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Think Tank 11: Safety In Focus (Wed 12th Oct 2012, Vicar’s Hall, Chichester)

Today we focused on the issue of safety. We started the morning looking at the 'Beyond Violence' report and focusing on its recommendations on the way forward for refuges.

The report argues that refuges have out-grown their original function - to provide short-time respite and a place of safety - and these days can remain a family's temporary home for up to two years. It argues that within this time much therapeutic and recovery work can take place for the family but due to the limiting discourse that underpins most refuges - ie. the power and control model of domestic abuse -opportunities to address the mental health of victims and their children and stop the cycle of abuse are often missed.

Adopting a broader range.

The report argues that if a broader typology of domestic abuse is adopted, a wider range of solutions will present themselves. Likewise, refuges could adapt to become places of real safety and healing. As a group, we then envisioned our ideal 'safe space' for families affected by domestic abuse and came up with some inspiring and practical ideas (see the PDFs attached for our outcomes).

Terry Braim, the County Risk Assessment Specialist ..

After the break, we heard from Terry Braim, the County Risk Assessment Specialist. In all other areas of risk assessment for people involved in domestic abuse - the risk is carried out by separate practioners. So, IDVAs and others will carry out the DASHH Risk Indicator Checklist for victims whilst Probation and Social Care will use SARA and OASys to assess the risk posed by the perpetrator. The Countywide Risk Assessment Team are in the unique position in the County in that they carry out a risk assessment on both the victim and perpetrator (separately but by the same practitioner) to arrive at a more nuanced and informed picture of the risk to inform Social Care's decisions about S17 and S47 cases. By understanding the dynamics of the family as a whole - instead of in silos - the County Risk Assessment team are able to provide a fuller understanding of what decision will provide the child with the most protection.

Last in the series

This was the last in this series of the Think Tanks. The Think Tank Conference on Wed 12th Dec 2012 (County Hall North) will present the outcomes and results of this exciting and engaging multi-agency endeavour. Due to the popularity and high demand of the Think Tanks, they will be continuing bi-annually at venues across West Sussex from June 2013. Details of the future Think Tanks will be uploaded onto the website, posted on Facebook and sent out to our distribution list. Thank you for your input, enthusiasm and interest.

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 10: Beyond Power & Control (Wed 12th Sept 2012, Field Place, Durrington)

We kick started the morning by asking everyone to score from 1-5 (1=Strongly Disagree and 5= Strongly Agree) the following statements. The average score from the groups’ responses follows the statement:

Until we start to deal with the issue of how to treat people who abuse, we are not effectively dealing with issue of domestic violence.
Average Score=4.7
Perpetrators of abuse can change their behaviour.
Average Score=3.9
Whilst people who abuse are always responsible for their behaviour, in some instances violent behaviour has been learnt from childhood.
Average Score=4.7
In some instances, violent behaviour is not about power and control over another - but about badly managed anger.
Average Score=4
The 'one size fits all' model is not useful. There needs to be a wider variety of approaches to address abusive behaviour.
Average Score=4.6

Caitlyn McCarthy, Think Tank Co-ordinator, introduced the topic of the morning.

She gave an historic overview of the domestic violence field and its roots in the feminist movement. Due to these roots, she explained that developments in the field have been underpinned by the Power & Control model which was adopted from Duluth, Minnesota. This model argues that domestic abuse is primarily a crime acted by men against women in order to maintain their power & control in a patriarchal society.

Caitlyn went on to argue that, whilst this approach has been instrumental in bringing the issue into public consciousness and has been hugely successful in getting the subject onto the government agenda, it now has its limitations in providing effective solutions.

Caitlyn then went on to outline the main arguments made in a new report from the Centre for Social Justice

Beyond Violence: Breaking Cycles of Domestic Abuse. This report argues that a radical shift in paradigm needs to be made before we find any lasting societal change around this issue.

