Victim Support National Conference 2004

Conference sessions summaries


1. Major incidents - being prepared

We are all aware of the potential and apparently increasing risk of large-scale incidents in urban areas caused by terrorist activities. The voluntary sector is increasingly being seen as a vital and necessary partner in response and community building after such an outrage. But more local incidents such as at Soham, and the Shipman murders, can place a Victim Support branch under considerable demand, with additional strain on core services and resources. The workshop will explore the key guidelines of the national working group's recommendations (which it is hoped will have been agreed by the National Council by the time of the conference) and unpack with participants the possible actions and strategies at the very local level for dealing with such considerations as:

Workshop leader: Stephen Hanvey, Head of Members' Services, National Office
Workshop facilitators: Lorraine Johnson, Area Manager, Victim Support North Wales & Andrew Rankine, Trustee, Victim Support North Yorkshire & Vice Chair of the National Council

2. Customising your Victim Support area or borough website

Local staff or trustees with authority to make changes to their area websites can bring along their ideas and materials and work with the web team at the National Office to customise their local website. Bring along pictures, maps, postcode data, information about special projects, staff/volunteer case studies, or other material about your work locally, and we will spend an hour with you working on your site. If you don't want to make changes then and there, but want to explore the possibilities in detail, you can also book a slot. (Alternatively, if you just want to find out more about how customisation works and what some of the options are, attend the presentation on the previous day - see summary.)

If you want to make changes to your site on the day, you will need to have contacted the web team in advance to discuss your ideas and make sure that you have any new material available in an appropriate format.

Workshop leader: Sara Wilcox, Information and Communications Manager, National Office.
Workshop facilitators: David Lane, Web Developer, National Office & Louise Holmes, Web Editor, National Office

3. Dealing with the media

This is a chance to learn how to make the most of the local media. Used properly, local papers, radio and regional TV stations offer an opportunity to get a message across, or to publicise an event or an appeal for free. Sometimes the media may make requests for quotes and interviews about a subject that is not quite so straightforward - and, if not handled well, could result in negative publicity.

This workshop aims to equip area and branch managers with some of the skills necessary to handle enquiries from the media. It also aims to teach the arts of writing a press release and knowing whom to approach with a story. We'll offer a mock interview and use several other resources to show that what you say - and what you don't say - can make the difference between favourable and negative publicity.

Workshop leader: Sarah Morris, Media & PR Manager, National Office
Workshop facilitator: Brenda Shalvey, Communications Assistant, National Office & Andrew Buckingham, Media & PR Officer, National Office

4. National volunteer strategy - have your say

The purpose of developing and coordinating a national volunteering strategy is to strengthen, support and retain our volunteers. A strategy report and recommendations was presented to the National Council and the Spring regional meetings. This working group gives the opportunity for members to contribute to determining how the recommendations in the report may be achieved.

Workshop leader: Anne Henderson, National Council member, Victim Support Mid-Warwickshire
Workshop facilitators: Eva Dupak, IT Volunteer Co-ordinator, National Office & Glyn Parry, Members' Services Officer, National Office

5. Quality and standards self-assessment

This workshop will see the launch of the Quality & Standards Department's model for areas/boroughs to assess the quality of their structures and practice. This will be of value to areas preparing for an inspection, but also to those interested in developing their organisation.

Workshop leader: Mark Harris, Head of Quality & Standards, National Office

6. Internal audit - making risk assessment real

This workshop will look at what an effective risk assessment and risk management process needs to address.

Workshop leader: Phil Goss, Internal Auditor, National Office

7. Identifying effective local practice

This workshop will explore examples of good practice, which have been identified during the quality and standards inspection programme.

Workshop leaders: Colin Darville, Inspector, National Office & Mairi Spiby, Inspector, National Office

8. Flexible ways of learning for staff and volunteers

The National Office Training Department are trying to shift their focus away from training, as an event, which relies upon traditional training courses, to learning in a much broader sense. This workshop will explore the alternatives to traditional training, the opportunities they provide for individuals and the organisation and the implications of implementing them. This will be for anyone with an interest in training/learning and no previous knowledge is required.

