RESPECT TRAINING Q&A: “Every Respect course is designed to help trainees think about the victim”

Name: Sara Kirkpatrick

Job title: Service Development Manager at Respect and approved trainer delivering Respect training courses nationally.

Surprising fact about you: This may not be a surprise to my colleagues… but I am about to be a grandma!!!

What Respect training courses do you lead? Do you have a favourite?:

I lead the following Respect training courses:

  • Cross Cultural working with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence (1 day)
  • Working with Male Victims of Domestic Violence (1 day)
  • Better Engagement with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence (1 day)
  • Running groups with men using intimate partner violence: Essential Skills for Group Work Facilitators (6 days)
  • Individual work with Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse (4 days)

My favourite Respect training course to lead is Cross Cultural working with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence. I love it because people arrive with a set of notions about cultural difference, and often, a specific idea of ‘the other’ who they perceive to be particularly different, but the course turns all those assumptions on their head. It gets people looking at cultural difference in a whole new way, and this allows them to work with every client better because they are open to the client teaching them their culture. I think it’s fantastic, and the trainees love it too!

Is there a typical day on a training course?:

I always want training courses to be a huge success, and so the morning before training starts in the same way for me- with lots of nerves! Thankfully, though, all my anxiety disappears as the trainees start arriving and I remember why I love training: it’s a shared adventure of the mind.

No Respect training session is ever exactly the same, even though the final goal is. Training is a type of behavioural change group. We all start in one place, travel together, and end up in a new, better, more understanding place. As a trainer, I get to share so many exciting journeys, watch people grow and share the inspirational atmosphere of the course. It’s great.

How do you think attending Respect training helps people working in the domestic abuse sector?:

Every Respect course is designed to help trainees think about the victim and how those at risk can be supported and protected. Each course is focused on a specific subject, but all of them teach professionals to think and act more effectively.

Respect perpetrator courses also offer a unique opportunity for professionals to improve the way they work with men and women using violence and abuse. We invite trainees to recognise individuals who act abusively as actual people, rather than demons or monsters, who can be given the opportunity, the direction, the challenges and the support to do better if we work with them.

Can you tell us about feedback you’ve received that shows the impact of Respect training?:

I love to hear from past trainees who tell me that they are using the skills, techniques and knowledge they learnt from training with a client. That always makes me smile because it tells me some lessons from the course stuck and are being used to make the world a better place.

What is your favourite part of being a trainer?:

I love to share my knowledge, and Indulge in my secret fantasy that I’m an undiscovered comedy genius. Oh, and I also love the knowledge that the work we’re doing together can change the world!

What challenges face you in your role as a trainer?:

The main challenge as a trainer is time! There are so many tangents and exciting ideas coming from the trainees, and I want to go down every path! We have lots of great and useful material to get through, so it can be hard to balance and fit everything in.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get the most out of training?:

My advice is mostly common sense: arrive early; turn off your phone; and make sure work know that you won’t be available for the whole training course. Mainly, just embrace the experience!

There’s so much to learn not only from the training pack, but also from each other- I encourage everyone to chat about the content during breaks and lunchtimes, and to exchange numbers so you can keep in touch. It’s great to build a network of peers, and your fellow trainees can help to support and inspire you in the future.

Who can attend Respect training?:

Anyone working in domestic violence and abuse or associated fields. It’s great to have a mixture of trainees- we love to see not only domestic violence specialists, but also people from other roles that might come into contact with domestic abuse, such as social workers, teachers, nurses, and even priests!

 How do people sign up for Respect training courses?:

You can find out about and book all of our upcoming courses on our website:

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