Thursday, 09 January 2020
Last month the Trust held its first ever Domestic Abuse and Mental Health Conference; ‘Inspiring Practice, Saving Lives’, where over 120 staff attended the day. The day was organised and coordinated by one of our Lead Occupational Therapists Shelley Ralls as part of the Trusts support to the 16 Days of Activism 2019. It was chaired and facilitated by Dr Roxane Agnew-Davies a clinical psychologist who has specialised for the last 20 years in the impacts of violence, particularly domestic abuse, sexual violence and trafficking for exploitation on women's mental health.
The day began with a welcome address from our Acting Chief Executive Vanessa Ford who set the tone and future commitment of the Trust to meaningfully address Domestic Abuse in all its forms. We had presentations from Dr Kylee Trevillion who is a lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London, who specialises in women’s mental health, conducting research on practice and policy responses to violence and abuse in the context of mental illness, and conducting research on perinatal mental health. Kylee's academic work has includes conducting systematic reviews that investigate the relationship between domestic abuse and mental disorders, piloting interventions of domestic abuse advocacy in mental health settings and evaluating complex interventions on domestic abuse.
Our conference delegates also heard directly from experts by experience Luke Hart, Sarbjit Atwal and Anna Virabyan. Luke and Ryan Hart, the two surviving sons, now share their story to raise awareness of the coercive and controlling behaviour their family suffered. On 19 July 2016, Claire and Charlotte Hart were murdered in broad daylight, by the family’s father using a sawn-off shotgun. He then committed suicide.They have released their book, Remembered Forever, and have trained thousands of police officers, NHS professionals, council staff and the general public in identifying, understanding and ending domestic abuse. They have also worked closely and frequently with the national media on domestic abuse reporting and are White Ribbon Ambassadors and Refuge Champions speaking out against male violence towards women and children.
Sarbjit Atwal, the Founder & CEO of True Honour, talked about her first-hand experience and real life trauma. She now work with officers to help them understand HBV and FM, allowing them to fully understand what a victim goes through when living within these circumstances.
We had a presentation on LGBT+ from Peter Kelley is Domestic Abuse Lead and Deputy CEO of Galop, London's LGBT+ anti-violence charity. Peter has worked at Galop for over twelve years, as a researcher, advocate and manager of Galop’s domestic abuse services, including co-ordinating the LGBT Domestic Abuse Partnership.
We had an emotional engaging and informative presentation on FGM by Jaz Simms, Specialist Social Worker for FGM and Other Harmful Practices at the National FGM Centre. Jaz is a Social worker with a background in child protection and working alongside unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children.
The day closed with the launch of UKSAYSNOMORE’s Campaign and a showcase of 16 Days 16 films. The formal Conference feedback is being collated however early feedback reports on this event have been “This is the best Conference I have ever attended.” “This is the best training I have had in over 10 years, it has sat with me ever since and had me thinking all the time”
The Trust aims to deliver a further Domestic Abuse Conference in 2020.