One shift it recommends is a move away from the limiting perspective of the Duluth model towards a more far-reaching typography of domestic abuse. The report argues that other drivers apart from power and control need to be identified and named so other solutions can be explored. For example, it argues that domestic abuse could also be a result of poorly expressed anger, substance misuse, poor mental health, situational couple violence as well as separation-instigated violence caused by trauma of separation.


Everyone in the group was handed a card with the following statement written on it. They were offered the opportunity to post the card into a ‘ballot box’ to show their support for broadening out the definition of domestic abuse in West Sussex.

94% of the delegates posted their card into the box.

In the coffee break, people were asked to ensure their service was represented on the ‘Mapping of Services’ and asked to sign up to the 7 priorities that have been identified throughout the Think Tank process.After the break, we heard from Christine Marsh, Professional Development Manager at Surrey & Sussex Probation Trust. Christine outlined the limitations of IDAP (Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme), which is underpinned by the Duluth model, for many perpetrators that Probation deals with. Whilst this model will be used for certain offenders, she talked of the new direction NOMS (National Offender Management Service) are taking this work. NOMS have recently accredited the ‘Building Better Relationships’ programme which uses a strengths-based approach which West Sussex will be implementing imminently.

At the end of the morning, we asked the groups to discuss two cases studies (see below) and note down what the drivers of the behaviour were and what were the best solutions to stopping this behaviour (see outputs attached).

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 9: Teen Dating Violence & Sexual Exploitation (Wed 18th July, County Hall North)

For the ninth Think Tank we focused on a much neglected area of concern: Teen dating violence and the associated sexual exploitation.

Caitlyn McCarthy introduced the day by clarifying the scope of the morning. West Sussex LSCB has child sexual exploitation as a key priority in their business plan for 2012-13. Child sexual exploitation encompasses a broad range of exploitative activities from seemingly consensual relationships of young people and informal exchange of sex for favours through to more organised criminal activity. For the purposes of this morning, we solely focused on the intimate partner violence of young people and the associated sexual abuse.

Little research has been carried out in the UK on this topic apart from ‘Partner exploitation and violence in teenage intimate relationships’ (NSPCC 2009); a groundbreaking piece of research conducted by Christine Barter from the University of Bristol. Caitlyn McCarthy handed out questions on the prevalence of intimate partner violence in young people from this report and asked tables to guess at the answers.

A few of these statistics:
25% of girls reported some form of physical partner violence.
72% of girls reported some form of emotional abuse
1 in 6 experienced some form of severe emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
31% of girls reported some form of sexual partner abuse.

First to the stage was Sue Jago, Research Fellow from University of Bedfordshire.

Sue talked to us about her report What’s going on to Safeguard children & young people from sexual exploitation?. Sue Jago argues that teen dating violence needs to be reframes as child abuse in order to provide the appropriate services to support this group of vulnerable youths. Look at Sue’s presentation below. After the break, we heard from two West Sussex initiatives that are tackling this issue.

We were delighted to then introduce Joy Jenkins, Worthing Women's Aid

Joy spoke to us about the Meaningful Relationships Programme. This is an adaptation of the Freedom Programme directed at young people. This programme has been successfully delivered to cared-for children and evaluated very well. WWA hope to deliver this programme into schools in West Sussex.

Following Graham was Caroline Adams , Youth Intervention Officer from Sussex Police

Lastly, we heard from Caroline Adams. Caroline started by showing us a compelling rape prevention DVD made by Sussex Police entitled Rape: Short word, Long Sentence. The DVD follows a group of young girls as they get ready to go out and follows their different experiences as they get together with boys. It brings into question the issue of consent and makes the point that young girls need to be aware of the risks on a night out. Caroline then talked us through the roll out of the DVD to all the schools in West Sussex.

The morning ended with the usual group work where tables were asked to think about how domestic abuse/ youth services may need to adapt to accommodate this client group. See the output from this day below.

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 8: Listening to the Voice of Experience (Wed 23rd May, Martlets Hall, Burgess Hill)

At this Think Tank we looked to the wider community to teach us how best to develop services for people affected by domestic abuse.

