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.
We'd just like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and clients of a very friendly hairdresser in Banbury. It's All About ME wanted to do something for Reducing the Risk and took the initiative. They have started collecting toiletries from customers that will be very useful to some of our IDVA clients.
The goods raised will go towards helping support victims of domestic abuse in Oxfordshire and we're very grateful — many thanks to you.
I’m Abi Wycherley, the Violence against Women and Girls Coordinator at Oxfordshire County Council. This is a brand new post, and one I really believe in. As the VAWG Coordinator I will be working alongside the Oxfordshire Safer Communities partners to ensure we have an effective and coordinated approach to VAWG across Oxfordshire, in support of the national action plan. In order to achieve this I’m working closely with Sarah Carter on the Domestic Abuse Strategic Review. We’ve had some brilliant meetings and are really grateful for the time and support from everybody involved so far. The review is progressing well and we will be sending out an update soon.
I would like to introduce myself as the new Strategic Lead for Domestic Abuse for Oxfordshire County Council. This is a newly created post and as such I am very pleased and privileged to be taking on this new and critical role. I am already aware that the Champions network in Oxfordshire is an excellent model of good practice in domestic abuse and I intend to become a Champion myself in the next few weeks.