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Tackling Sexual and Domestic Violence Member event

On 23 February 2016, London Councils held an event  to bring boroughs together to share and discuss practice around VAWG

Over the last five years the economic climate and policy landscapes have changed significantly, meaning boroughs are facing important challenges in commissioning Sexual and Domestic Violence services including Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG).  

Boroughs are adapting to these changes and responding to the opportunities by embedding VAWG approaches into core policies, plans and strategies across services, which has resulted in new ways of delivering vital services.

This 1-day conference was an opportunity to find out how boroughs are commissioning services that address these varied challenges. 

The conference also covered the Sexual and Domestic Violence services funded by London Councils' grants programme.

The agenda from the day

The Keynote speaker was Joan Smith, journalist and Co-Chair of MOPAC’s VAWG Panel which is tasked with addressing VAWG issues at a strategic Pan-London level.

Morning presentations and speakers included:

  • Domestic and Sexual Violence: The Troubled Families link – Mike Howes, Community Safety [LB Harrow]
  • The Gaia model. An integrated approach to tackling VAWG – Jade Holvey, Lead Commissioner Crime and Disorder [LB Lambeth]
  • The Angelou Partnership: Commissioning a new VAWG shared service across the Tri-boroughs – Meghan Field, Shared Services Violence Against Women and Girls [VAWG] Strategic Lead [LB Kensington & Chelsea] and Adam Taylor, Commissioning Manager – Community Safety, [Westminster City Council]

Afternoon presentations and speakers included:

  • FGM – social and policy changes over the last year and what this means for tackling the issue in London – Toks Okeniyi, Head of UK Programmes and Operations, FORWARD
  • Prevention work in London schools and with young people – Susie McDonald, CEO, Tender Education and Arts
  • A panel discussion with the above speakers and Alison Renouf, Manager, London Safeguarding Children Board

Speaker biographies

Cllr Paul McGlone

London Councils Grants Committee Chair

Deputy Leader for Finance & Investment, LB Lambeth

Cllr Paul McGlone has been a councillor in Lambeth since 1998 in the Ferndale ward, representing parts of Brixton, Stockwell and Clapham. He has held Cabinet posts for Environment, Regeneration Planning and Enterprise and also was lead member for Children and Young People. During a period of opposition, he won cross party support to be Chair of Overview & Scrutiny Committee for two years. Re-elected in May 2014 for his fifth term, he is now Lambeth Council’s Deputy Leader with responsibility for Finance and Investment.

In his career he has been an accountant in the hospitality industry in Australia; accountant and then director of a London & Hamburg based international film and television company; and Finance and Administration Manager within the London based world headquarters of the PolyGram international music company. He’s worked in local government as an accountant within Housing and Environment services both as an employee up until 2000 and later as a freelance consultant, specialising in performance management and Housing ALMO inspection preparations.

Paul is also an accredited Local Government Association member peer since 2002, and has in recent years specialised in Children’s Safeguarding Reviews, mentoring new Cabinet members and facilitating councillor leadership development events.

Cllr McGlone has been Chair of the London Councils Grants Committee since July 2012.

Cllr Joan Millbank

London Councils Grants Committee Member - Cabinet Member for Third Sector and Community, LB Lewisham

Cllr Joan Millbank is Cabinet Member for the Third Sector for the London Borough of Lewisham and Labour councillor representing Telegraph Hill ward, elected onto Lewisham Council in May 2010. Her responsibilities include liaison with non-statutory partners, faith groups, the voluntary and community sector, community development (e.g. local assemblies) equalities and social enterprise.

A lifelong community activist, Cllr Millbank has worked in community development, local government, charity management and funding, and has held various governance and trustee positions. In 1999 she was awarded an MBE for her services to local communities. She continues to work part time for a charitable trust.

Cllr Millbank has been a member of the London Councils Grants Committee since 2012 and is also a member of the Grants Committee Executive which steers the Grants Committee.

Mike Howes

Senior Policy Officer, Community Safety, LB Harrow & London Heads of Community Safety VAWG Lead

Mike Howes has served in local government for 40 years – at Wandsworth, Tower Hamlets, Surrey County Council and now at Harrow. For the last 6 years, he has been responsible for Community Safety and Domestic Abuse policy and has served as VAWG Lead for the London Heads of Community Safety network.

His interest in crime reduction has also led him to become a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at Brixton Prison. Mike will retire from local government at the end of March this year.

Sophie Taylor

Violence Against Women and Girls Officer - LB Lambeth

Sophie Taylor has worked in the violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector for last eight years and is the lead officer for the coordination of violence against women and girls strategic development for Lambeth Council. Lambeth Council was an early adopter of an integrated VAWG model and has led the way with innovative areas of practice including one of the first VAWG 'one-stop shops', the first campaign aimed at perpetrators of sexual violence and a much-publicised approach to prostitution that focuses on targeting buyers. Sophie has delivered the Council's extensive training, prevention and awareness programme over the last few years and has more recently begun leading on the development of the future of VAWG strategy from 2016 onwards.

