Connect Conference 2018: Building Collaboration and Communication in Domestic Abuse Work

UCLan’s Connect Centre for International Research on Violence and Harm held its second conference on Wednesday 3rd October 2018, at Brockholes Conference Centre Preston.

The conference focused upon domestic abuse and the notion that if domestic abuse is to be identified and managed at the earliest opportunity, a collaborative approach is needed.

Professor Gene Feder (University of Bristol) gave the first presentation, focusing upon the interaction between primary health care, for instance GPs, and ways in which primary health care providers can help to identify and support victims of domestic abuse.

Following on from Gene’s talk, ICSC director, Professor Nicky Stanley (UCLan) discussed the key elements of a ‘whole family’ approach for families experiencing domestic violence and abuse. During this talk, Nicky spoke about the importance of services and support being flexible and accessible to all family members and the challenges of trying to establish a multi-agency approach to domestic violence and abuse.

Dr Rachel Robbins (UCLan) concluded the morning session by focusing upon the impact austerity has had upon domestic abuse services, the context in which domestic abuse occurs and the challenges of individuals acknowledging that they may be the victims of domestic abuse.

Professor Lorraine Radford (UCLan) kick started the afternoon session, with her research investigating the role of partnerships and early intervention for children living with domestic abuse within a seaside town, being presented. Lorraine outlined the work her research team had done with various stakeholders, strategic leads and survivors and the complex nature of trying to establish an effective early intervention partnership.

The final presentation of the day was given by Dr Khatidja Chantler (UCLan) and centred upon research looking domestic homicide reviews and how findings in such reviews can help to enhance knowledge and practice.

Alongside these presentations, parallel workshops occurred, with these workshops enabling delegates to listen to and discuss research and initiatives linked to identifying and supporting victims of domestic abuse.

Dr Christine Barter (UCLan) discussed the commissioning and delivery of violence against women and girls services in the context of austerity, whilst Nicola Farrelly (UCLan) presented her current PhD research which focuses upon protecting children from domestic abuse through the delivery of primary school interventions.

Women’s Aid ran a workshop around the right response to domestic abuse and what it means to adopt a needs-based approach. The challenges of correctly responding to domestic abuse was the theme of the workshop delivered by SafeLives, with Dr. Michelle McManus (Public Health Wales) discussing the implementation of an ACE-informed approach across policing and health in Wales. The impact of children living in refuges was the focus of Dr. Kelly Bracewell’s (UCLan) workshop, with specific focus given to the effect life in a refuge can have upon a child’s education and aspirations.

Throughout the day, passionate and diverse conversations were occurring, with many delegates excited for the next Connect Centre Conference taking place in 2020.

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