Congrats to our the Safe & Together Champion Award Winners!

Safe & Together Institute’s mission is to create a global network of domestic violence-informed professionals, agencies and communities. In order to encourage and celebrate the hard work that so many are doing around the globe to implement and promote the Safe & Together Model, we have created the Champions Award.

The Safe & Together Champions Awards are given to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the application of the Safe & Together Model tools and practice to their individual case practice, and to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the implementation of the Safe & Together Model to move their organization and system toward more domestic violence-informed policy and practices.

The two categories are: Champion Award for Excellence in Systems Change Champion Award for Excellence in Case Practice

Europe 2020

When it comes to tackling domestic abuse the Army Welfare Service (AWS) has made a change. Its aim is to overhaul how it responds to and supports Army Families, by creating a simple shift in the mindset of its workers and in the mindsets of its military partner agencies. Key to this shift is the idea that the only person responsible for the suffering caused by domestic abuse is the perpetrator. Determined to push forward, the project initially comprised three Safe & Together enthusiasts: Annette Keogh, Tracie McDermott and Steve Connolly. The team aimed to bring the whole picture into focus for the military and statutory agencies to which the AWS provides documentation. It also seeks to address the underlying patterns of perpetrator behaviour and decrease the overall negative impact on child and family functioning, as well as operational effectiveness.

“That’s the importance of joining the dots between the impacts of DA on OE. Safe & Together has enabled us to articulate, for the first time, by understanding patterns of abusive behaviour as opposed to simply just concentrating purely on incidents of abuse,” says Connolly.

Using S&T tools and skills, AWS continues the drive to raise awareness and DA best practice in the Army and in MoD, striving to improve outcomes for children and survivors and calling perpetrators to account as parents. The journey will take time and the task is to change one thing at a time; aided by the S&T common language and framework. From a small group of three, the AWS, Army and MoD have an ever-growing band of Safe & Together enthusiasts who are determined and energised to keep this project moving forward. READ MORE ABOUT THEIR WORK.

Safe & Together Institute celebrates MoD as Champions of the Safe & Together Model, as Champions of victims, survivors and children.

North America 2019

Jennifer Sosniak became familiar with the Safe & Together Model via our CORE training in 2015. Her ‘a-ha’ moment first came as a survivor where the Model, and its clear language of Partnering, helped her to realize that she was living in coercive control. This realization and the tools she acquired in training helped her to heal and move forward both personally and professionally. Her direct experience as a survivor and working in the Air Force as Security Police, where she was involved in domestic violence calls, led her to a life of advocacy. After leaving the military, Jennifer became a case worker and then a front line screener with Fairfield County Ohio Protective Services.

“You do a disservice to the victim if you do not get those details or if you do not ask questions about patterns of behavior.”

Jennifer’s experience as a case worker solidified in her that specific questions asked in the information gathering stage using the Mapping Tool are vital to giving a full and complete account of domestic violence and its impacts on family ecology and child welfare. The Safe & Together Mapping Tool and the Critical Component of acknowledging the full spectrum of the non-offending parent’s efforts to promote the safety and wellbeing of children, has given her a concrete container to asses and gather vital information for survivor and child safety. She often repeats in her training of other screeners, “The judge will know what the judge sees,” emphasizing the importance of information gathering and mapping perpetrator patterns using the Safe & Together Model.

Jennifer reports that the survivors they work with seem to be more confident and capable of advocating for themselves within systems because of the knowledge that they are given based on the Safe & Together model.

“When you develop rapport and trust with the victim and you are sensitive to what they have been through and you partner with them, children will ultimately be safer. Approaching victims in a more empathetic way, which highlights their protective strengths, makes them feel safe and increases trust.”

Jennifer says that the Model has been empowering to her as a survivor as well as a worker.

Safe & Together Institute celebrates Jennifer Sosniak as a Champion of the Safe & Together Model, as a Champion of victims, survivors and children.

Asia Pacific 2020

Steve Lock is a passionate and committed leader in improving child protection practice. His curiosity in exploring how fathers could be included and engaged more fully in the child protection process led him to further study and a deep interest in related research, including in the area of domestic family violence. It is through this journey that Steve became aware of the Safe & Together Framework and recognised its potential value in supporting improved practice. Steve has been instrumental in building interest in Safe and Together in Queensland, where over 2000 people have now had the opportunity to attend training in the framework, many of these trained by Steve. Through Walking With Dads he has supported the Walking With Dads team to apply the model in four Child Safety Service Centres, with a marked strengthening of practice clearly evident. He has also applied the approach in the context of Communities of Practice as a means to train, mentor and support key stakeholders in applying a domestic and family violence informed approach. Feedback from participants in the Communities of Practice has been extremely positive. In his current role as Practice Leader (Domestic Family Violence), he has been active in looking at opportunities to embed the principles of the approach in the everyday practice of Child Safety Officers across the state.

Steve is highly skilled and generous in sharing and encouraging learning. By way of example, the nominator recently had the privilege of attending a training session Steve was conducting for one of their teams in relation to implementing a domestic and family violence informed approach through application of the Safe & Together principles at the point of intake. “Steve engaged the group very effectively, was highly respectful in responding to questions, created an atmosphere of curiosity that encouraged questions and over the course of a day supported those there to see how by applying this approach they could make a real difference from the earliest point of departmental contact. The team returned from the training with a commitment to apply what they have learnt and have done so. I also work closely with members of the Walking with Dads team and note the impact of Steve’s mentoring and ongoing support in building very skilled and passionate practitioners.”

Emma Rogers has been a Safe & Together champion. Promoting, coaching, mentoring and training the Safe and Together model for the Department as a Walking with Dads Project officer and as DFV Senior practitioner for the state, region and service centre. Emma has promoted Safe & Together as a model to be used in the ISR and Perp mapping has become a common tool used at local ISR meetings including the HRT.

Emma is a Safe & Together trainer and has provided 4-day and 1-day trainings across Queensland for Dept and Non-government agencies. She has also co-facilitated 4-day training with the Team Leader from CADA DFV Service and will be co-facilitating with CADA in October. She has facilitated Community of Practices using the Safe & Together Model in Mt Isa, Sunshine Coast and has provided Community of Practice training for the Sunshine Coast.

Emma has been instrumental in supporting Caboolture CSSC in changing practice to DFV informed practice by promoting the Safe & Together Model and embedding the model for Child Protection workers in their everyday practice.

In particular, Emma mentored and coached child protection workers to use the six steps of partnering and to be partners with mothers and children for safety which now is the way of working with DFV survivors in Caboolture CSSC. Emma has promoted and organised many local ISR using the perp mapping and case plan grids to hold fathers accountable and responsible, to understand risk, create safety and promote behaviour change. Emma prides her DFV work on the foundation of partnering with survivors and that they lead how we intervene with the perpetrator and she creates Case plan grids in collaboration with mothers and children and consults with them after any engagement and intervention with fathers to continue to risk manage and create safety and wellbeing for families.

Emma has developed videos with mothers and fathers demonstrating how to use the Safe & Together Model and the positive outcomes achieved when using the Safe & Together Model.

“Due to Emma’s practice experience of working with families using Safe & Together and Mentoring, Coaching and Consulting with staff how to do this Emma has been promoted to a DFV senior practitioner for the Brisbane, Moreton and Sunshine Coast region with her role to promote and embed Safe & Together across this region.

Emma takes a lead on initiatives which is underpinned by the Safe & Together framework. For instance, she is working with us to develop a program for workers in police and probation and parole on how to have better conversations with fathers who use abuse using the Safe & Together Framework.”

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