To kick the morning off Caitlyn McCarthy gave an overview of what we have achieved through the Think Tank to date. Namely:

7 Key Priorities
Endorsed by nearly 600 signatories
250 people have taken part in Think Tanks
Over 100 agencies represented from all sectors
Over 60 people registered on our Think Tank on-line community

We then heard about SUN (Service User Network).

SUN was launched in November 2011 with a small but committed and dynamic group of service users. Dr Pat Rouse, the senior social researcher involved with the group, talked about the current research that informed the approach taken with the West Sussex SUN. Caitlyn McCarthy then went on to outline the themes that are emerging from groups (see powerpoint below) and how each issue is being addressed by the Think Tank priorities.

A few of the service users were present at this event which provided a refreshing and different perspective to the event.

We then heard from the UK pioneers of Positive Deviance

This radical, problem solving approach, which has been endorsed by the Home Office, looks to what is already working in the community in order to overcome retractable social issues. Jane Lewis (Partner, Woodward Lewis) spoke about the benefits of adopting a positive defiance approach around the issue of domestic abuse. We also heard from Simon Kerr (via video), the Domestic Violence Co-ordinator for Cambridgeshire who has used the PD approach with great success in his area. Please take the time to look at the presentation below along with the accompanying PDFs.

Adopting Positive Deviance

The group were inspired and excited by the possibility of using PD within the domestic abuse community in West Sussex and it has now been agreed that we will move forward in adopting this approach locally. To find out more about the PD Foundation Workshop which will be running in West Sussex soon, please contact

Envisioning Exercise

After break, we all took part in an ‘Envisioning Exercise’. Groups were asked to focus on the priority that has been a consistent amongst service users and professionals throughout the Think Tank process; the single, central access point for all. Each table was given a particular client group (professionals, family and friends and people directly affected by domestic abuse) to focus on and then asked to envision the single, central access point for that population. Please see the results attached at the bottom of this text.

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 7: Think Domestic Abuse, Think Children (Wed 28th March, Vicar’s Hall, Chichester)

At the seventh Think Tank in the lovely surroundings of Chichester Cathedral, we turned our attention to how children witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse are CURRENTLY supported in West Sussex.

Through the ‘Mapping of Services’ exercise, which has been a component of each event since we launched the Think Tanks, it became apparent that there is a wealth of services already supporting children and young people affected by domestic abuse across the County. It also became apparent that both the public and professionals would like a central access point and clearer pathways for this myriad of valuable services.

With this in mind, we invited over 10 agencies/ organisations to take part in a ‘popcorn’ session where each agency ‘popped up’ and gave a 5 minute overview of what they offer to children and young people affected by domestic abuse. We heard from Wendy Hill (Manager of the Over 10s Family Resource Team) who spoke to us about relevant services such as the Solutions Clinics based in Family Centres, ‘Coping with Anger’ courses and parenting support.

First to the stage was Sue Ginn, (Intensive Support Team).

Sue spoke to us about the support children and young people can get from her organisation and about the information shops across the county. She also talked to us about the Domestic Abuse Recovery Programme (DARP).

We were delighted to then introduce Graham Vagg , (Service Manager for Youth Services)

Graham outlined a wealth of services provided by YS including courses on building self-esteem, dealing with anger and anti-bulling service. .

Following Graham was Jacqui Cooke , (FIP and Break for Change)

Jacqui talked to us about the Family Intervention Project that works holistically with the most troubled families (many families will be dealing with domestic abuse issues) in the county and also about ‘Break for Change’ a programme set up to deal with child to adult abuse.

After Jacqui we listened to Jodie Davie , (Under 10s Family Resource Team)

Jodie works to strengthen families with young children and her colleague Bev Chapman who provides therapeutic groups for women and children affected by DV through the Children and Family Centres. We also heard from Jez who used the innovative and solution-focused Positive Deviance approach to identify issues in the community and found solutions to these problems from the community. We also heard how the West Sussex Young Carer’s Service could benefit children and young people experiencing DV in the home.

