Breaking the cycle of domestic abuse and its potentially devastating impact on children, will be tackled at a leading conference on July 6th 2012 at Leigh Sports Village.
A series of presentations by leading experts will feature during the one-day conference, ‘The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children', which is being hosted by Wigan Council, children’s charity Barnardo’s, regional family law firm Stephensons Solicitors LLP and The Freedom Programme.
A provocative play, aimed at bringing the issue of domestic abuse in the home to life, will be a prominent feature of the conference and will be delivered by the Certain Curtain Theatre Company. It involves demonstrating the impact of domestic abuse on a mother and her two teenage children. It will show the cycle of abuse from one generation to another and how labelling children has far reaching effects.
The play is an essential experience for anyone working in the field of safeguarding children. Mockingbird High is a compelling, lyrical exploration of the devastating impact of domestic violence on young people and family relationships.
Up to 200 professionals who work with children and families affected by domestic abuse are expected to attend. Though not an exhaustive list, it will be relevant to housing managers, social workers, family support workers, health visitors, family solicitors, those working in the family justice system, neighbourhood policing teams, probation services, family liaison teams, CAFCASS members, PCTs, mental health workers, victim support teams, counsellors, teachers and homelessness prevention teams.
The event will also feature a victim’s personal insight, an overview of Wigan Council’s domestic abuse strategy and a legal perspective by leading family law expert, Frances Heaton QC.
Greater Manchester Police’s Public Protection Department will speak about ‘Clare’s Law’ and the right to ask for information about a partner’s history of domestic violence, while Pat Craven, of the Freedom Programme, will talk about female victims and introduce attendees to ‘the dominator’.
Mike Devlin, managing partner of the Family law department at Stephensons, said: “The overriding aim is to promote a ‘multi-agency’ approach to domestic abuse in our region. The calibre of the experts who are speaking at this conference make it an absolute must for the regions’ professionals, who like us, work with children and adult victims of domestic abuse every day to seek positive outcomes.”
Mark Lee, director of Barnardo’s North West, said: “Domestic violence is often been seen as a problem between adults but it’s clear that children are not deceived by closed doors. Barnardo’s works with hundreds of children across the North West region whose lives have been damaged by domestic violence and abuse. We work to alleviate the long term effects on children through counselling and family support, also helping mothers to build confidence and self esteem in order to protect themselves and their children.
“This conference is a positive step forward in terms of raising awareness of domestic abuse and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
Cllr Susan Loudon, Wigan Council's cabinet champion for children and young people says: "This training conference is the first of its kind in bringing together local experts in the field of domestic abuse, particularly those who work with children, young people and families, those vulnerable people who are the innocent victims in incidents of domestic abuse.
"As well as an ideal platform to share examples of best practice, the event gives attendees an opportunity to discuss the implications of changes in the legal system and a chance to update partners on what is happening locally. Only by adopting a shared multi-agency approach can we hope to tackle this issue.
“One of the main reasons for homelessness in Wigan is relationship breakdown involving domestic abuse. This doesn’t just have a significant impact on children at the time; sadly it affects them in the long term, too. If this conference helps just one child break this cycle, it can help prevent homelessness in future years.”
Pat Craven, author and creator of the Freedom Programme, said: “A woman who completed the Freedom programme once said to me…’I can never fully explain how the Freedom Programme has helped me. My thought processes about my life with the Dominator are now completely clear. I now believe I am not mad, stupid, rubbish and pathetic: I am a victim of domestic violence’.
“My aim for this conference is to share these real-life experiences and introduce delegates to my publications, the ‘Freedom Programme Home Study Course’ and my book ‘Living with the Dominator’. This will bring the programme to women who are unable to attend a course. It is also a resource for practitioners to use one to one with their service users.”
Tickets for the conference cost £60 plus VAT and those wishing to attend should contact Lesley Davies at Stephensons by email email@example.com. 5 hours CPD points are available for this event.
Notes to editors:
Media are invited to attend the event from 8:30am to 9:15am for a photo call with the key conference members. Radio interviews can also be arranged by appointment beforehand. Please contact Lianne Tracey at Stephensons to arrange media interviews and picture opportunities.
Media information: Lianne Tracey
Stephensons Solicitors LLP
T: 01942 774225