Lorraine’s background was in Nursing and she qualified in 1987. She spent the latter part of her nursing career in Palliative Care, before moving into the domestic abuse field with Women’s Aid in 2001. Lorraine started initially with Hamilton and Clydesdale Women’s Aid as a Refuge Worker in the Clydesdale area of South Lanarkshire. When the opportunity arose to start the Outreach Service nine years ago, she was delighted to be able to take women’s services in to the community.
What made you decide to work with people experiencing domestic abuse?
I had witnessed some of the ways domestic abuse affected women and children through my career in nursing. I wanted to understand more about the dynamics of domestic abuse and the tactics used by perpetrators and use this to support women and children more effectively.
What keeps you going when the work gets tough?
My family are so important to me and they are all very supportive. My dog, Buddy, takes me for long walks and that gives me the headspace I need when it all gets too much. My team are amazing and we are a great support to each other every day.
What is the biggest challenge and the biggest reward as an Outreach Team Manager?
COVID-19 has been a huge challenge to the service. When I started all those years ago, I never imagined facing a pandemic and trying to continue to deliver services to women under such difficult circumstances. We have been creative in our responses to our service users and have continued to provide the support they have needed throughout this very uncertain time.
The greatest rewards for me are to see my team achieve the best outcomes for the women they support. They work tirelessly every day to provide support to women experiencing domestic abuse and their dedication and commitment to this service is inspirational, they are the true Stars of the month.
What are you most proud of so far?
I am so proud of my family and all that they have achieved and I am very proud of the Outreach Service that we have grown and developed together from a small seed to the great oak we have today.
We have all been trained as Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates with SafeLives and work closely with our partner agencies within MARAC and DSDAS (Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland). This has created more opportunities for us to keep women and children safe and reduce the risk of significant harm that women are exposed to every day.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering this career, what would it be?
Be a team player, this work is not easy, it is rewarding but never easy and there are days when it takes all your strength to support women through some very dark periods, it is at times like this that a strong team can carry you through anything.
Lorraine’s colleague said “She is continually adapting and changing the service to support victims of domestic abuse and utilising the staff and their skills to deliver tailored services to support all areas of positive change for the women we support. Additionally she had been a great support to her team of 11 women and all other staff in the organisation during this difficult time.”
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.