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Course highlights numerous impacts of domestic abuse

Crime / Sun 1st Nov 2020 at 08:53am

DURING the current pandemic and lockdown, there has been an explosion of demand for Alpha Vesta CIC’s fresh approach to ‘breaking the cycle of domestic abuse’. 

Since March 2020, they have trained over 1200 people and delivered over 90 online awareness sessions and training workshops. Originally they were given funding by the OPFCC in Essex to deliver awareness and training in domestic abuse to Businesses and Organisations across Essex.  They were 2 months into the project when the current pandemic struck and, on the back of an article which Founding Director, Lucy Whittaker had written, they ran their first online awareness session entitled ‘Domestic Abuse and Coronavirus – The Toxic Mix’.  

The initial first 4 sessions reached full capacity within 1 week and it became clear that there was a huge demand for Workplaces across the County and Country, to understand domestic abuse better and how they could support colleagues and staff as well as those that came into contact with them through their work.  

Those attending loved Alpha Vesta’s neutral approach to understanding domestic abuse, its complexity and its impact and requests for more online training as well as bespoke training began pouring in.  Additional funding from National Lottery, MOJ and the Essex Community Fund allowed Alpha Vesta to meet this demand and what had been a full day face to face training course ready to deliver back in January, evolved into into a number of smaller meaningful sessions accessible online.  

Workshops on ‘Understanding Domestic Abuse and its Impact’, ‘The Complexity of Domestic Abuse’, ‘Impact of Domestic Abuse in the Workplace’ and ‘Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children’ have been running regularly online since June.  The feedback from participants and workplaces has been phenomenal and the take up of the courses has gone viral with local, national and global participation. 

This week, on 4th November 2020, they are launching their newest online workshop, ‘Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People – Extra-Familial Harm’. This course is co-hosted by Lucy Whittaker (Alpha Vesta CIC) and Natalie Queiroz (i2QB CIC).  

Lucy is the Founding Director and Lead Trainer of Alpha Vesta CIC, who after many years working as a frontline practitioner specialising in complex casework and child protection, left frontline practice to form her own CIC, with the very strong mission and foundation statement of ‘breaking the cycle of domestic abuse through awareness, prevention and early intervention’. 

Natalie Queiroz was the victim of one of the most horrific attempted domestic homicides of our time where she, at 36 weeks pregnant, was stabbed 24 times by her then partner, and father of her unborn child.  Natalie’s story is inspirational and she now focuses on tackling the rising epidemic in knife crime amongst young people.  Both Lucy and Natalie were introduced by a mutual colleague and the idea for this new workshop was formed where the passion, knowledge and insight both Lucy and Natalie have in their given areas, shines through.

Course Overview: Children are impacted by domestic abuse in the home in a number of different ways both psychologically and physically. The signs are often subtle and for those around them, considering that they may be living in an abusive home, has never entered their mind. When we aren’t able to pick up on the subtle signs, the abuse continues, resulting in extreme trauma and neglect for many children who are living in a ‘state of red alert’ every day. This fear, vulnerability and exhaustion leads them to be at risk of significant harm outside the home as well as inside the home. Extra-Familial refers to the different harms, risks and threats that children may face outside of their family and the home. These include gangs, county lines, radicalisation, harmful sexual behaviours, child exploitation, online grooming and child trafficking as well as criminal activity and cycle of violence. There is a strong victim/perpetrator overlap where children become embroiled in these different areas as both victims and perpetrators as part of their underlying need to survive and get through each day.

The first 4 of these online workshops were launched on Eventbrite last week and within 48 hours were fully booked! Over 200 delegates are ready to hear Lucy and Natalie deliver this 2 hr online workshop  – from staff in schools, colleges, mental health services, counsellors, social care sector, children’s services to academics, charities and those from the domestic abuse sector are all keen to learn more and understand how they can reach young people sooner.  Alpha Vesta are doing remarkable work and have not seen lockdown as a barrier, rather as an opportunity to engage with workplaces and communities to ‘break the cycle’ of domestic abuse.  

Background: Alpha Vesta CIC was founded in 2019 with a very clear foundation and mission statement of ‘breaking the cycle of domestic abuse through awareness, prevention and effective and safe early intervention through the workplace’.  Frontline practice, lived experience as well as academic study lies at the heart of all of Alpha Vesta’s work.

Why should Workplaces understand more?

There is an incredibly valuable part to be played by all workplaces, businesses and organisations, in ‘breaking the cycle of domestic abuse’ whether they are thinking about their work colleagues and staff members or those that come into contact with them through their work.  Embedding culture and building understanding allows us to reach people sooner, it keeps those affected in employment and encourages them to speak out.  It also has direct benefits to all workplaces, businesses and organisations in terms of increased productivity, reduced absence, positive health and wellbeing and a robust and caring reputation.  

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