We have all these brilliant services in West Sussex and yet we have no central access point for accessing these services or a single information point for professionals wanting support for children and young people affected by DV. -

Tables then worked to answer the following question:
1. Where do you go for expert advice on children affected by domestic abuse?
2. What response do you get?
3. What would be your ideal scenario in dealing with children affected by domestic abuse?

We also looked at the Barnardo’s Domestic Violence Matrix (a universal risk assessment tool for use with children – see below). The group agreed that it would be useful to look into this as a tool to adopt in West Sussex.

Out of this Think Tank it was agreed that all agencies would like a single information point to learn about the services currently available for children and young people affected by domestic abuse and how to access them. It was agreed that this piece of work would be followed through by West Sussex 2020 Vision and put on the website in the forthcoming year.

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 6: Living with Violence: The Impact on Children (Wed 1st Feb 2012, Field Place, Durrington)

The sixth Think Tank was a tremendous success – with over 120 people attending the event at Field Place in Durrington.

There are a couple of reasons so many people attended this time. Firstly, word about the Think Tank has really got out there to the relevant stakeholders and they rightly identify this subject as a key priority in their work. Secondly, we had presentations from key national speakers in the field.

First to the stage was Diana Barran, CEO of CAADA (Community Action Against Domestic Abuse).

Diana gave a fascinating presentation entitled ‘Shelter from the Storm’ about the current national picture and the challenges ahead. She spoke to us about the Munro report recommendations around early intervention for children and introduced the group to a new toolkit From Client to Parent to use with vulnerable adults around the needs of their children. This early intervention triage questionnaire was jointly developed by CAADA and WORTH. Diana invited members of the audience to contact her if they would be interested in taking part in piloting these questions. See below for Diana's presentation and From Client to Parent Toolkit.

We were delighted to then introduce Christine Christie, who currently works on strategy and development of services for the NSPCC.

Christine has a wealth of experience working with this subject area. In the past, she has managed the London Safeguarding Children's Board, wrote the London Child Protection Procedures and reviewed all the serious case reviews in London. She gave a compelling account of how domestic violence is often not identified or explored with the cases that led to a serious case review due to an absence of a clear framework for inter-agencies working in the area of domestic abuse.

She gave fascinating data based on 20 of the serious case reviews involving DV – for example, in 40% of the cases both mum and dad abused the child, in 50% of cases father abused the child alone but in 0% did mum abuse the child alone (the further 10% was abuse by foster father/ uncle). Christine concluded by outlining how the Think Tank audience could facilitate earlier intervention for children– in short, invite and listen to the child's voice in the process.

Gina Barrs, an experienced counsellor from WESS (Worth Emotional Support Services) then did just that.

She allowed us into the world of the child who has witnessed domestic violence. She talked through various cases both herself and her colleagues have worked with and outlined the myriad of dynamic s at play when an abusing parent has recently left the home, inviting us to see it from the child's perspective. Gina also put a strong case forward for funding long-term early intervention work for children who have witnessed domestic abuse – in order to save money down the line.

Tables then worked to answer the following question:
One thing your organisation could do – which costs no money – to encourage identification of the needs of children who are living/have lived with domestic abuse.

There were some amazing suggestions and you can see the results on the PDF attached at the bottom.

We are now half way through the Think Tank process. In the first 6 Think Tanks we have inspired blue sky thinking, opened up dialogue and built consensus on the key priorities to be included in the 2020 Vision and Strategy. In the next 6 Think Tanks, we will be inviting smaller, targeted groups to gather around a chunk of the strategy and build the detail. If you have a particular priority you would like to be involved in discussing, please contact

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 5: Breaking the Silence on Sexual Violence (Wed 7th Dec 2011, County Hall North, Horsham)

Often the subject of sexual violence is not explicitly discussed when talking about domestic and sexual violence services. However, it has been recognised that this important topic may have been side-lined within the West Sussex 2020 Vision process and so this Think Tank was dedicated to the subject of sexual violence.

