Date15 November 2023
On November 9, over 100 professionals and experts in their field gathered together at Conwy Business Centre in Llandudno Junction to discuss how to better support children and young people experiencing domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery in North Wales. The event, named All for One, was organised by the office of the Police and Crime commissioner for North Wales, Andy Dunbobbin.
Now in its second year, All for One focused on children and young people and looked at how they can be supported in complex situations, whether as victims themselves, or through living in an environment where incidents of domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery are happening.
Audience members included representatives from the emergency services, local councils, social and health services, housing and education teams, charities and support services, all of whom can encounter issues around domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery in the course of their jobs.
Following an introduction from Stephen Hughes, CEO, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Sue Hills of the Alice Ruggles Trust spoke about the loss of her daughter Alice, who was murdered in October 2016 after a campaign of stalking by an ex-boyfriend. The trust’s simple goal is to try to prevent what happened to Alice happening to others and Dr Hills explained her work and how we can try and prevent what happened to Alice happening again.
A further keynote speaker at the event was renowned author, academic and presenter, Jane Monckton Smith. Professor Monckton-Smith lectures in Public Protection at the University of Gloucestershire with a specialism in homicide, coercive control and stalking. She spoke about her theory of the eight stages of domestic homicide and the steps that lead to these awful acts being committed. Her latest work has been in tracking risk escalation in domestic abuse related suicide, honour killing and a framework for identifying so-called ‘hidden homicides’ – sudden and unexpected deaths where there is a history of domestic abuse.
Anthony Kirk, Head of Service Contextual Safeguarding, Children’s Services, Wirral Council, and Modern Slavery and child exploitation survivor Kieron Platt also spoke to attendees about Project Aegis. This initiative is developing partnerships across professional and geographical borders to combat Modern Slavery. Later in the afternoon, local North Wales theatre company, Cat's Paw Theatre, led an interactive session on their film called ‘One Night’ which looks at the issue of sexual consent and rape for young people and focuses on a dramatised incident occurring between two young people.
Dr Sue Hills of the Alice Ruggles Trust commented: “The focus on children and young people by All for One is invaluable and they have my full support. It is all too easy to look at young people's responses to adversity through the eyes of adults. However, their experience is much more complex, compounding their lack of knowledge of what healthy interactions with others look like with insufficient understanding of when and where to seek help. Developing our understanding in this area is a vital step to improving our responses and enabling us to prevent these crimes.”
Professor Jane Monckton-Smith said: “There is so much work being done to prevent serious harms brought about through domestic abuse, coercive control, and stalking. This conference is a key event to help inform professionals and share that work so we can all learn from each other. We can then transform and improve the ways in which we understand, and respond to, these issues which can only improve things for the victims of these crimes and hopefully rebuild and save lives.”
Andy Dunbobbin, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales added: “Our vision was for this second edition of the conference to contribute in a powerful and meaningful way to highlighting the work being done in communities across the area to help children and young people. We also recognise how important it is that different partners come together to learn from each other how to challenge domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery.
“Events like All for One are important in delivering the positive and life-changing outcomes we all want for young people and child victims of abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery across North Wales, an aim which is a cornerstone of my Police and Crime Plan for North Wales.”
To find out more about the support available to victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery, visit the website of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner: www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/commissioned-services