Workshop leader - Alison Dixey, Regional Training Manager, National Office

9. NVQ learning set

This is a learning set for anyone who is an assessor or candidate, working towards their NVQ in community justice or training and development.

Workshop leader - James Fletcher-Brown, NVQ Assessment Centre Manager, National Office
Workshop facilitator - Alison Dixey, Regional Training Manager, National Office

10. An introduction to assessing volunteers

The workshop will explore some of the skills needed to assess the competence of new volunteers in order to accredit them to work with victims. Participants ideally should have familiarised themselves with the volunteer policy. This is a three-hour session split into two parts over one day.

Workshop leader - Paula Ellen, Training Officer, National Office

11. Working in the context of restorative justice: Victim Support's National standards

This session will consider the national standards and requirements contained in Victim Support's Service framework for supporting victims in the context of restorative justice and restorative approaches. The draft of this document is being discussed in the Spring regional meetings, and the final version will be agreed by the National Council in June.

There will be an opportunity to discuss how to meet the standards and requirements, and consider some of the recommendations in Victim Support's new practice guidance (which will be published after conference). There will be short presentations followed by discussion. Topics will largely be defined by participants' interests and may include management issues and inter-agency work (such as relationships with youth offending teams) as well as providing direct support for victims.

Workshop group leader: Peter Patrick, Chair, Victim Support Oxfordshire & Trustee, Restorative Justice Consortium
Workshop group facilitator: Sarah Buckmaster, Restorative Justice Project Officer, National Office

12. Lone working: managing the personal safety risks

This workshop will raise awareness of the importance of personal safety for lone workers, exploring the risks that the group may encounter during their working day, and will also provide members of the group with practical solutions and the confidence to avoid or defuse potentially violent and aggressive solutions.

Workshop group leader: Marcia Jones, Office Manager, National Office
Workshop group facilitator: Lina Wallace, Co-ordinator, Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court Witness Service

13. Finance surgery

The session will cover:

This session will be informal and interactive in structure, and will be jointly presented by members. We aim to discuss and share best practice and knowledge in the topics listed above.

Workshop group leader - Joe Gbonda, Financial Controller, National Office
Workshop facilitators - Stephen Pugsley, Finance Manager, National Office, Bill Flaherty, Management Accountant, National Office & Janet Redman, Members' Finance Manager, National Office

14. Understanding management accounts

This workshop will be interactive in structure and jointly presented with members. The aim is to:

Workshop group leader - Joe Gbonda, Financial Controller, National Office
Workshop group facilitators - Stephen Pugsley, Finance Manager, National Office, Janet Redman, Members' Finance Manager, National Office & Bill Flaherty, Management Accountant, National Office.

15. A dynamic partnership

The session will cover the different and interlinking roles of the area manager and the trustees in governing, leading and managing the organisation. The session will also focus on the unique and dynamic relationship between the area manager and the board which at its best enables each to lead the organisation effectively based on trust, mutual respect and shared values. On occasions this will include the invigorating challenge of negotiating from different perspectives to reach a common understanding of different roles and responsibilities (otherwise divorce may be on the horizon). This session welcomes both trustees and area managers.

Workshop group leader - Elizabeth Martindale
Workshop facilitator - Val Honyben, Members' Services Officer, National Office

16. Radio interview techniques

Local radio stations are always looking for comment and colour from the voices of local organisations. Becoming a confident on-air performer can reap dividends in terms of raising our profile and getting our message across. Air time is plentiful and it's up to us to claim it and use it effectively. This workshop aims to provide a few tips on how to attract the interests of the journalists and producers ... then what to say and how to say it!

Workshop group leader - Sarah Morris, Media and PR Manager, National Office
Workshop group facilitator - Andrew Buckingham, Media & PR Officer, National Office

17. Reaching out to the black, ethnic & minority (BME) community: research findings by Victim Support West Midlands - moving forward: recommendations for future projects and good practice

Looks at findings from the research undertaken within the West Midlands that looked at the experiences of services users from the BME community. The research included potential users of our services from the BME community asking them whether they would contact Victim Support if the need arose and reasons they may not choose our service. Discussion will be facilitated around possible difficulties with BME communities accessing our services, existing models of good practice, local successes and achievements and how to improve partnership working.

