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Highlights of the Leeway Annual Conference 2019

17 OctAttendees arrive

We held our 2019 Annual Conference last week, raising awareness of domestic abuse and sharing some of the work that is being done to tackle it locally and nationally. The event, which was opened by Leeway patron Nina Nannar, was attended by professionals from a wide range of organisations. The theme for the day explored: “How others are affected by domestic abuse,” and gave an insight into the impact that domestic abuse has on the lives of so many people. We were lucky to have a fantastic range of speakers providing a professional and personal insight.

A Summary of the Day

Session 1 

Dr Kelly Semper of Norfolk County Council’s Public Health team delivered the first presentation of the day, discussing Adverse Childhood Experiences and the impact that domestic abuse has on children. This was followed up by Emma Broom of Action for Children, who continued this theme, exploring the work of Action for Children supporting families experiencing domestic abuse.

The final presentation before our first break of the day focused on Project Safety Net+, a Leeway project working in partnership with Norfolk Community Law Service, Norfolk Community Advice Network and Norfolk County Council to support adults from migrant communities living with or fleeing domestic abuse. Simon Shreeve spoke about the work of the project and its progress one year since the official launch. 

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Norfolk, Lorne Green, closed the first session by saying a few words about the importance of raising awareness and the work of the PCC’s office to tackle domestic abuse.

Session 2 

The second session of the day started with a presentation from Emma Hildreth of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Emma highlighted the links between stalking and domestic abuse, as well as discussing the increasing use of “Digitally enabled stalking.” 

Our next presentation was a personal story from former Leeway service user Zina Wilkinson. Zina spoke about her experience of domestic abuse and the impact that this had on her life. We were also delighted to welcome Zina’s daughter to the stage, where she shared her experiences of growing up with domestic abuse. 

Amanda Parnell of Cotman Housing delivered the final presentation before our lunch break, discussing the role that housing agencies have in tackling domestic abuse and the importance of agencies working together.

All the morning’s speakers returned to the stage for a few questions from attendees to close the morning sessions. 

question and answer session at leeway conference

Session 3 

Amy Hyde and Laura Saunders of Dogs Trust got us back underway after lunch, speaking about the impact that domestic abuse has on dogs and the work of their pet fostering scheme, the Freedom Project. 

Our next speaker was David Challen, who shared the personal story of his successful campaign to free his mother, Sally Challen, in a landmark case recognising coercive control.

The third session of the day was closed by Dr Eylem Atakav, who discussed honour-based abuse and forced marriage, as well as sharing a clip from the film Growing Up Married which she directed. 

Session 4

After a short break, the final session of the day focused on Leeway’s Anchor Project. Representatives from Leeway, the Matthew Project and Change, Grow, Live spoke about the work of the project and its progress since its launch earlier in 2019. 

The final presentation of the day came from Luke Hart, who shared the story of his family’s experiences of coercive control, which culminated in the murders of his mother and sister by his father. Luke spoke about recognising his father’s behaviour as coercive control and the importance of campaigning to raise awareness.

The conference was closed by the Chair of Leeway’s Management Committee, Emma Corlett. 

Thank You

We received some great feedback on social media and from evaluation forms, which we will use to ensure that next year is even better! Thank you to all our guest speakers for giving their time and providing an insight into the impact that domestic abuse has. Thanks to the Norwich Airport Holiday Inn for providing the venue and their support in the running of the event. And thank you to everyone that attended the event, we hope you found our conference insightful and thought-provoking. 


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