Training for domestic abuse service managers: FAQs

How much does it cost?
Who can apply?
What is the link between the training and Leading Lights?
Can I attend the service managers training without applying for Leading Lights?
Is the accreditation awarded to the service manager or the service?
What is the time commitment?
What accreditation level is the course?
What are the training requirements?
Who are the course trainers?
How is the course structured? What does it cover?


How much does it cost?

Costs for the accredited training are below. Please be aware we only have a limited number of voluntary service places available. These will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Voluntary service: £550 (limited spaces available)
Statutory service £795

Statutory or voluntary?
Places for those paying the voluntary fee are only available to charities with an annual income of less than £1m. Once the limited voluntary fee places are allocated, we still welcome applications from voluntary and charitable organisations at the standard fee rate.

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Who can apply?

This course is aimed at service managers and lead practitioners (senior level staff or team leaders) working within community based domestic abuse services (eg Idva, Idaa, outreach, floating support etc).

Service manager training is the first step on the road to gaining Leading Lights accreditation. If this is your intention, services are asked to submit an application for the SafeLives Leading Lights programme within a year of training.

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What is the link between the training and Leading Lights?

The course forms the first part of the SafeLives Leading Lights accreditation programme for domestic abuse services. Service managers who pass this course will be able to put their service forward for assessment and accreditation by SafeLives within a twelve month time window, following the course.

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Can I attend the service managers training without applying for Leading Lights?

If you are not considering applying for the SafeLives Leading Lights programme, but still wish to learn how to make your service more effective and sustainable you may still apply for this course.

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Is the accreditation awarded to the service manager or the service?

Accreditation for the service managers training course is a nationally accredited, portable, progression qualification for the individual being trained.

By passing the course, service managers will be able to put their service forward for SafeLives Leading Lights assessment and accreditation within a twelve month timeframe. If successful, the Leading Lights accreditation will belong to the service and is therefore not portable.

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What is the time commitment?

In training room:

  • 2 days service delivery training
  • 1 day workshop: governance and human resources
  • 1 day workshop: service provision

In your own time:

  • The course is assessed through the completion of a service self-assessment against the Leading Lights service standards and the submission of a portfolio of evidence. Please note that this will require a significant commitment of time and this should be considered prior to application.
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What accreditation level is the course?

The course is accredited as OCNLR Level 4 Certificate in Progression (QCF). The number of credits for this is yet to be confirmed.

To achieve OCN accreditation you must have attended the full course and completed the assessment to the required standard.

About the assessment
Your work will be assessed and moderated by both an internal and external moderator.

If there are circumstances which make it difficult for you to meet a deadline, you will be able to contact the lead trainer or training co-ordinator to discuss this. Extensions are considered on a case by case basis.

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What are the training requirements?

To ensure you get the most from your training, we ask that all applicants:

  • attend all training and workshop days
  • understand, speak and write good English in order to understand the training materials and be able to fully participate in classroom exercises and complete assessments
  • complete all compulsory assessment exercises within the timescales agreed
  • use IT skills and have access to a current version of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and the internet (to access the SafeLives online learner centre to submit assessment worksheets online and receive email communications)
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Who are the course trainers?

Kathryn Hinchliff, Leading Lights Programme Lead

The SafeLives Leading Lights Programme Lead is Kathryn Hinchliff who has worked with SafeLives as a coach and assessor for Leading Lights since 2010. Prior to this, Kathryn set up and managed an Idva service, and has worked as an Idva service manager and refuge worker in Norwich.

Kathryn has delivered countywide training across Norfolk including a course specifically for trainee nurses at the University of East Anglia and a domestic abuse awareness course to frontline police officers.


Deborah Cartwright, CEO, Oasis Domestic Abuse Service

Deborah has been in the role as CEO for Oasis Domestic Abuse Service since 2008. Deborah has been responsible for developing the service into an organisation committed to robust systerms and infrastructure. Deborah also established and developed a Leading Lights accredited Idva service which now leads a consortium delivering a Kent-wide Idva service since April 2013.

Deborah has wide experience of both strategic and operational management. She regularly delivers training to agencies within Kent and has recently completed her PG Dip Voluntary Sector Management at CASS Business School. She has been the chair of the Thanet domestic abuse forum for a number of years and a trustee of Kent Union since July 2013 with special responsibility for governance and appointments.


Sara Acton, domestic abuse consultant and trainer

Sara began her career in the domestic abuse sector working with the London based domestic violence charity Advance. She has since worked as an Idva, lead Idva, and Idva service manager. As a domestic violence coordinator for Brent Council Sara led the domestic abuse agenda, developing the strategic direction of the partnership and best practice amongst professionals.

Sara has worked with, and trained a wide range of professionals within both the statutory and voluntary sectors, including; the police, housing providers, social care, education and the health sector. Sara has worked as an associate trainer with SafeLives since 2012.


Zoë Jackson, Operations Manager, Aurora New Dawn

Zoë is one of the founding members of Aurora New Dawn, a domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking advocacy service based in the south of England, and has been in post as Operations Manager since the service’s inception in 2011. Zoe has worked in the sector for over 10 years, starting her career working frontline with victims of domestic abuse as a SafeLives-accredited Idva and managing the Idva/Isva team at Portsmouth City Council before moving to Aurora.

Zoë has overseen Aurora’s operational growth from a new service with just 4 members of staff to a Leading Light service with 11 members of staff in just 4 years. She sits on the Wessex CPS Violence Against Women and Girls scrutiny panel, and is currently studying for an MSc at the University of Portsmouth, with a focus on the identification and management of serial perpetrators of domestic abuse. 

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How is the course structured? What does it cover?

Learners are encouraged to be open and honest about the challenges they have faced in implementing changes to practice and policy. They are supported to work together to explore solutions and share best practice.

Day 1

Governance and leadership

  • Engaging and motivating the board
  • Governance and leadership theory
  • Managing organisational risks
  • Strategic and operational planning.


  • Engaging with the commissioning cycle
  • Working in partnership/consortia building
  • Fundraising
  • Outcomes monitoring

Day 2

Support and supervision

  • Supervision theory
  • Supporting frontline staff
  • Types of supervision
  • Vicarious trauma

Case management

  • Case management from intake to closure
  • Auditing case files
  • Conducting case reviews

Preparing for days 3 and 4

Learners will:

  • Conduct a case file review on 5 files using the audit tool (provided on day 2)
  • Prepare a 10 minute presentation on an agreed topic, identifying actions needed to
  • Begin to complete the self-assessment process for their service against the Leading Lights standards.
  • Attend a Marac (or other appropriate multi-agency meeting) and conduct a review of the meeting which identifies strengths and areas for improvement

Day 3

Learners give their presentations, followed by a group discussion.

Day 4

Group discussion of self-assessment. This will be followed by an exploration of multi-agency working, including the development of local referral pathways and improving the co-ordinated community response.

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