We are proud to be led by a group of trustees with wide experience from many fields.
Isabel Boyer became Chair in September 2017. Isabel brings a wealth of experience at Board level in the private, public and charitable sectors, with a particular focus on health including women’s health. She is currently on the Board of the National Institute for Health Research.
Andrew May was Group Finance Director of Monsoon plc, the international retailer, between 1980 and 2003. Thereafter he became a retail consultant, a magistrate and trustee and treasurer of several national charities, specialising in substance abuse. He is currently also a trustee of two social mobility charities: Making the Leap and The Rendezvous in Sherborne.
Uzair Patel is an IB finance professional and chartered accountant with the ICAEW. He was co-creator of the award winning #ThisIsMe mental health campaign launched across the City of London in partnership with the Lord Mayor of London. He was parliamentary researcher to Rt. Hon. John Denham MP in his capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. Uzair sits on the board of King’s College London Students’ Union (KCLSU) and is chair of the audit and risk committee.
Alex Butler has a marketing background, with extensive experience in digital and technology leadership. She led the transformation of the UK Government’s approach to and use of digital technologies. Responsible for the original service proposition for Directgov, the UK Government’s citizen website, she also established and ran a new digital delivery division, the forerunner of the UK’s Government Digital Service.
Cassandra Wiener is founder and trustee at Treebeard Trust, an innovative charitable trust that is particularly active in the social impact space, and which has special interests in domestic abuse and criminal justice. She is also a lawyer, and is currently doing ESRC funded doctoral research at the University of Sussex looking at domestic abuse and the criminal law, with a particular focus on coercive control. Cassandra is a member of the Law Society, the Society of Legal Scholars and the Socio-Legal Studies Association. She is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority and a Trustee of the Association of Post Natal Illness. She publishes and is a frequent public speaker on domestic abuse and the criminal law.
Takki Sulaiman is Assistant Director Communities, Culture and Leisure for a London Borough. His responsibilities include management of a multi-million pound voluntary sector grants and commissioning programme. Prior to this Takki had twenty years’ experience leading the communications function for two high profile local authorities and the family court service (Cafcass). In addition he also co-founded his own AIM listed financial PR company and started his career as a charity fundraiser. From 1998 to 2006 he served as a local authority councillor including four years as cabinet member for social services.
Kelly Rust is Director of Grants and Impact at the London Community Foundation. She is responsible for the oversight and effective management of c1,200 grants per year valued at c£9m into grassroots charities in London. Overt the last 20 years she has worked in small and large charities and social businesses, with over 13 years in senior leadership positions. She has experience working in the fields of criminal justice, substance misuse, mental health/complex needs, women, LGBT+, human rights and community development as a staff member, trustee and consultant.
Bex Spencer is a manager at Social Finance, a non-profit that works to find better ways of tackling social problems by partnering with the government, the social sector and investors. Her work focusses on operational delivery of projects and helping existing interventions to reach scale. She was previously the national project manager to the Drive project, an intervention designed to challenge the behaviour of perpetrators of domestic abuse. More recently she has been working alongside NHS England to drive the national scale up of an intervention supporting people with ill mental health into employment.
Maggie Blyth joined Wiltshire Police in June 2019 as ACC for Local Policing & Specialist Operations; prior to this she was a Superintendent in Hampshire Constabulary having joined in November 2016 after a career as a public sector senior leader, holding roles nationally and locally with responsibility for children’s services, with particular focus on youth justice and child protection. Maggie set up the first County youth offending service in the late 1990s going on to work at the Youth Justice Board for a few years with oversight of youth justice services for England and Wales. Maggie has also a background in safeguarding and public protection working initially in the probation service and then child protection. Prior to joining policing Maggie held roles as Independent Chair of Kent, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Safeguarding Children Boards and a Ministerial appointment with the Parole Board for England and Wales for a decade. She has published several books on children at risk and is particularly interested in how public services work together to protect communities effectively from high risk and high harm crimes.