Maggie Ellis, Founder and Director of LifeCentre UK (, gave a rousing and compelling presentation on the current landscape of sexual violence in West Sussex. Her fascinating statistics on the client-base seen at the LifeCentre certainly did the job of getting the Think Tank thinking.

For example, Maggie gave a breakdown of the clients who had called the telephone helpline at The LifeCentre in 2011.

5% Experienced SV during Adulthood only
27% Experienced SV during Childhood only
69% Experienced SV during both Adulthood and Childhood

The connection between childhood abuse and adult abuse has not been made explicit before now and it was a lightbulb moment for many in the audience. This aha moment was achieved just by looking at the statistics from our local specialist service provider - proving that the Think Tank lives up to its name.

Please do look at her presentation below for more fascinating statistics and information about The LifeCentre to pass onto clients.

Mary Bridgmen from Treetops, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Portsmouth, showed us a film targeting young people in schools around early intervention and prevention. The film Rape: Short word, Long sentence cleverly gives the perspectives from the victim and the perpetrator and brings up important questions about consent. Please click here to see an extract from the film and to go to Treetops website:

Before lunch, the 30+ participants took part in group work looking at solutions to the many challenges facing sexual violence. To see the groups’ outputs, please click on the attachments below.

At the end of the morning, DCI Ian Pollard (Sussex Police) gave a brief overview of the innovative Third Party Reporting Memorandum that organisations can sign up to with Sussex Police to assist with building intelligence - even when the client is unable to report the crime. Many participants joined DCI Pollard at his Third Party Reporting café over lunch to discuss the agreement with Sussex Police in more detail. Please see the memorandum attached for more detail.

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 4: Engaging Men as Perpetrators (Wed 12th Oct, Martlets Hall, Burgess Hill)

Think Tank 4 focused on engaging perpetrators of abuse to change their behaviour. Participants kicked off the morning with a networking breakfast. Over coffee and croissants, people worked together to grade the following statements from 1- 5, where 1=Strongly Disagree and 5=Strongly Agree:

We asked each delegate the following questions:

Until we start to deal with the issue of how to treat people who abuse, we are not effectively dealing with issue of domestic violence (Average score – 4.5)

Perpetrators of abuse can change their behaviour (Average score – 3.7)

Whilst people who abuse are always responsible for their behaviour, in some instances violent behaviour has been learnt from childhood (Average score – 4.5)

In some instances, violent behaviour is not about power and control over another – but about badly managed anger. (Average score – 3.3)

The one size fits all model is not useful. There needs to be a wider variety of approaches to address abusive behaviour (Average score – 4.7)

From the results of this poll, it was clear that people were ready to discuss new ways of working with perpetrators of abuse as the most effective solution to keeping victims and their children safe.

Caitlyn McCarthy started the presentations with an overview of perpetrator work in the UK to date and some examples of innovative practices from the US.

Emmanuel Nkosi and Jo Warner-Swann, both IDAP (Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme) facilitators gave us an overview of the IDAP curriculum and the outcomes of the work.

After break, Mark Coulter from Strength to Change spoke to the group about the innovative work with perpetrators taking place in Hull. 'Strength to Change', a NHS-funded programme, uses a strength-based, holistic model when working with perpetrators of abuse. Click on the link below for Mark’s compelling presentation.

At the working lunch, participants were asked to mull over two stories of potential victims and perpetrators – see below.

They were asked to consider the following questions in relation to each story:

What do you think will happen in this situation without any intervention?
What intervention could we offer now?
What would be the best intervention imaginable?

Click on the attachments below to see the groups output.

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Think Tank 3: The Road to Recovery (Wed 17th August 2011, Vicar’s Hall, Chichester)

The third Think Tank focused on the emerging priority of Recovery Services. As usual, we started the morning with an icebreaker over a breakfast of fruit, pastries and coffee.

We asked each delegate to ask their neighbour the following questions:

1. Have you ever supported someone leaving an abusive relationship?

      Yes       No
2. Did you fear that person would find themselves in another abusive relationship if they didn’t have additional support?

