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I’ve been out and about in the last few weeks. From the metropolitan hubs of Scotland to the south coast of England, I have been meeting independent domestic violence advisors (Idvas), their Scottish equivalents (Idaas), and service managers. I wanted to find out what was working, what people were finding difficult, and how we at SafeLives can help. Dozens of patient people have heard me ask “absent a big bag of cash, what would make things better?”. I've been surprised by the answer on several occasions. 

One of the things Idvas do brilliantly is bang the table. They know the risks faced by a victim and they will not let go of an issue until it has been resolved. They hold others to account, constantly insisting they do better. When I asked what would make things better, I expected to hear a litany of complaints about statutory agencies. It's certainly true that some of the comments I heard about statutory services made me worried and angry. But I also heard a lot about changes needed in our own sector. 

What impressed me the most about the people I met was how much appetite they had for new information, and for change. Not just change to the criminal justice system, or a culture that still allows domestic violence to happen, but change within our sector. They wanted to know what was new in other parts of the country, how other services were innovating to make a difference, and how traditional models could be adapted to keep up with the pace of change in the world. Doing a role that requires them to challenge other organisations, they also wanted to challenge their own, and keep improving.

We recently ran a training course for service managers. And here’s what some of the learners said:

The training has taken me on a journey of self-discovery, not all of which has been easy to accept. It has given me a real focus again and renewed my enthusiasm, and for that I am grateful.

I have learned a lot about the running of a company, issues with staff, case management, tendering. Most of all I bring out of this training improved knowledge of my own capabilities and possibilities.

I was bowled over by their willingness to question their own style, behaviour and performance - as one person says, it's not a particularly easy or comfortable thing to do. How fabulous that we have people so proud of their jobs, so committed to their work, that they're this determined to keep learning and keep doing better. 

So if you’re feeling inspired, why not have a look at our training offer?