Policy blog

A Cup of tea with: David Evans, Training Co-ordinator

Ruth Davies is the Communications Officer at SafeLives. In this series she'll interview a different team member every month – over a nice cup of tea.

David Evans is a Training Co-ordinator at SafeLives.

Ruth: Hi Dave, could you start by telling me a bit about how you came to work for SafeLives?

Dave: I was working as a recruitment consultant and then I saw the light! It’s a good career for some people, but I wanted to do something that put more of a priority on social good. So I left that job and started doing some temp work, and that’s how I came across SafeLives. I initially joined what’s now known as the Knowledge Hub, and when that contract came to an end I applied for a permanent position with the Learning and Accreditation Programme (LAP) team, which is where I am now.

And what does your role in LAP involve?

Well I’m a training co-ordinator, and I mainly look after the Foundation level Idva training programme. So it’s our national training programme for people who are working as Idvas, and it gives them a recognised qualification. We have two ‘semesters’ of training each year – Autumn and Spring – and I just make sure it all runs smoothly. So it’s making sure that all the learners are attending the course and completing their work, and that the trainers have got everything they need to do a great job.

What do you think is the most exciting thing that your team is doing at the moment?

We’ve got several different training programmes and they’re all really valuable to the sector, but for me the one that stands out at the moment is the Domestic Abuse Matters programme. It’s a really fantastic programme set up to support police forces in dealing with domestic abuse. It’s for first responders – so anyone in the police who comes into contact with someone experiencing domestic abuse – as well as others at different levels in the force. It’s had a really great start over the last year or so, and I think it’s going to have a real impact.

What would you say is your favourite part of the job?

I think my favourite thing is when we’re reminded of the bigger picture. We can get locked into the operational nitty gritty when we’ve got lots of courses running and we have deadlines to hit, but it’s stepping back and looking at how many Idvas we’ve trained, the effect it’s had on their clients, and the bigger picture of how we’re helping to end domestic abuse. It’s very easy to feel good about what we do, even when we have frustrating or difficult days.

Lovely. And is there a moment that stands out to you as a particular highlight of your time at SafeLives so far?

I received a card from a learner once which was lovely – I still have it. We find with some of the learners that they can have quite challenging personal lives as well as work lives, and we supported this person at a difficult time which she obviously really appreciated. Realising that just with a simple act on our part we’d helped out this person and had an impact on them was really nice, so that meant quite a lot to me.

You can find out about all of our courses by visiting our training pages

Same, same but different: the Kylle Godfrey case

The Kylle Godfrey case makes horrendous reading. Another example of a domestic abuse perpetrator who committed terrible and persistent abuse against not just one but two victims. Another example of a perpetrator who ignored the criminal justice system, harassing his partner after being arrested and assaulting a new partner while on bail. Another example of someone who has an established pattern of abusive behaviour in several relationships. Someone who needs to be managed effectively and who needs to be held to account.

And this is where this case is different.

Kylle Godfrey is not one of the 99% of perpetrators who receive neither a criminal sanction or a behaviour change programme. The police in Hackney appear to have done a really good job in securing not just the evidence for him to receive a 3 year prison sentence, but to use a Criminal Behaviour Order – for the first time in a domestic abuse case. This order, which lasts for 7 years, will require Godfrey to inform the police within 15 days of being in a new relationship – offering the chance of securing safety for a new partner, and making it easier for the police to keep the focus on him and his behaviour. 

At SafeLives we will keep asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ and doing everything we can to make this happen, working together with the police and other agencies. This case opens the way to offering victims of domestic abuse greater hope of being able to stay safe in their homes – so we can all stop asking ‘why doesn’t she leave?’


A cup of tea with: Deidre Cartwright, Knowledge Hub Advisor

Ruth Davies is the Communications Officer at SafeLives. In this series she'll interview a different team member every month – over a nice cup of tea.

Deidre Cartwright is an Advisor in the SafeLives Knowledge Hub.

Ruth: Hi Deidre. Could you start by telling me a bit about your background?

Deidre: So my background is working as a frontline domestic abuse practitioner. I started out quite a while ago working on the National Domestic Violence Helpline as a volunteer, and then I went into working as a domestic abuse caseworker in Barking and Dagenham. Then I became an Idva, and spent a number of years working as an Idva in different contexts – so in court, in hospital, places like that. After that I became an Idva manager, and then I came to work at SafeLives which kind of brought together all my frontline experience.

And what are you working on at the moment? 

The main thing I’ve been working on is Spotlights, and we’re just in the middle of our Spotlight on young people, which has been really great. I’ve had opportunities to go out and meet young people, their parents, the practitioners who are working with them, finding out what they’re doing and what they think needs to be done, helping to get their voices out there. And then we’re going to start working on the next Spotlight soon, on another ‘hidden’ group’s experiences.

And what are you most excited about in terms of what’s coming up?

Well I’m excited about the Spotlights and everything we’re learning from them, but I’m also excited about the things we’re doing around health, and how we’re going to move forward from the Cry for Health report to get more Idvas in hospitals. That’s my background – working as a hospital based Idva – and I’m really passionate about it, I think it really reaches a group of victims that aren’t otherwise getting support so I’m really excited to be a part of it.

Finally, are there any moments in your time with SafeLives so far that really stand out to you as a highlight?

