This was the fifth annual seminar, addressing young people’s use of violence in close relationships, presented by Respect, this time in conjunction with Nottinghamshire Domestic Violence Forum; and was attended by all manner of professionals from around the UK. As well as 2 amazing presentations to the whole group, there was a wide range of workshops to choose from. Drama in the morning from Loudmouth Education and Training introduced ways of working in schools to promote healthy, happy and safe relationships between young people; and later on we were treated to a presentation about the GREAT project (good relationships are equal and trusting), part of NDVF’s work in primary schools.
Eleven workshops offered the chance to look in more depth at issues of choices and self-esteem, preventive work with young people in schools, teenage relationship abuse, and sexual bullying; and there were a number of different sessions addressing child to parent violence. Yvonne Nugent presented some work from her research at Loughborough University, looking particularly at the need for legislative change. Rachel Condry updated us on her findings at Oxford University and, with Martyn Stoner, linked in to the Break4Change project, a parallel programme for parents and young people, which is used in Brighton. Julia Worms and Kate Iwi both presented findings to do with the Respect Young People’s Toolkit, in relation to the work with parents and that with young people. More to follow about these workshops!
The development of the toolkit, addressing interventions in relation to issues of violence in close relationships, has been the main focus of the Respect work with young people. The toolkit is available online, but only for those who have completed the training. Respect also maintain a directory of services offering support in the areas of violent or abusive relationships.
Bringing together people from many different disciplines, the seminar offers tremendous opportunities for networking and the sharing of ideas. Within the field of child to parent violence this is crucially important, as the services that are available are very fragmented. The low level of awareness within the community means that it is difficult to find targeted groups or support for families, and time and energy can be wasted developing programmes which may already exist, tried and tested elsewhere.
Respect are inviting offers from parties interested in co-hosting the next national practitioner’s seminar.