24 November 2021

“When staff experience Domestic Abuse in their own lives…”

Today, Wednesday 24 November 2021, CNWL held its fourth annual Domestic Abuse conference for staff. 

The virtual event chaired by Susan Bray, CNWL’s Domestic Abuse Lead, is held annually and features an expert panel of speakers to share insights into domestic abuse that staff can take into their roles to remain alert to the warning signs.

The event opened with a welcome address from Trust Chief Executive, Claire Murdoch, who said:

“We at CNWL want to be a leader in the area of domestic abuse, but I think that all health organisation should lead in this area too. It’s important that we listen to people and believe them when they say things have gone awry and that we guide them”.

This was followed by Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for the UK, who set the scene with an update on the key developments and challenges since the last conference.

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Kate Davies CBE Director of Heath & Justice, Armed Forces and Sexual Assault Referral Centres focused on victims of domestic abuse and working within a health setting. She shared how NHS Employers have produced a range of guidance to ensure the appropriate action is taken to support employees at risk of experiencing domestic abuse, including Public Health England’s 16 Days of Action toolkit to tackle domestic abuse within 16 days.

During the event, staff with lived experience of domestic abuse, opened up about their experiences and a discussion was had around the use of Trauma-informed approaches to Domestic Abuse led by CNWL Therapies Director, Dr Ryan Kemp.

They were joined by Joanna Szuryn and Rebecca Vagi leaders at the charity Respect, who led a discussion on identifying and supporting victims and perpetrators within a work setting including practical tips on what to do when victims and perpetrators work in the same organisation.

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Jess Philips, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence, presented on How to keep Domestic Abuse on the agenda. She said:

“Domestic abuse is the diabetes of society. This is an issue that is everywhere. It’s so prominent in our population that we have to start to react to it. There should never be a service that doesn’t think about this. It should be a fundamental starting point.”

Jess Philips, Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence, presented on How to keep Domestic Abuse on the agenda. She said:

“Domestic abuse is the diabetes of society. This is an issue that is everywhere. It’s so prominent in our population that we have to start to react to it. There should never be a service that doesn’t think about this. It should be a fundamental starting point.”

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Catherine Knights, CNWL Director of Quality closed the learning event by thanking over 400 staff members who joined, including CNWL’s Domestic Abuse ambassadors.

Watch it back online here (opens link) 

The event was held a day before White Ribbon Day, a campaign led by the White Ribbon Charity each year on 25 November, and then follows with 16 days to end violence against women. The campaign asks people to come together, and say ‘no’ to violence against women and that as many men as possible make the White Ribbon Promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.  It is important that we all do what we can to reduce the barriers and enable access to support for all victim/survivors of violence.

Staff can find all the information they need to support them with domestic abuse on Trustnet where a dedicated page has been set up with resources, tools and guidance for use in the workplace (search domestic abuse on Trustnet)  

On the page there is also referral pathways and the local domestic abuse champions contact details. If you’re interested in becoming a Domestic Abuse ambassador, please get in touch with Susan Bray, Trust Domestic Abuse Lead at susanbray1@nhs.net and Holly Thomas, Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator at h.thomas12@nhs.net