The Cry for Health launch was really great because it was lots of people coming together who were all on the same page, and all wanted to do something about this issue. It was watching the launch, but also watching people talking afterwards about how they were going to come together to try and create change… I’ve always been a frontline worker on the ground, trying to make things happen but without having the influence, so it was really great to see that strategic stuff happening.

The other highlights for me have been talking to survivors. Meeting the Deaf survivors I spoke to last year, hearing their stories and their perspective was really enlightening for me. And then talking to young people for this Spotlight, going into their homes and having conversations with them was really quite powerful. It also gave me a new perspective; not being their Idva allowed me to take more of an observer role rather than intervention. So I think working with survivors has been a real highlight for me.

Bold For Change: Skye Binning's Boxing Challenge

Today is International Women's Day and the theme is #BeBoldForChange. Natalie Grant, Senior Communications Officer at SafeLives talks to Skye Binning about her boxing fundraising challenge that's taking place on Wednesday 15th March. 

Hi Skye. It's great to hear about your boxing challenge. How are you finding the training?

This has been one of the toughest emotional and physical challenges I have ever set myself but by far one of the most rewarding. It's an amazing way of harnessing pain and anger and releasing it with positive effects on all fronts. I will definitely continue after my fight. 

What's your motivation for this challenge and why did you decide to fundraise for SafeLives?

In 2008 I experienced first hand the impact that violence, emotional and physical abuse, abduction and rape have on a person's life. It has been an ongoing battle ever since but I think the work SafeLives do on the domestic abuse front, but also in other areas, is so important in allowing survivors the opportunity to move on with their lives safely, supported and with hope. 

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #BeBoldForChange. What does this mean to you? 

For a long time I suffered in silence with massive consequences. By speaking up about my experiences and fighting for this cause (quite literally) I hope others who are scared of talking about their experiences might be able to find the courage to speak up too. If being bold helps even bring about that change for one person - amazing!

To find out more about Skye's challenge and to support her please visit her JustGiving page.

It's time to be bold: how can we use tech in the fight against domestic abuse?

In July 2015, Emma Murphy posted a video of herself on Facebook after she'd been beaten by her abusive boyfriend. Today, it has been viewed 10 million times with 23,000 comments. Many of these comments come from women who want to share their own stories; intimate experiences across geographical boundaries. Their connection is that they know what it's like to live in fear of a partner or ex-partner. They know what it’s like to experience domestic abuse.   

We hear frequently that the internet is a scary place. Every week, we read stories of trolling, revenge porn, online bullying and harassment. This abuse is not new, perpetrators simply have more tools at their fingertips. But if they have new ways of inflicting fear, we must have new ways of overcoming it.   

Digital technology is an undervalued resource in our fight against domestic abuse. The internet and social media remain confusing places for survivors and the services set up to help them. Who has actually read Facebook’s privacy policy, or kept up to date with the numerous changes about how our data is shared? Who understands what the implications are when we use our Google account to login to another website, or sync our devices?    

And so, instead of developing the knowledge we need, all too often we tell women to simply ‘leave’. Survivors of domestic abuse, who may already feel isolated from friends and family, are told by well meaning police officers or others trying to support them to ‘get off Facebook’ or ‘delete Instagram’. This is the digital equivalent of doing what we’ve always done: telling women to ‘just leave’, putting the onus on them to change their lives and uproot themselves from networks and communities. This seems preferable or easier somehow to dealing with the person actually causing the problem – the perpetrator. It also invests the internet with a fear factor, though the internet has no more inherent danger in it than a home – it's the people who inhabit it who determine how safe or otherwise it feels and is.  

If we ask women to abandon membership of their online communities we're taking them out of the world. The average person in the UK checks their phone around 150 times a day. We can’t end domestic abuse by hiding women away: on or offline.     

Instead, the internet needs to be harnessed for good, as a safe way to provide the connections and resources needed to be independent, connected and informed. What would you want for your best friend? What would you want for yourself?  

We recently carried out a major piece of research (funded by Comic Relief, in partnership with We Are Snook and Chayn) and found that survivors find it hard to locate quickly enough the information they need – to identify their partner's behaviour as abuse, and to find out what their rights and options are. This is the stuff that ensures women can make their own decisions and take back control, but we've hidden it in a maze of individual agency websites built for our own organisations' purposes. We need to radically rethink and improve how we deliver information. Whether or not the site carries our particular branding should be completely irrelevant.   

Tech can also be used to help protect victims and hold perpetrators to account. When it isn't safe to store physical evidence or attend in-person appointments on a given day, how can we use the cloud to store evidence away from our devices, or use single click technology to get a police officer to the door in minutes?     

We want survivors to be able to connect to others who have gone through similar experiences. The internet can be a sanctuary, to talk to others and know that it can and does happen to anyone, help is available and life can be better. As a SafeLives Pioneer survivor said 'there's an army of us out here, and we want our voices heard.'  

We know 9 out 10 professionals see tech as part of the solution. So the next step is to get support to pair up specialist tech for good organisations with frontline professionals, to increase confidence and knowledge so that we can turn tech to our advantage. 

The days of conferences in dusty halls aren't gone, but if we rely on them forever we'll only ever support a fraction of the people we can reach online.  

We don't have all the answers. However, in undertaking this research and building tech solutions to connect, we have started to play our part in exploring how digital can help end domestic abuse for women today and tomorrow. As a sector, we are behind the times. Perpetrators have worked out how to use technology to inflict fear. It's time to fight back.