WORK WITH PERPETRATORS EUROPEAN NETWORK Q&A: “Nothing else like WWP EN exists in Europe, or the rest of the world.”

Name: Nina George

Job title: Research and Development Manager

Surprising fact about you: I sing in a band in Lancaster. We are just in the process of editing our new piece, “I know no more than the dead know”, which takes stories of local people as outlined in historical court records and mixes them with poetry and spoken word. This composition takes in witches, gay men, a suffragette, a woman who had 7 wives and organisers/chartists… Lancastrians were quite something!

Is there a typical day in the office for you?: Depends where I am! I work mostly from home in the U.K., so on these days, I sit at my desk, hooked into my computer and Skype with a lot with people. I also work in Berlin, as all the team meet in our office there for work weeks. At other times, I might be organising or attending events or meetings anywhere in Europe. It is very varied, which is great for me.

What is your favourite part of your job?: Nothing else like WWP EN exists in Europe, or in the rest of the world, in that we are organise across countries, across a whole region. It’s very exciting to be part of building something in partnership that is very new and unique in its nature. I love development work, and my favourite part of the job is when I get to work in partnership.
We have an excellent board and very committed membership, which lends itself to some great cutting edge conversations about the work, but also how to create and sustain cooperation and collaboration across the region.

What challenges face you in your role?: The 2 main issues are geography and language. It can be hard to engage with people on a digital level over such a large area, and because our working language is English, most members are speaking a second language. I am always incredibly humbled by the efforts non-English speakers go to, and their patience when trying to get British (mainly English) people to speak more slowly and less manically!
Generally, I find that most successful communication needs an in-person level to it, and that’s why our events, such as the Annual Workshops and the Study Visits, are so important for us and for our members. These events really enable us to share and connect with members on a deep level.

What countries and organisations does WWP EN work with, and how does having a connected network for research support domestic violence work?: WWP EN started in 2014, with 18 founding member organisations from 13 countries. This has now increased to 41 members in 22 countries, with the major growth coming from South-East and Eastern Europe. This gives us a unique mix of programmes which have been working in the field for some time and ones which are newer to the work, allowing us to combine innovation with established best practice.
I feel that this network has a huge potential for our projects and how meaningful they can be. Between 2006 and 2008, the WWP Project created a database of programmes in Europe and guidelines of standards for the work, and we’re currently in the process of updating these.You can see more information here: http://www.work-with-perpetrators.eu/research/project-wwp/results.html

How does WWP EN’s work with domestic violence perpetrators help to improve the safety of women and children?: If abusive men are able to find positive change (i.e. be non or less abusive) through our members’ interventions then that improves women and children’s safety. Put simply, this is why WWP EN members do the work.
We are very keen to see perpetrator interventions offered as part of a community approach to tackling domestic violence because a) they work better like that, and b) there is a need for domestic violence perpetrator (or prevention) programmes to be only part of a range of responses. We ask that all members prioritise women and children’s safety in their approach, and have an understanding of gender in the work they do, in particular the historical and structural roots of discrimination against women.
This is now also outlined in the Istanbul Convention, which gives further weight to our approach and which we promote through our work and ask our members to work to.
This approach also underlines the need for risk and safety processes and the involvement of children through child protection policies. Our guidance and publications further explain and support members in achieving this. It helps that we foster good relationships between the women’s and perpetrator sectors by having women’s organisations on our board (whether they offer perpetrator work or not), and offering membership to women’s organisations.

Can you tell us about the Impact Perpetrator Programme Outcome Toolkit and why it’s important?: The Impact Project came about as a Daphne funded piece of work in 2013 and 2014. Partners worked on establishing evaluation practices and then coming up with a user-friendly toolkit to monitor programme outcomes. Basically, this is the first time we have a coordinated approach to data collection that should be carried out with (ex)partners and clients on programmes.
We know that evaluation is often the last thing on programmes’ lists, as there is just so much to do, and this offers a tried and tested model that is not only relevant in the UK. but across Europe. Programmes give us data and get reports in return; we help programmes to build the data collection into programme delivery, and then agree reports from our partners at the University of Bristol at agreed intervals. We hope that we will eventually get comparison through it across European programmes.
I cannot see what is not to love about it! Especially, as the further beauty of it is that it is currently free to use, and in an age where you usually get nowt for free, this is invaluable. You are welcome to contact me if you’re interested ([email protected]), or you can read more about the project here: http://www.impact.work-with-perpetrators.eu/index.php?id=13

How does WWP EN impact on domestic violence issues in the EU?: Through the European-funded research projects, we have been able to grow into a formalised organisation, which gives us much more “clout” on a European level. Individual members have managed to exert tremendous leverage in terms of influencing and monitoring much work across Europe. For example, many have been and are involved in developing and monitoring the Istanbul Convention. Our members are able to support each other when lobbying for better responses in each country and therefore raise standards across Europe; best practice in one country can be argued for or adapted for use in another, which is why the sharing of information is so valuable to us.

Can you tell us about a piece of research you’ve done which was particularly impactful?: There has been much in the way of useful research conducted through WWP EN members. In fact, before the organisation was even formalised, we already had the 2 projects I have already spoken about. At the moment, I am working on a mapping report of members’ services for women/victims, (ex)partner services and how they see relationships between the women’s (or victims’) specialised and perpetrator sectors. There are a great many differences in how our members are situated with regards to these issues, some differences country to country, but also from service to service. In 2017, we will have guidance and best practice published about this.

How can those working in the sector stay up to date with WWP EN’s work?: All full members of Respect are automatically members of WWP EN, so you can benefit from all that we do. From accessing publications and webinars, through to applying to attend our study visits and annual workshop, membership is really worthwhile!
You can sign up to our members’ only access area by emailing Paula Heinrich, our Communication and Membership Manager, at [email protected] and sign up to our quarterly newsletter, details and archives here: http://www.work-with-perpetrators.eu/resources/newsletter.html
You can also find loads of information on our website (http://www.work-with-perpetrators.eu/), follow our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WwpEuropeanNetwork/), or join our group at LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=5091169&trk=nmp_rec_act_group_photo)

Other than that, if you have any specific requests, get in touch: [email protected]

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