Workshop group leader - Katy Chaston, Research Manager, National Office
Workshop group facilitators - Natasha Broomfield-Reid, Area Manager, Victim Support West Midlands & Eileen Daley, Birmingham Partnership against Racial Harassment

18. Introducing the homophobic and transphobic hate crime and incidents service framework and practice guidance

The aim of this workshop is to promote the newly developed homophobic and transphobic hate crime and incidents service framework and practice guidance. It will be an opportunity for staff and volunteers to learn about the service standards for delivering support to victims of homophobic or transphobic hate crime and ask questions about the practice guidance. The service framework and practice guidance will be sent to participants in advance.

Workshop group leader - Becky Hay, Service Development Officer, National Office
Workshop group facilitator - To be confirmed

19. Working with young victims in schools

This workshop will describe the work of Victim Support Trafford with schools. Their work includes:

Recent national developments in Victim Support's services to young victims will be described. There will be opportunities for discussion in small groups to look at how work with school pupils can be developed in the context of the national service framework for supporting young victims. This workshop will be of interest to anyone who is currently working with young victims or who is involved in developing a service to young victims, in schools or in other settings.

Workshop group leader - Hilary Yeates, Schools Co-ordinator, Victim Support Trafford
Workshop group facilitator - Peter Dunn, Head of Research & Development, National Office

20. Supporting and preparing victims and witnesses with learning disabilities

This session is for Witness Service or VIW (vulnerable and intimidated witnesses) personnel who will be supporting people with learning disabilities. The workshop will give delegates an opportunity to explore and exchange ways of implementing standards and the impact this may have on people with learning disabilities.

Workshop group leader - Kathryn Stone, Director, Voice UK
Workshop group facilitiator - Beverley Radcliffe, VIW Project Officer, National Office

Focus groups

21. Witness Service devolution - a pilot's view

The nature of the session will be determined by the initial experience of the four areas, which are pilots for the devolution of Witness Service funding. This projects started in April 2004, and so by the time of the National Conference, we will have three months' experience to report on. Aspects may include:

Focus group leader: To be arranged
Focus group facilitator(s): Julie Young, Area Manager, Victim Support Lancashire; Glyn Morgan, Area Manager, Victim Support Greater Manchester; David Driscoll, National Council, Victim Support Epsom; Tom Elliott, Area Manager, Victim Support Essex

22. Equality and diversity - testing new materials

We have recently developed new learning materials on equality and diversity. We would like to take this opportunity to pilot some new exercises against the learning outcomes they are meant to address. Participants' involvement and detailed feedback would be of great value.

Focus group leader - Kyriacos Spyrou, Training Officer, National Office

23. Exploring the issues around working with young victims

Frequently raised issues and questions will be discussed around the responsibility of the designated child protection officer, around pre-trial therapy and around levels of service ie level one or two and any other queries. Feedback will be provided from Carole Rooke who has been running a project around working with young victims.

Focus group leader - Susan Cooper, City & Guilds & Carole Rooke, Victim Support Andover and District
Focus group facilitator - Fiona Richmond, Head of Training, National Office

24. The health needs of victims of crime

Victim Support's agenda for improvements to policy for the health needs of victims of crime was set out in our report Criminal neglect. Through this focus group we would like to obtain the views of members on healthcare for victims of crime. Those attending this focus group will have some detailed knowledge of the health needs of victims and witnesses and be able to contribute views on current best practice or areas for improvement in health services to victims and witnesses. This might, for example, include information about local initiatives between Victim Support and hospitals or community centres or specific examples where a victim's health needs have not been adequately or sensitively provided for.

Focus group leader - Shirley Ford, Policy Officer, National Office

25. Review of the domestic violence practice guidance and resource pack

This session is designed for practitioners who are familiar with, and have used, the domestic violence practice guidance and resource pack. The session invites practitioners to give feedback on whether the guidance has addressed their needs when supporting victims or whether participants feel further areas of work need addressing. The session will also be used to help develop a manager's checklist designed to help record evidence of achievement in meeting the domestic violence service standards.

