, doctors, administrators, managers and a Unison rep too.