      Yes       No
3. Even though the victim is never to blame, in some instances, victims are unconsciously drawn to people who will do them harm

      Strongly Agree       Strongly Disagree
4. In some instances it is hard for agencies to know what support people who are suffering abuse need and at what time

      Strongly Agree       Strongly Disagree

. . . It was clear from the responses to this quiz that stakeholders were eager to talk about delivering services that focus on full recovery of victims and their families.

Sue Penna from Sue Penna Associates (creators of The Recovery Toolkit) gave a presentation entitled ‘Recovering from the psychological impacts of domestic abuse’. In this inspiring and brilliant talk, Sue talked about the cognitive dissonance created in people who are abused and how this results in behaviour change and thought disturbance. Sue argued that a recovery model, as opposed to a crisis model, of service delivery would prove most effective in the long-run. See Sue’s presentation below.

Trish Harrison, Manager of Domestic and Sexual Violence Unit WSCC, talked about the Development of the 2020 Vision and Strategy and invited the audience to give input to what makes a good strategy. Trish aims to have a working document evolving in parallel to the Think Tank, so people can pass comment and make changes.

The participants spent some time developing The Map: A Mapping of all Domestic and Sexual Violence Services across West Sussex. A number of organisations and initiatives have been added and will be circulated shortly. See the Forum for the latest version of The Map.

Over lunch, delegates looked at how the service delivery in their own organisation might look different if they adopted a recovery model as well as a crisis model of support. Kieran Stigant, Chief Executive of WSCC, joined the group for lunch and talked to each table. Kieran spoke to the audience of his great pride in the services WSCC deliver and support for people affected by domestic and sexual violence and added his name to the six emerging priorities. To show your support for the priorities, go to the Think Tank Forum.

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Think Tank 2: Family Matters (22nd June 2011, Worthing)

The second Think Tank took the emerging priority of ‘A Family-Centred Approach’ as its theme. Caitlyn McCarthy outlined what changes had been made and what action had been taken as a result of the last event, including the addition of the sixth emerging priority ‘Early Intervention’ (click here to take the ‘Support the Priorities’ poll). Click here to see a video of Caitlyn’s introduction to the day.

Trish Harrison, Domestic and Sexual Violence Manager for WSCC, then clarified and defined domestic and sexual violence and outlined the current specialist service provision in West Sussex. To see Trish’s presentation click here. The group then took part in a ‘Mapping of Services’ exercise which will be added to throughout the trajectory of the Think Tank. The purpose of the exercise is to allow everyone to get a full picture of what is currently on offer for families affected by D/SV in West Sussex.

Our guest speakers, Alison Powney and Gerie Petrou, both from Daybreak Family Group Conferencing, spoke of the benefits of working with the whole family around the issue of D/SV. Please see below for all output / presentations. The group then worked on the risks and benefits of working with the whole family around this issue.

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Think Tank 1: Opening Up to Possibilities (20th April 2011, Horsham)

At the first Think Tank we literally opened up to new possibilities and new ways of working. We kicked off the morning with a few words from Caitlyn McCarthy (Domestic and Sexual Violence Training and Development Officer, WSCC) about the purpose and objectives of 2020 Vision Think Tank (see attached) and with a presentation (see attached) from external consultant Dan Robertson from ‘Equality Works’.

Dan had input into the initial consultation about the future of domestic and sexual violence services which took place in West Sussex in September 2010. At this event, in which 50 individuals representing over 15 agencies attended, five priorities started to emerge as key to the way forward for D/SV services (see the first five priorities in Emerging Priorities section). One priority was the development of a county-wide, single-access point for all service users.

Alison Higgins, Manager of Sheffield Domestic Abuse Partnership, then gave us a presentation on how a single-access point has been achieved in the city of Sheffield. The city-wide phone number is the central access point for all services for people affected by abuse (see attached). Caitlyn McCarthy then spoke about her trip to the US to look at their response to the limitations of the Duluth model. See report on Caitlyn’s trip here or visit the blog she wrote whilst in the States at The group then took part in a number of interactive sessions. Please see below for all output / presentations.

Related Materials ...

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