Meghan Field

Shared Services Violence Against Women and Girls [VAWG] Strategic Lead - LB Kensington & Chelsea (on behalf of the Tri-boroughs)

Meghan Field has been working internationally to eliminate violence against women and girls for over 15 years and for the last 10 years has concentrated her efforts in London.  Meghan is experienced in delivering frontline services across both the non-profit and statutory sectors, managing multi-disciplinary teams, shaping strategy and policy, managing effective projects, developing successful multi-lateral partnerships and leading culture change around gender based violence issues.

Meghan is a certified Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) and managed a frontline service in West London before becoming the Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Coordinator for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Meghan then worked for Standing Together Against Domestic Violence where she acted as the Housing Services Coordinator, chaired Domestic Violence Homicide Reviews and published Turning Points, which examines the impact of a coordinated community response on survivors of domestic abuse. During this time, Meghan co-founded the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) with partners from Gentoo and Peabody, with the goal of improving the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse via a national accreditation process.

From 2013-2015, Meghan worked for Kensington and Chelsea Council as the European Communities Against Trafficking (ECAT) Project Manager and the Tri-Borough Violence Against Women and Girls Development Lead. In April 2015, she was appointed as the Tri-Borough VAWG Strategic Lead. Meghan has BAs in Spanish and Philosophy and an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies.

Adam Taylor

Commissioning Manager – Community Safety - Westminster City Council (on behalf of the Tri-boroughs)

Adam Taylor joined Westminster City Council in 2004 and has been part of the community safety team for the last 5 years. Adam has led on the Council’s strategic partnership to tackle crime and disorder and on priorities such as ending gang and youth violence, responding better to victims of antisocial behaviour, reducing reoffending, and for the last three years, tackling domestic abuse and violence against women & girls.

Adam was the Westminster lead on the recent re-commissioning of specialist VAWG services across the Tri-borough area of Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea that led to the establishment of the Angelou Partnership, as well as specialist coordination services. Prior to that Adam led on the City Council’s strategy to reduce domestic abuse, Breaking the Silence, which saw the creation of a dedicated Domestic Violence Court at Westminster Magistrates Court, and increased investment in Domestic Violence Advocacy and other specialist services.

Toks Okeniyi

Head of UK Programmes and Operations - FORWARD

Toks Okeniyi is the Head of Programmes and Operations at FORWARD, the lead organisation in the UK tackling female genital mutilation (FGM). She was Director of Services and Acting Chief Executive at the Royal Court of Justice Advice Bureau, an organisation that helps litigants in person navigate the court system and comply with civil procedure rules. ). She holds a post graduate qualification in Law, Project management and is also a lay magistrate.

Toks has worked with many community organisations as a management consultant and is a fellow of the Chattered Management Institute UK. Her professional roles have involved liaising with senior managers and key stakeholders, working to achieve desired outcomes by being a catalyst for change with a commitment to improve efficiencies and deliver value for money. She is passionate about ensuring that individuals who are vulnerable or discriminated against are able to avail themselves of their rights.

Susie McDonald, CEO,

Tender Education and Arts

Susie McDonald has managed the development and delivery of education programmes in schools, youth centres and alternative education settings for more than 25 years. Initially working in prisons, using drama as a tool to engage the most isolated young people and adults, Susie began working with young people at risk of permanent exclusion from school in 1995. In 1998 she coordinated the first Zero Tolerance domestic abuse prevention programme in England, to schools and youth centres in Thurrock, Essex.  In 2003 Susie became Tender’s Education Manager and set up the Healthy Relationship Education Programme. In 2010 Susie became Tender’s Chief Executive, developing relationships and partnerships with organisations across the UK and raising the profile of Prevention Education as a vital element of ending domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Tender has now delivered programmes in more than 650 schools and youth centres across London, working with 90,000 young people and 7,000 adults. Tender is part of the Ascent Consortium of VAWG organisations and is the Lead Partner for the Prevention of domestic abuse and sexual violence Strand, funded by London Councils.

Joan Smith

Journalist & Co-Chair, MOPAC VAWG Panel

Joan Smith is a columnist, novelist and human rights activist. She is the author of six novels and the feminist classic Misogynies, as well as books about human rights and food. She chaired the PEN Writers in Prison Committee for four years and has advised the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on defending free expression. Since 2013, she has been Co-Chair of the Mayor of London's Violence Against Women and Girls Panel (now the VAWG Board). Her latest book is Down With The Royals. She lives in Hammersmith.

Alison Renouf

Manager  - London Safeguarding Children Board

Alison Renouf is the Manager of the London Safeguarding Children Board – she took up the post in April 2014. Prior to this she worked for local government in children’s policy and as a manager in a homelessness support service. She has also worked for housing associations managing housing support services and in a woman’s refuge and a homeless hostel. She has a Masters in social work and a Masters in the sociology of childhood and children’s rights.

Speaker presentations