Violence Against Women And Girls Partnership Training

Transforming responses to Violence against Women and Girls Project

The Argyll and Bute Violence Against Women and Girls Partnership has gained funds to deliver training that will have a transformational impact on domestic abuse and child protection services.  The objective is to allow staff and managers to be able to identify and confidently respond to domestic abuse and related child protection events.  As a result more women facing domestic abuse will be supported and more children will remain with their non-abusive parents and not have the experience of becoming care experienced.  Services will be improved and Argyll and Bute will adopt the principles of the Safe and Together model.

Now is the time to act, in beginning to roll out the Safe and Together model we join a growing number of areas across Scotland, the UK, Europe and beyond.  Levels of domestic abuse in Scotland have been increasing during the pandemic and this has impacted on the number of children on the Child Protection Register and being looked after.

A Programme Board has been created and will oversee the roll out of Safe and Together and other training.  They will begin by using the Domestic Abuse-Informed Practice and Systems: A Self-Assessment Tool and Evaluation Framework to take a look at current services.  Staff and Managers will be asked to complete two questionnaires to share their views on current strengths and weaknesses of services.

Keeping you linked in with training

Training calendars and notifications of up and coming training events will be emailed to staff.  This training webpage will keep you up to date with what training is available and what will be covered in each course.  This will help staff to decide what is right for them and how a course might help them to meet their work objectives and individual development needs.  Managers will be able to use the information provided to help inform team and service training needs.

Those participating in training events will be asked to complete feedback forms at the point of training to determine their opinion of it and how far it met their expectations.  Feedback may also be requested at a later point to determine how the training has actually impacted on how individuals have used new skills and knowledge in the course of their work.   

Safe and Together

The Safe and Together Institute will deliver an online overview of the model to up to 200 staff and Managers.  This will take place online and consist of two 3.5 hour sessions delivered on two consecutive days; this will be repeated if necessary.    

Following that in 2022, 15 Supervisors and Managers will be trained in the Core Safe and Together Programme with an additional supervisory / managerial module.  20 staff will also be trained in the Core Programme with the intention that they become Safe and Together Champions in their teams and services; 30 more will be trained in 2023.  Champions will be front line staff working with children, victims of domestic abuse and perpetrators.  This will include Social Workers, Adult Mental Health Workers, Health Visitors, Teachers, ADP staff and key Third Sector staff.

Training will take place via the Safe and Together online, Virtual Academy which will allow people to complete the training at their own pace, within agreed timescales.  We are looking for our Supervisors, Managers and Champions to complete their training and go on to use the model in their work, including reports for child protection meetings, assessments and engaging with families.  

In 2023 we intend to put two people forward for the Safe and Together “Train the Trainers” course; they will have completed the Core Programme prior to doing the Trainer’s course.  Train the Trainer’s courses start in September and will allow us to more effectively train staff and Managers going forward.  This will be a rewarding and challenging role and will require a commitment to this training role across Argyll and Bute.      

Alongside the Safe and Together Training, additional complementary training will be offered.  This will broaden staff knowledge of domestic abuse and its impact and help to build both confidence and key skills.  Training will include: Routine Enquiry, Domestic Abuse Awareness Raising, Working with Men, The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People and Harmful Traditional Practices.   

Safe and Together Model Principles and Critical Components

To improve practice and create better outcomes for children and families exposed to domestic violence perpetrator’s behaviour, the following Practice Principles can help guide assessment, and case decisions.

1. Keeping safe and together with the non-offending parent (safety / healing from trauma / stability and nurturance).

2. Partnering with non-offending parent as de-fault position (efficient / effective / child centred).

3. Intervening with perpetrator to reduce risk and harm to the child (engagement / accountability / courts).

For more information go to

The roll out of Safe and Together will involve a number of elements:

  • An online overview for up to 200 people; this will ensure shared knowledge and understanding of the model and its principles. 
  • 15 Managers and Supervisors will complete both the Core Programme and an additional Manager’s module; they will be essential for moving the process forward and supporting teams.
  • In the first year 20 workers, mainly Social Workers, will complete the Core Programme and become Safe and Together Champions, helping others to understand the process and sharing the principles in case management and report writing.  In the second year, 2023, there will be an additional 30 people trained and these will be from a variety of staff groups. 
  • In the first year two of the people trained will go on, in September, to complete the “Train the Trainers” course.  This is essential as it will allow future roll out to be managed and planned for internally. 

Please note that it is not essential for those who will be completing the Core Programmes, to attend the Overview sessions as some of the material will be the same. 

What training should I attend?

Awareness Raising Training

Awareness Raising Training is for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of domestic abuse and other forms of gender informed violence.  Do you recognise that domestic abuse can include: physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse, harassment or stalking, financial abuse or coercive control?  Do you know what impact domestic abuse can have on its victims and children and young people witnessing it?  Do you know the legal situation and what supports are available locally? If not, this course is for you.  You could be a front line worker or simply someone who wants to know more in case you come across it in the course of your work or day to day life.

This course will take half a day and will be delivered by Women’s Aid or Rape Crisis.  

Find Awareness Raising Training Courses

Routine Enquiry

Routine enquiry involves asking all women at assessment about abuse regardless of whether there are any indicators or suspicions of abuse.  It was established in maternity, sexual health, health visiting, substance misuse and mental health settings.  Training in this area is important because if staff lack the skills and confidence to ask the questions, domestic abuse may go unrecognised and victims unsupported. 

