Tickets to AAFDA’s Annual Conference 2020!
POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 – NEW DATE TBC
Chair and speaker:
Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales
Nicole is the former Chief Executive Officer of Standing Together Against Domestic Violence; an organisation focused on creating a coordinated community response to domestic abuse in West London. Nicole has worked in domestic violence policy and intervention for over 20 years. She began her career at the Alabama State Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the United States. In 1999, she came to London as an early worker at ADVANCE, one of the first advocacy (now IDVA service) services in the UK. In 2000, she began working at Standing Together, expanding the coordinated community response efforts into health settings. After returning to the UK following two years working in the United States at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, she was part of a small group of individuals and organisations that developed and delivered the nationally accredited IDVA training programme. Her freelance work has included clients such as the CPS, Refuge and multiple local authorities, individual refuges, outreach and IDVA projects. She worked at Refuge as a Senior Operations Manager before becoming the CEO at Standing Together in 2014. She was appointed the Domestic Abuse Commissioner in September 2019. She has a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Public Administration.
Other speakers include:
Dame Vera Baird DBE QC,
Victims’ Commissioner (VC) for England and Wales
Appointed on 24 June 2019 for a three-year term, Dame Vera is responsible for championing the interests of crime victims and witnesses and reviewing the operation of the Victims Code of Practice (the Code).
The Commissioner’s role is independent of government, although she was appointed by the Justice Secretary, in consultation with the Home Secretary and Attorney General, through an open recruitment exercise.
As Commissioner, she will meet regularly with ministers, the judiciary, heads of criminal justice agencies, Chief Constables, Police and Crime Commissioners, victim organisations and voluntary groups. She will undertake reviews into victim services and report on how agencies are complying with the Victims’ Code
In taking up the role, Dame Vera draws upon a wealth of experience combining political, legal and police expertise. She has a lifelong interest in fighting injustice and passionately believes our criminal justice system can only be considered successful if it delivers justice to both victim and offender.
Dame Vera is the former Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria having been elected to the post in 2012, and then re-elected in 2016 with a majority of more than 120,000. She was renowned as a strong voice for the North East, speaking up for Northumbria Police force, partners and communities at a local and national level.
She serves in voluntary roles as an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law at Northumbria University, Visiting Professor of Legal Practice at Newcastle University, Visiting Law Professor at London South Bank University and as an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford and Durham University Law School.
Dame Vera previously served as Labour MP for Redcar from 2001 to 2010. She was a Government Minister from 2006 to 2010 and Solicitor General from 2007 to 2010 – the House of Common’s most senior law officer. As Solicitor General she was closely involved in criminal justice policy and legislation and is particularly proud of her role in taking the Equalities Act 2010 through its House of Commons stages
In 2017 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to women and equality.
She’s also the only honorary woman member of the Durham Miners’ Association as well as a Patron of charities RESPECT, Operation Encompass and Action After Fatal Domestic Abuse.
Speaking upon appointment of her new role as Victims’ Commissioner, Dame Vera said: “It’s an honour to have the chance to work with victims and witnesses to ensure that their voices are heard everywhere it matters.”
Clinical Psychologist/Psychotherapist (Former Police Officer – 18 years in an Investigations Unit)
Member of the Domestic Homicide Review Team, Portugal
Member at the National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and Protection of Children and Youth
United Nations Civilian Police Officer in East Timor (2000/2001) – Investigations Unit
Trainer on risk assessment, management and DHR´s for the Police, Lawyers, Prosecutors and Judges.
Guest speaker at several national and international events on issues related to Domestic Violence, Risk Assessment and Domestic Homicide Reviews.
Invited professor at several Universities in Portugal on issues related to Domestic, Sexual, Interpersonal and Trauma treatment.
Author and co-author of the Risk Assessment Tool for Police Forces and Courts in Portugal, several books, studies and articles related to domestic violence, risk assessment and homicide in domestic violence and sexual violence.
Families bereaved by fatal domestic abuse:
Les & Ann Van Hagen:
Les Van Hagen is the father of Suzanne Van Hagen, killed on 8 February 2013. Les and his family have spent 7 years battling the process in order to show that Suzanne was killed by her partner before he then died of an overdose. First, they persuaded the local Community Safer Partnership to convene a Domestic Homicide Review and successfully appealed to the Coroner to delay the inquest until the DHR was finished. The DHR revealed extensive domestic abuse perpetrated over time, on Suzanne, by her partner John Worton. The inquest returned an open conclusion but the family battled on. Eventually, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) which had originally rejected the families claim, changed its mind when the family appealed. CICA accepted that Suzanne had died by a violent act of domestic abuse. Les and his family also challenged the police on three matters, including the inadequacy of the investigation following Suzanne’s homicide. The police held their hands up and the family will receive a public apology. Les’ story shows how hard families have to work in order to secure basic justice. It takes its toll and it consumes vast amounts of time and energy.
Peter & Julie Dury:
Julies daughter Tara died on 25th October 2016. Although her partner handed himself into police saying he had killed his girlfriend; Tara had been beaten extensively, but when the pathologist recorded her death as cocaine toxicity the police decided to believe her assailant that she was a drug user, despite all other statements to the contrary.
They have been through a high court family hearing, a crown court trial, a coroner’s inquest and a CICA tribunal. They complained to the IOPC because although the police had visited Tara weeks before she died due to her mother concerns, Nottinghamshire Police did not refer themselves. Only when the IOPC got involved two years later did they decide to do a death and serious injury investigation. They have also complained to the police that the investigation failed to fully investigate Tara’s death and ran the investigation in a manner to minimise charges against the perpetrator. They currently await the outcome of these investigations.
Following intervention from AAFDA a domestic homicide review was ordered a year after Tara’s death but has yet to be published.
They believe that the only reason Tara consumed cocaine that night was because of the beating and continue to fight to get the perpetrator charged accordingly.
Melony & Hayden Slack
Martin & Claire McGrath
To give you an idea of what to expect, you can view AAFDA’s 2019 Conference here.