Archive for February 27th, 2013

February 27, 2013

What a day! #CAADAconf

Just winding down after the CAADA National Conference that we held in London today which I felt was a great success thanks to some terrific speakers, workshop leaders and a really engaged audience.  We focused in particular on young people experiencing different forms of abuse and were very pleased to be able to announce our new Young People’s Violence Advocacy Programme (yes, as usual we have managed to create an accurate albeit long winded name of one of our programmes!), which will be funded by the Dept for Education.   More on that in future posts!

The morning featured our key note speaker, Prof Jenny Pearce from the University of Bedfordshire who spoke with extraordinary insight and compassion about the experiences of young people – particularly in relation to sexual abuse, but also more widely in relation to gang violence, domestic abuse and wider forms of violence.  She really brought alive the reality for many young people and the extent to which they are often failed by statutory services today.  She invited us all to think through how we can try and change this and urged us to ensure that we listen to young people as we do this.  You can find out more about her work and her publications at 

Jenny was followed by the courageous parents of Carly Fairhurst who was murdered by her boyfriend when she was just 19.  I can’t begin to capture the power of their words – suffice to say that there was not a dry eye in the room.  As one of the members of the audience said, their words re-energised us all and reminded us why we do this work.

In the afternoon we had real insights from Robert McCulloch-Graham, seconded from his role as Director of Children’s Services in Barnet to the Troubled Families Unit.  He focused on the value of partnership working, MARAC and the need for dedicated lead workers for families – with the clear impact this has on outcomes.  No surprise perhaps to the audience – but he confirmed that almost all the families who are getting support via the Troubled Families programme have had domestic abuse as a feature at some point.

As if we had not had enough to get us all thinking, the terrific Certain Curtain theatre company did a production of their beautiful play, Mocking Bird High.  Tracing the impact of domestic abuse on two teenage children and their mother, they really touched the audience.  Everyone was transfixed.

We had great workshops on homicide reviews, perpetrator work, substance use, HBV, stalking and working with children living with domestic abuse.  I hope all who attended enjoyed it as much as I did.  It almost feels like we should get going on the next one….