Posts tagged ‘Leading Lights’

July 22, 2012

Leading Lights Lunch – 2

About six months ago, we held the first working lunch for the managers of the Leading Lights accredited IDVA services.  It was an experiment based on your feedback, that it would be a good idea to bring service managers together, to share their experiences, hear about each other’s plans, and feed in to shaping CAADA’s plans.  I wrote at the time about how energising and uplifting it was to be in the same room with a group of such committed and competent people.  Everyone agreed that we had all benefited from the time together and that we should meet again in 6 months.

So this week, we had LL2 – the sequel….and it was as good, if not better than LL1.  There were four official things on the agenda – an update from CAADA (including an introduction to our new Director of Services, Christine Christie), contributions from two of the managers present, and an outside speaker to give us all a better picture of how the Police and Crime Commissioners will work in practice.  There were lots of contributions from all who attended.

Christine focused mainly on the launch of the revised MARAC programme (see my last post for more on this) and I talked a bit about some of the policy work that we are involved with.  I also mentioned our National Dataset report which will be launched in the autumn, and will include information from the Insights data that we collect.  We are really hopeful that this will have some strong policy and practice messages which will be relevant to practitioners, managers, and of course commissioners.  We also discussed the new Ofsted consultation about multi agency inspections of Safeguarding arrangements, which includes a proposal that the MARAC should be inspected.  I will write more about this in a future post, but suffice to say that in combination with the Domestic Homicide Reviews, we believe that this represents a helpful and important lever to help ensure that the quality of MARAC work is as high as possible.

Becky Rogerson, Director of My Sister’s Place in Middlesbrough ( ) gave us a fascinating presentation about her trip around North, Central and South America as part of her research as a Winston Churchill fellow.  You can read the whole report here  Personally, my ability to take in the whole thing was slightly hampered by my jealousy at having such a great opportunity!  It was really interesting to hear about the differences in approach both between individual States, the role of the IDVA (or equivalent), the availability of perpetrator work and the simply the amount of resource in the US compared to the UK.  We have a way to go.  Conversely of course, central and south America highlighted a complete lack of resource in every sense and quite different relationships with the police and courts.  Absence of electricity, cars and perhaps most importantly trust, acted as a big barrier to getting help.  However, Becky did highlight the strength of more grass roots women’s initiatives which perhaps we have lost in some ways.

Caitlyn McCarthy, who manages learning and development at the Worth Project in West Sussex talked about the important work that she has led in relation to two projects.  The first is the 2020 Think Tank (see ) which has been a two year project to set the vision, strategy and action plan for domestic and sexual violence services for West Sussex.  Caitlyn talked about the time it had taken to get everyone’s buy in to the importance of setting a common set of goals and objectives – but by now there are literally hundreds of signatories for all agencies across the county and the project has uncovered both new approaches, and the existence of more resources to support victims of both forms of abuse – both adults and children.  It was instructive since so many of us are struggling to get domestic abuse given the importance it warrants in local strategies.

Caitlyn also talked about the new questions we have been working on to use with mothers to establish any additional needs of their children which some of her colleagues have been piloting.  The aim of this is to be used across disciplines (DV, mental health, substance misuse) as an early identification tool to highlight children at risk of harm.  The reality is that asking these questions is time consuming and practitioners need to be very clear about who the support agencies are in their area to whom they can make referrals for the children before starting.  However, the feedback overall was that almost all the mothers in the initial small sample welcomed being asked and felt that it cemented their relationship with their IDVA, as well as identifying a group of children who were getting no support and who needed it.  We hope to pilot this formally but would like to make sure we capture the information in a robust way – so just need time to think that bit through.

Finally, Linda Pizani-Williams from CLINKS came and spoke about the role of the Police and Crime Commissioners.  They will obviously be very important for all of us going forward and she set out clearly the extent of their remit and gave resources which you can find at

So a real mixture of inputs.  I think I am fair in saying that just as valuable as the formal parts of the meeting, are the informal ones and the networking between everyone.  To all of you, especially our speakers and those of you how crossed half the country to be there, thank you.