This is not a training session and therefore not for delegates who want to learn about services to victims of domestic violence. This is a consultation session aimed at improving the supporting materials designed for practitioners.

Focus group leader - Becky Hay, Service Development Officer, National Office & Julie Fry, Service Development Officer, National Office

26. Developing a service framework and practice guidance for supporting victims of sexual violence

Part of the 2004-05 National Office work plan is to develop a service framework and practice guidance for supporting victims of sexual violence. Participants in this focus group are expected to be experienced practitioners who can help advise on the development of this new project. The focus group will explore the scope of the project, examine topics that the new materials will need to address (including learning materials) and identify the tools that may assist practitioners to deliver services to victims of sexual violence.

This is not a training session and is therefore not for delegates who are wanting to learn about services to victims of sexual violence. This is a consultation session aimed at experienced practitioners who will have an opportunity to advise on the direction of the project.

Focus group leaders - Becky Hay, Service Development Officer, National Office & Lynne Walton, Regional Training Manager, National Office


27. Customising your Victim Support area or borough website

The web team at the National Office will explain how they have set up area/borough websites using a national template and how these sites fit in with the national website and extranet and how they can be used to promote local and area services. They will also explain some of the options and give you some ideas for customising your area/borough website, such as using an area/borough site for secure communication with victims and witnesses. If you want to spend time 'hands-on' customising your site, or to discuss your own ideas in detail, please book a slot at the workshop session the following day.

Presentation leader: Sara Wilcox, Information & Communications Manager, National Office
Presentation facilitators: David Lane, Web Developer, National Office & Louise Holmes, Web Editor, National Office


28. The new national standards for Victim Support

In 2005, national standards will replace Victim Support's Code of practice. This seminar offers participants an opportunity to see and ask questions about the national standards, to find out how they fit with existing and planned service frameworks and guidance, and to look at how they connect with the work of the Quality & Standards Department. The purpose of the seminar is mainly to provide information about the new national standards and how members can comment on them during the consultation process that is now under way.

This seminar will focus primarily on national standards that address service delivery; therefore it is likely to be of most interest who are interested in service delivery, service management and quality assurance.

Seminar group leader - Peter Dunn, Head of Research & Development, National Office
Seminar facilitator - Chris Carling, Area Director, Victim Support West Yorkshire

29. Introduction to restorative justice

This presentation will introduce the basic concepts of restorative justice, including principles and definitions of processes involved. There will be a video of a victim offender mediation, and the benefits and pitfalls of mediation will be discussed. The place of restorative justice in youth justice legislation will be outlined, and new developments with adult offenders described. Throughout the presentation the place of victims of crime in restorative justice will be emphasised. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and raise issues concerning this whole field.

Seminar group leader: Sarah Buckmaster, Restorative Justice Officer, National Office
Seminar facilitator: Marion Liebmann, Independent Trainer & Consultant

30. CJIT secure email and automated data transfer (ADT)

This is an introduction to the CJIT (Criminal Justice Information Technology) secure email and how it can be used to facilitate automated data transfer (ADT) from the police into the referral software. It is also an introduction to the CJIT exchange and how it will enable Victim Support (community services and Witness Services) to exchange data electronically with other criminal justice agencies. This seminar is targeted at both managers and co-ordinators.

Seminar leader: Alim Ozcan, Head of IT Services
Seminar facilitators: Cathy Cant, CJIT; Jaswant Singh, Senior Technical Support, National Office & Stuart Smith, Victim Support Greater Manchester

31. Using the Criminal Records Bureau

The Criminal Records Bureau is the agency that Victim Support uses to ensure that staff, volunteers and trustees are cleared according to their very specific rules. The seminar will look at whether a check is needed and if so whether standard or enhanced disclosure is required. The seminar will also look at action to take when people are new to the UK, how to carry out a risk assessment and the steps to take when a criminal conviction is disclosed.

The seminar is aimed at staff and trustees who are responsible for undertaking criminal records checks. It will provide guidance as to the process to follow when working with people who have a criminal conviction and will provide a clear and consistent approach. It will include an opportunity for staff and trustees to share relevant skills and experience.