This training is for staff and Managers in a variety of services who work with women and children.  (For example: Adult and Children’s Social Workers, Mental Health, ADP, Health Visitors, Midwives, Third Sector Workers).  It will take place online and take a day; This course will be delivered by Jan MacLeod of the Women’s Support Project.

Find Routine Enquiry Courses

The first of 6 Routine Enquiry Training Courses took place on 18/05/2022 and 19-people attended; feedback was positive with regards to content, delivery and value to participants.

Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE)

Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) includes a wide range of often linked sexual activities which typically men profit from, or buy from women and which objectify and harm women.

Examples include

  • prostitution
  • phone sex, internet sex or chatrooms
  • stripping, pole dancing, lap dancing, peep shows
  • pornography
  • trafficking, sex tourism and mail order brides

These can be in exchange for things such as

  • drugs
  • food
  • shelter
  • protection

Encompass Snapshot Briefing (

The Scottish Government includes prostitution, pornography and other forms of involvement in the sex industry within its definition of violence against women. The exploitation of women in such ways legitimises negative attitudes towards women and is inextricably linked to gender inequality and sexual violence.

This training will help you to understand the nature of commercial sexual exploitation and what support is required for women engaged with it.  

Find Commercial Sexual Exploitation Courses

Harmful Traditional Practices

Harmful traditional practices are forms of violence which have been committed primarily against women and girls in certain communities and societies for so long that they are considered, or presented by perpetrators, as part of accepted cultural practice.

The most common are:

  • Forced or early marriage;
  •  So-called ‘honour’-based violence;
  •  Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM).

The Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 made it a criminal offence to have FGM carried out in Scotland or abroad.  In 2016, the Scottish Government released the national action plan to prevent and eradicate FGM.

This training is for anyone who works with women and children; it will help you to understand harmful traditional practices and the social factors that support it.  How do you recognise the risk factors and what actions do you need to take?   

Find Harmful Traditional Practice Courses

Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People

Children can experience both short and long term cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects as a result of witnessing domestic abuse. Each child will respond differently to trauma and some may be resilient and not exhibit any negative effects.

Children’s responses to the trauma of witnessing domestic abuse may vary according to a multitude of factors including, but not limited to, age, race, sex and stage of development. It is equally important to remember that these responses may also be caused by something other than witnessing domestic abuse.

Children are individuals and may respond to witnessing abuse in different ways. These are some of the effects described in a briefing by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2004):

  • They may become anxious or depressed
  • They may have difficulty sleeping
  • They have nightmares or flashbacks
  • They can be easily startled
  • They may complain of physical symptoms such as tummy aches and may start to wet their bed
  • They may have temper tantrums and problems with school
  • They may behave as though they are much younger than they are
  • They may become aggressive or they may internalise their distress and withdraw from other people
  • They may have a lowered sense of self-worth
  • Older children may begin to play truant, start to use alcohol or drugs, begin to self-harm by taking overdoses or cutting themselves or have an eating disorder

Children may also feel angryguilty, insecurealonefrightenedpowerless or confused. They may have ambivalent feelings towards both the abuser and the non-abusing parent.

This training is for anyone who works with children and young people; it will help you to understand the impacts of domestic abuse.  How do you recognise the signs of possible domestic abuse or react to a disclosure?  What supports and services are available locally?

Find Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People Courses

Trauma Training

This training event is designed for professionals who work directly with individuals and families affected by abuse, including domestic abuse and child sexual abuse and/or neglect. It will explore the impact of traumatic events on the individual, including the long-term impact of childhood trauma on children and adults. The training charts how living with inescapable stress and distress can exert a substantial effect on brain development across the life-span, fundamentally affecting the individual’s sense of self, long-term ability to manage relationships, feelings and behaviour, illustrating how adverse experiences can alter the structure and function of the developing brain. The session(s) will also explore the central role of attachment in mediating this process. Essentially the training falls naturally into two categories

The Impact of Trauma Across the Lifespan

  • How trauma impacts on development
  • Why attachment matters
  • Type 1 and Type 2 trauma
  • Development of post-traumatic stress disorders, simple and complex 
  • Identifying associated features such as dissociation, compartmentalisation and DID
  • Other adaptations to abuse and attachment trauma

Working with Trauma Practical Interventions 

This aspect of the training will concentrate on working with abuse survivors, especially those with complex needs who are all too often excluded from services. Based on the work of Judith Herman’s 3 stage model of recovery, the event will cover such aspects of trauma recovery as

  • Creating an effective intervention model - making a difference
  • Sand therapy etc.
  • Somatic Therapy
  • DBT approach
  • The Three Stage Model
  • Issues with dependencies
  • Mental health problems, oppositional behaviour or trauma adaptations?
  • Client engagement
  • Therapeutic techniques that work

Sessions can be tailored to suit the organisation(s) 

This is a complex subject so the more time I can spend with groups the better, but training can be cut down into chunks if that’s more helpful and particular aspects of the Trauma program can be flexibly selected in order to suit the needs of participants.

Working with Men

Systems theory in social work is based on the idea that behaviour is influenced by a variety of factors that work together as a system. These factors include family, friends, social settings, economic class, and the environment at home. The theory posits that these and other factors influence how individuals think and act.  It is therefore essential that we engage with all family members effectively and ensure that all voices are heard.  

This training will look at engaging with men in a variety of situations, as partners, parents and grandparents.  It will also look at engaging with men where they may be perpetrators, or alleged perpetrators of domestic violence.  How to we hold them responsible for their actions and behaviours whilst respecting their rights?      

Find Working with Men Courses

National e-learning modules

Key Documents

Additional Resources


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