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'New thinking and practice in services for domestic violence and abuse'

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Department of Social Work and Social Care Annual Conference

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Confirmed speakers:

Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales

‘The Domestic Abuse Bill: a window of opportunity?’

Professor Brid Featherstone, University of Huddersfield, and Professor Kate Morris, University of Sheffield

‘The Change Project: setting the agenda for domestic violence and abuse.’

Anna Mitchell, Safe & Together Institute

‘Domestic violence informed practice: An introduction to the Safe & Together model.’

Professor John Devaney, University of Edinburgh

‘Children living with domestic violence: effects on children’s well-being’

Professor Susan Benbow, University of Chester

‘Kill and be killed: domestic homicide and older adults’

Speaker profiles:

Nicole Jacobs

Since her appointment to the role of Designate Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales in September 2019, Nicole has begun energetically putting her 20 plus years of experience in domestic abuse policy and intervention to work, driving improvements to transform the response to domestic abuse in England and Wales. She is committed to championing victims and survivors of all ages, status, and backgrounds, and to shining a light on practises that fail them.

Nicole began her career at the Alabama State Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the United States. In 1999, she came to London as an early worker at ADVANCE, one of the first advocacy (now DVA service) services in the UK. In 2000, she began working at Standing Together Against Domestic Violence, expanding the coordinated community response efforts into health settings. Before becoming CEO of Standing Together in 2013, she held a number of senior leadership positions at highly respected organizations, including Special Projects Director at SafeLives, and Senior Operations Manager at Refuge.

Professor Brid Featherstone

I joined the University of Huddersfield in October 2015 as Professor of Social Work. I qualified as a social worker and worked in the field of social work from 1982-1992. I have been involved in social work education and research since then and have worked at universities in Ireland, England and Germany. I have an international reputation in the areas of gender, fathers and child protection. My recent co-authored book (with Sue White and Kate Morris) 'Re-imagining Child Protection: towards humane social work with families' has been highly influential and led to invitations to speak and advise on reforming child protection nationally and internationally.

Professor Kate Morris

Kate Morris is a qualified registered social worker, and joined the University of Sheffield in 2015. She was previously Director of the Centre for Social Work and Deputy Head of School, University of Nottingham. She began her career as an academic at the University of Birmingham. However, Kate gained substantial experience in practice, management and policy development prior to moving into social work education and through her research and her involvement in national and international social work developments has remained very closely connected to practice.

Anna Mitchell

Anna Mitchell is the UK Lead and Special Projects Manager for the Safe & Together Institute. The Institute’s mission is to create, nurture and sustain a global network of domestic violence-informed child welfare professionals, communities and systems. Anna has a professional background in social work and she has worked for over twenty years in a variety of operational, strategic and leadership positions in domestic abuse services and local and national government.

Professor John Devaney

I qualified as a social worker in 1988, practising in statutory services firstly with children and adults with learning disabilities, before moving into services for children and families. In 2004 I was awarded a PhD from Queen's University Belfast for a study on chronic child abuse, and in 2006 I took up a lectureship in social work at Queen's University Belfast. In January 2018 I took up the position of the Centenary Chair of Social Work at the University of Edinburgh. In this post I am also the head of the social work subject area. My research focuses mainly on the broad area of family violence, with a particular focus on child homicide, child maltreatment, child welfare policy, domestic violence, and the impact of adversity in childhood across the lifecourse. I have an interest in comparative social policy, evaluations of practice and interventions, and policy development. My research spans both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. I have undertaken a range of research studies in both the UK and internationally, funded by research councils, government departments and philanthropic organisations.

Professor Susan Benbow

Susan is an old age psychiatrist and family therapist, who served as Chair of the Faculty of the Psychiatry of Old Age from 2002-2005 and held NHS consultant posts in Manchester and Wolverhampton until 2009, when she took early retirement from the NHS and redesigned her working life. After completing a PhD by published work, she has pursued a portfolio career involving research, education, systemic therapy, clinical work, and consultancy as Director of Older Mind Matters Ltd. She joined the primary care memory clinic team at Gnosall Health Centre, Staffordshire in 2012 and provides memory clinic services there in partnership with primary care colleagues. She is Visiting Professor of Mental Health and Ageing at the University of Chester.

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