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Leeway Annual Conference 2018 Round-Up

12 OctLeeway annual conference

The Leeway Annual Conference is a chance to shine a light on and discuss the serious issues that people who experience domestic abuse must face. We held our 2018 Conference at the Airport Holiday Inn, Norwich, on Wednesday 3rd October. Over 120 people from a range of organisations attended. The theme for the day was “Supporting people experiencing domestic abuse who have complex needs.” A variety of speakers provided an insight on these issues. 

Opening Remarks

Following a welcome from Emma Corlett, a member of the Leeway Management Committee, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, Lorne Green, opened the conference. 


  • Janet McDermott – Janet highlighted Women’s Aid’s “Change That Lasts” approach and responses to domestic abuse, particularly the need for services led by and for women. 
  • Jashmin Patel – Jashmin spoke about the work Imkaan, a national Black feminist organisation, does to address violence against women and girls (VAWG) and highlighted the intersectionality and sexual harassment experienced by the BME community. 
  • Illary Valenzuela Oblitas – Illary talked about the work of the Latin American Women's Rights Service, raising awareness of the “hostile environment” that migrant women face and the impact this has. 
  • Kelly Semper – As a commissioner for Norfolk County Council Public Health Team, Kelly spoke about Norfolk’s strategy to tackle domestic abuse.
  • Michelle Frazer – Michelle is one of Leeway’s Service Coordinators and spoke about the work of our Additional Needs Case Workers, who support those with drug, alcohol or mental health problems. 
  • Project SafetyNet+ – Simon Shreeve, Ros Brown, Hana Suzuki and Margaret Hill talked about a new project which works to support women with no recourse to public funds, as well as highlighting cultural barriers such as honour-based abuse and female genital mutilation. 
  • Mike Ward – Mike spoke about Alcohol Concern’s “Blue Light Project,” a national initiative to develop alternative approaches and care pathways for treatment resistant drinkers who place a burden on public services.
  • Jayne Booth – A slight change to the schedule saw Jayne Booth replace Coast to Coast Theatre Company. Jayne delivered a powerful presentation about her first-hand experience of domestic abuse and the effect it has had, and still has, on her life.  
  • Suzi Heybourne – Suzi talked about reaching out to build relationships with women facing multiple barriers, highlighting the work of the Magdalene Group in supporting women and young people who are affected by sexual exploitation and coercion.
  • Katy Jon Went – Katy highlighted the multiple barriers to fleeing an abusive relationship, specifically focusing on the barriers those in the LGBT+ community face. 

The day was closed by Chrissie Jackson, Leeway Patron and BBC Radio Norfolk Presenter.

We would like to thank all our guest speakers for giving up their time to speak at our conference. They provided an excellent insight into important subject areas and all the talks and presentations were very thought-provoking. 

Thank you to all our attendees – we hope you had an enjoyable day.

We put evaluation forms in our delegate packs and we’d like to thank the people that took the time to fill these in. We received some excellent feedback which will help us to shape future events. 

We have two big fundraising events still to come this year. Tickets are available for the Hollywood Glitz Charity Ball, taking place on the 24th November. And our ever-popular Sparkling Winter Quiz is being hosted in the Cottage on Thunder Lane on the 13th December. We hope to see as many of you as possible at these events!

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