June 1, 2012

Belated Congratulations to WRSAC for GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT award

I am probably the last to have heard, but just in case I felt it was worth celebrating the success of WRSAC (Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Cornwall) in beating over 350 other contestants to win the GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT award for their pioneering work supporting women experiencing domestic and sexual abuse in hospitals.  Readers of this blog will know that we are really focusing on building support for victims of domestic abuse in a hospital setting so it is fantastic to see the recognition of WRSAC’s work in such a prestigious way. WRSAC has a hospital based IDVA service and has helped to introduce routine enquiry so that many more victims of domestic abuse are identified.  We are really proud to say that WRSAC is a Leading Lights accredited service.

Let’s hope that this prize brings more focus by health commissioners on the value of such services so that one day we will see them all across the country.  Congratulations to the pioneers in Cornwall!

January 26, 2012

Why I love my job…

There are good days, bad days and days when you remember what a great job you have.  Yesterday was one of the latter.  I was delighted to host the first semi annual meeting of the managers of the accredited Leading Lights IDVA services.  I was slightly anxious beforehand as I wasn’t too sure how it would go.  I shouldn’t have worried.

I spent two of the most energising hours of the year with about a dozen service managers, hearing what they had achieved, how they were dealing with the current environment and a bit about their plans for the future.  I talked briefly (well as briefly as I could manage) about CAADA’s strategy and how we hope to achieve our 5 year goals of halving the number of high risk victims from 100,000 to 50,000 and halving the time it takes for them to get help from 5 years to 2.5 years – with all that this means for the safety and well-being of their children.  We then heard from Advance about their approach to working with commissioners.  They have recently been successful in expanding their IDVA service from Hammersmith and Fulham and Brent, to Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.  Finally, we had a fascinating discussion about the work that Blackpool Advocacy are doing with children and young people affected by domestic abuse, funded through Comic Relief.  This is obviously particularly relevant in view of the Government’s consultation about dropping the age of domestic abuse to 16.

Our plan is to meet again in six months, give ourselves a longer time to discuss things and perhaps invite in an outside speaker – as well as welcoming the newly accredited services to the party!  I know that everyone knows this – but the dedication and creativity of the people around the table was outstanding – so I will say it one more time.  And it is one reason why I love my job….

November 23, 2011

More Congratulations to New Leading Lights Domestic Abuse Services!

It is great to announce another seven IDVA services have achieved their Leading Lights accreditation bringing the total nationally to 19 accredited services!  They deserve many congratulations.  The seven are: West Cheshire DAFSU, East Cheshire DAFSU, My Sister’s Place, West Mercia WA, The Pontypridd Safety Unit, The Sunflower Centre Northampton, and the Wirral Family Safety Unit.  I hope to be writing a bit about each one to give a sense of the quality and creativity of their work.  So more to follow…

July 26, 2011

Congratulations to new Leading Lights Services

Three more services have successfully achieved Leading Lights status. They are Nia and Evolve (part of Solace Women’s Aid) in London and Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid ‘B’ Division. Achieving this accreditation requires real commitment and hard work but we hope results in a consistent and high quality response to victims of domestic abuse. The coaching and support that precedes the formal accreditation gives service managers a chance to step back from the day to day and reflect with a small group of other managers how best to develop and reinforce their organizations. We are proud that there are now 12 Leading Lights services with over 20 more at various stages of the process.

Our next focus is to work with commissioners to ensure that they understand the importance of commissioning to a clear set of standards.

May 30, 2011

Welcome to the new Leading Lights Services – Sheffield, Kent, Cardiff, Leicestershire and Southampton

We are really delighted that a further 5 specialist domestic abuse services have signed up for our coaching and accreditation programme – Leading Lights.  They are:

  • Vida in Sheffield
  • Cardiff Women’s Aid
  • Oasis Domestic Abuse Services in Kent
  • Women’s Aid Leicestershire
  • Southampton IDVA Service

They join 9 fully accredited services and about 30 others who are currently going through the programme. The CAADA Leading Lights programme recognises safe and consistent practice among IDVA services. The accreditation programme, which is based upon practical and effective policies and processes, offers a clear path towards consistent standards of care across the IDVA sector and has now been adopted by several commissioners around the country.  We are delighted about this as we believe that the Leading Lights framework represents a sound and high quality basis for commissioning.