Ursula Lindenberg is CEO of VOICES, a survivor-founded charity in Bath specialising in domestic abuse recovery and lived-experience consultation. Previously a human rights journalist and editor in London and Vienna, she has worked for the past 15 years as a translator specialising in environmental science and social ecology, and is a Clore Fellow.
Liz Hughes is a Detective Superintendent in Avon and Somerset Constabulary, her responsibilities include leading the response to serious crime and child protection, including the criminal and sexual exploitation of children. She has been a police officer for over twenty years working in many roles and ranks across urban and rural areas. In 2013, Liz worked on a national level with the Home Office and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate to address and improve the policing response to domestic abuse. She supported the national rollout of legislation such as Domestic Violence Protection Orders and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme and was recognised by the College of Policing for her work and commitment.
SafeLives Advisory Group for Scotland
As well as our formal group of Trustees, we also have a Scottish Advisory Group.
Mhairi McGowan is the Head of Service for ASSIST Glasgow, one of SafeLives Leading Lights accredited services and is a member of the Joint Strategic Board of Equally Safe, Scotland's National Strategy for the prevention and eradication of VAWG. She helped set up ASSIST, Scotland's first domestic abuse advocacy service in 2004, which has grown from a small locality project to covering 42% of Scotland's population. Previously, Mhairi spent 10 years in Women's Aid and 22 years in the Civil Service.
Anna Mitchell is the Domestic Abuse Lead in Edinburgh City Council, having worked in a variety of domestic abuse settings and in local and national government operational and strategic roles for more than twenty years. She is also the UK Lead for Safe and Together, and is interested in how child welfare systems engage with fathers who perpetrate domestic abuse in order to increase the safety of women and children.
Helen Hughes is a partner with McAuley McArthy and Co, Paisley and is a specialist in Family Law, with a particular expertise in cases involving domestic abuse. She has practiced in this area of law since 1987 and, when Chair of the Family Law Association, was involved in consultations with the Scottish Government and SLAB on legal aid issues in family law and domestic abuse cases. Helen is editor and co author of Domestic Abuse and Scots Law and an editor of Greens Practice Styles. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Scottish Women's Right Centre and is also a mediator accredited by the Law Society of Scotland. Helen is currently the Chair of CALM (Comprehensive Accredited Lawyers Mediators). Throughout her career she has provided advice and guidance to voluntary organisations, including Renfrewshire Women's Aid. She regularly provides training to solicitors and the public sector on family law, mediation and issues arising in domestic abuse cases and delivers the Civil Law training input for the Idaa training course organised by SafeLives, Scottish Women's Aid and ASSIST.
Girijamba Polubothu is the manager of Shakti Women's Aid in Ediburgh which also has an outreach service in Fife Tayside and Forth Valley in Scotland. She has worked extensively with minority ethnic organisations and has been working with Shakti Women's Aid for the past 19 years. She currently sits on the Scottish Government's Forced Marriage Network Group and has been actively involved in drafting the Forced Marriage etc. (Protection and Jurisdiction) (Scotland) Act 2011, the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill which criminalises forced marriage and Multi agency practice guidelines – handling cases of forced marriage. She is also one of the Forced Marriage Commissioners (National Commission on Forced Marriage). Girijamba an active member of the National No Recourse to Public Funds Campaign Group lead by Southall Black Sisters and is locally involved with various Violence Against Women Partnerships and, Edinburgh's Marac and Cross Party group - Men’s Violence against Women and Children.
Dr Christine Goodall is a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Oral Surgery at The University of Glasgow's School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing. She trained in Academic Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Glasgow and Aberdeen and it was her work with facial trauma patients over many years that led to her founding the charity Medics Against Violence in 2008. Medics against Violence aims to prevent violence and reduce injury. They work in schools to help young people understand the consequences of violence from a health perspective. They also developed and provide training on domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault for health professionals, and others in front facing roles, through their Ask Support Care programme. They work in partnership with the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit to run the hospital based violence intervention programme, Navigator.Christine's research interests lie in the fields of alcohol, violence and facial trauma. She is an Honorary Member of the Faculty of Public Health and was awarded and OBE for her work in violence prevention in 2016.