Kathy Ridgway joined the Police in 2007 as an Immediate Response Officer. In that role her interest in domestic abuse developed, and she contacted her local domestic abuse service - Fylde Coast Women's Aid - and spent a day shadowing one of their Idvas. In 2015 she applied for an Idva role, and has been at FCWA ever since. Kathy has completed SafeLives Idva and Isva training, and has recently attended our Responding to Older People course. She was also involved in a pilot which led to funding for a Health Idva at the local hospital.
What made you decide to work with people experiencing domestic abuse?
Working in the Police I realised I had an interest in domestic abuse. I would be the first one to shout up for the jobs that came in and would always spend longer than I should have done with the victims, offering them support and advice. I became frustrated not being able to do more and it was during this time that I started to research what other roles were out there. When I found out about the Idva role I knew this was something I wanted to do. I've now been in the role for three years, and my passion has grown and I get great satisfaction from empowering the women that I work with.
What keeps you going when the work gets tough?
I am lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful team of likeminded women who all have a wealth of experience, and be supported by an amazing management team. In our organisation we have the flexibility to be able to tailor our support to the woman’s needs, so I can feel like I am really making a difference. Things can get stressful but I thrive on the varied work and helping women when they are in crisis.
What are you most proud of so far?
I am really proud of being part of such a fantastic organisation that supports so many women, men and children. We regularly get calls for advice from other professionals, and I pride myself on building up good working relationships with other agencies so I can get the best results for my clients.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering this career, what would it be?
At times it can be very stressful and frustrating, however the good points far outweigh the bad. The feeling of supporting someone to safety and seeing them grow in confidence gives you such job satisfaction. If you are thinking about doing it I would say go for it! Becoming an Idva is the best thing I have done in my career so far.
Kathy's colleague Sarah said: 'Kathy is an excellent Idva and an asset to our organisation. Kathy came to the organisation on a career break from the Police as she wanted to concentrate on working with victims and survivors. As such she has an excellent understanding of the criminal justice system and isn’t afraid to challenge when needed. Kathy goes above and beyond for all of her clients and is an inspiration to many.'
Do you know a professional who has gone above and beyond to change the response to domestic abuse and keep survivors and their families safe? Nominate someone for Star of the Month by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Star of the Month’ as the subject line