Seminar leader: Guy Pink, Head of Personnel and Central Services, National Office
Seminar facilitator: Sarah Greaves, Personnel Officer, National Office

32. The new corporate identity and the importance of high quality design

This seminar is aimed at anyone interested in the new corporate identity. It will include information on the background and reasons for updating how we look. There will be an explanation of the new specification, its implications for members and the importance of using design professionals. The session will also set the new logo in context and explain that it is one element of how we present ourselves as an organisation. It will be of special interest for staff responsible for commissioning design and print projects or producing local materials (annual reports, leaflets, newsletters, display stands, posters, stationery etc).

Seminar leader - Derek Power, Design & Publications Officer, National Office Seminar facilitator - Paul Fawcett, Head of Communications, National Office

33. Compensation for victims - your questions answered

Representatives of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and Appeals Panel will deliver brief presentations before trying to answer delegates' questions about compensation. Is there an aspect of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme you don't understand? Do you want advice on dealing with claims?

Seminar group leader - Anthony Forsyth, Policy Officer, National Office
Seminar facilitators - Representative of CICA & representative of CICAP

34. Helping children stay healthy after crime

The session provides an opportunity to follow up members' concerns about provision of specialist mental health help for children raised at our 2000 AGM. To inform our thinking about this, we will be hearing from experts in the field of young people's mental health. We will then share ideas about the ways that victim and witness services and health care services can best help young victims maintain good mental health after crime. Delegates should come away from the session with more information about mental health services and with fresh ideas about what Victim Support can do to help young people stay healthy after crime. Participants should already work with young people or their carers, or should be responsible for these types of services and have an interest in the interface between Victim Support and healthcare services.

Seminar group leader - Ben Smith, Policy Officer, National Office
Seminar facilitators - A member from the Policy Department, a representative from YoungMinds charity for children's mental health, and a psychologist/psychiatrist expert in children's mental health

35. Home Office grants, funding formula & devolution

The seminar aims to:

Seminar group leader - Joe Gbonda, Financial Controller, National Office
Seminar group facilitators - Peter Hepburn, Deputy Chief Executive, National Office, Janet Redman, Members' Finance Manager, National Office & Stephen Pugsley, Finance Manager, National Office

36. Victim Support's new referral software

As the demands on our organisation increase and the constraints become ever more tight, there has never been a greater need to accurately report the work and achievements of the charity. This seminar will introduce you to the new statistical recording that will be initiated in 2005, which will enable areas and branches to be more descriptive about their workload and accomplishments. During the seminar you will get an opportunity to learn about the new referral software that is being developed to take account of this new way of reporting and the local needs of areas and branches. This is for managers and co-ordinators.

Seminar leader: Chris Norfolk, Co-ordinator, Victim Support North West Worcestershire
Seminar facilitators: Katy Chaston, Research Manager, National Office & Mark Broadhurst, Applications Developer, National Office

37. Key findings from the vulnerable witness survey

The research, which has been published to coincide with the conference, outlines the effectiveness of special measures. It is a before and after comparison of how witnesses feel they have been treated within the criminal justice system. Witness Service personnel were involved in the research and will be able to hear from the researchers both at the Home Office and the BMRB.

Seminar leader(s): Dr Ghazala Sattar, Senior Research Officer, Home Office & Becky Hamlyn, Lead Researcher, BMRB
Seminar facilitator: Beverley Radcliffe, VIW Project Officer, National Office


38. Referral software v 4.1.3 surgery (help with problems)

This surgery is targeted at referral software users and will provide hands-on help with current referral software problems, such as mail merge, reports, backup & configuration.

Surgery leader: Nilgun Ozdil, Application Support, National Office

39. Witness Service software and statistical guidance - (help with problems and queries)

This surgery is targeted at Witness Service software users, Witness Service managers and anyone who collates Witness Service monthly statistics and will provide hands-on help with Witness Service software problems.

Surgery leader: Franklyn Johnson, Senior Application Support, National Office
Surgery facilitators: Jenny Colyer, Statistics and Research Officer, National Office & one other IT Services Application Support person.