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Conference raises awareness of domestic violence issues

17 October, 2014

Nearly 200 delegates attended the “Take the Step: then, now and future” conference today (October 17), aimed at raising awareness of domestic violence issues and celebrating the 20th anniversary of Preston Domestic Violence Services (PDVS).

Jointly organised by Preston Domestic Violence Services and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the event at Lancashire Police headquarters in Hutton, attracted professionals from across the county.

The conference was part of the “Take the Step” campaign, launched last year by Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, on behalf of the Safer Lancashire Network.  The campaign focuses on empowering Lancashire’s domestic violence victims to Take the Step and Make the Call – so that they get the help they need.

Delegates heard from a variety of speakers, including Penny Clough, who rose to prominence as campaigner for better protection for victims of domestic violence after her daughter, Jane, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2010.

Other speakers included:

  • Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Safiya Badat, Deputy Chief Executive of PDVS, and Elaine Abbot, PDVS Management Committee Chair
  • Nicky Stanley, Professor of Social Work and Co-Director of the Connect Centre for International research on Interpersonal Violence and Harm in the School of  Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire
  • Dr Hannah Murray, a Clinical Psychologist specialising in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She works at the Traumatic Stress Service, a national specialist NHS service for individuals with PTSD, and is an Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck College, London.

Delegates also saw a hard-hitting drama from the Certain Curtain Theatre group, a company renowned for tackling sensitive and controversial subjects in an original way and who have been at the forefront of domestic abuse drama since 1995.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, who opened the conference, said: “I am committed to ensuring that victims of domestic abuse are protected and supported. That’s why I launched the Take the Step campaign and website which encourage victims in Lancashire to access the help and support they might need.

“My aim is for every victim to feel they can Take the Step, for friends and family members to know where they can turn for support, and for all employers in the county to have the necessary frameworks in place to support staff.

“I am delighted to have been able to join forces with Preston Domestic Violence Services to host this conference. The conference has been an opportunity to learn more about the impact of domestic abuse, and Take the Step toward ending domestic abuse in Lancashire.”

Safiya Badat, Deputy Chief Executive of Preston Domestic Violence Services, said: “This conference celebrates the 20th anniversary of Preston Domestic Violence Services.

“Over those 20 years, we have supported thousands of victims/survivors and developed a range of services to meet their needs. I would like to thank everyone who has made that possible: staff, students and volunteers; all of our funders and all of those individuals and organisations who have made donations.

“Both funding and donations are more important now than ever as the economic climate makes it harder to obtain funds but increases demands for our services.

“The demand for this conference has been overwhelming and it is hoped that the response and support will continue after this anniversary year to enable us to focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable victims from all communities, to ensure they have the services, protection and information they need.”

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