A week in the life of LimeCulture Core Team

Here at LimeCulture, our Core Team is busy. There are nine of us that make up the Core Team (Tom, our newest team member, joined us this week!) and we all have dedicated roles and clear responsibilities. Our jobs are different and are based entirely on our professional backgrounds, skills and expertise. We are stretched because of the sheer volume of work that comes to LimeCulture but, we know that we are lucky because the work is exciting and varied…and anyway, isn’t everyone busy in this field??!!

Since LimeCulture was launched in 2011, our team has steadily increased along with our workloads. Our reputation is spreading and our projects have become more varied. In the first few years of LimeCulture’s life, most of our work centred around supporting the professionals who roles it is to respond to sexual violence, such as the specialist sexual violence voluntary sector, sexual violence counsellors, ISVAs, sexual offence police officers, SARC staff. These days though, we find the work that we do is more broad, more diverse, more challenging. Of course, we still provide support to the specialists, and this will always be a key focus for LimeCulture, but we now find that more and more of our work comes from other places too. We are beginning to find that other non-specialist sexual violence organisations are beginning to recognise their responsibilities in this area of work, and they want our support too, which is excellent.

Its important to us at LimeCulture to recognise what we achieve as a team. Its so easy, when busy, to plough through from one week to the next, doing more and more, without ever really taking stock of what you have achieved.  At LimeCulture we have definitely been guilty of this. Our Independent Advisory Board pulled us up on this last year.  They reminded us that we have achieved an awful lot as a team, but don’t remind ourselves often enough. They told us that its important to take stock and look up from the work every once in a while.

So the purpose of this blog post is to help us ‘look up’. We are planning our next Team Meeting and it’s reminded us that its important to celebrate what you have already done, not just focus on the things that you have yet to do. So as part of ‘looking up’, we want to share what our fantastic Core Team have done this week. A single week in the life of LimeCulture.

This week our training team has delivered module 1 of the new Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) Development Programme. Module 1 is three days and focuses on understanding sexual violence, taking first accounts, record keeping, and risk management. 20 delegates who come from 10 different universities attended this course. It was a brilliant 3 days. Challenging, interesting and most of all a significant step forward for universities wanting to improve their response to staff or students who have experienced sexual violence. These people will been selected by their universities to carry out dedicated roles to support people who have experience sexual violence. They will become experts and we are delighted that they chose to train with LimeCulture.

This week we also delivered training at Southampton Football Club, as part of an ongoing contract that we have with the Premier League as part of their player welfare programme. We are contracted to deliver consent training, sexting and sexual health training to all of the 20 Premier League academy players, which includes 14-21 year olds. We are delighted to have been selected as a partner to the Premier League and very much value the work that we do with them. They are an important organisation and are really committed to this area of work. They recognise the important role they have in the lives of young men and are dedicated to ensuring their young players are well supported. We have recently provided safeguarding training to the Premier League staff and it is clear to see how seriously this area of business is.

We are also currently contracted to provide expertise in an ongoing project that we are unable to disclose the detail of, due to the need to ensure confidentiality. However, it is a significant project that has us working hard with a range of other professionals to achieve a very import objective. This week has seen our core team move this project on from the development phase to the next stage. We certainly hope to be able to talk more about this project in the future but at the moment it is not appropriate to do so. The learning that we are gathering is unbelievable. The members of the LimeCulture Team working on this are being pushed out of their comfort zones to ensure that we deliver the best service….and they, along with others,  are certainly rising to the challenge.

Last week we ran a short survey for ISVAs to share their experience of how section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act. We were approached by Dame Vera Baird after the Labour Party held a roundtable to discuss the use of evidence relating to victims’ previous sexual history being introduced into sexual offence cases. We were delighted to support this as we firmly believe that ISVAs hold a range of information that others do not.  It was great to hear that the views of ISVAs are considered to be important. So this week, was spent analysing the results of the short survey in order to pass them on to include in any future debate on how section 41 is applied in sexual offence cases.  As an organisation we have also been asked to share our views with the Ministry of Justice. Before jumping in without proper consultation, we think it important to discuss section 41 with ISVAs and this survey is an extremely useful part of that consultation process.

This week has seen us kick start a fantastic new project to develop new standards for services supporting males. The Male Survivors Partnership (a collaboration of male services Survivors UK, Mankind, Safeline, and Survivors UK) was awarded an £85,000 grant from Lloyds Bank to commission LimeCulture to develop and roll out the new standards. We are absolutely delighted to be involved in this important work. Men and boys who have experienced sexual violence deserve to have high quality support services available to them. The new service standards will have accreditation linked to them. This will allow the services supporting males to show that they have been assessed and meet the quality standards.  We will share more about this project in the coming weeks.

This week also saw us submit a final report to NHS England and their police partners following our independent review of a sexual assault service. It was a fantastic piece of work with a huge amount of learning coming out from it. Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) are close to our hearts and we are always pleased to support these important services move forward. We also found out this week that we had won a contract to support the development of talking therapy services within sexual assault services. An exciting piece of work, which we are delighted to be part of.

Next week our joint (CEOs) are delivering a presentation at the Forensic Europe Expo in London. They are presenting the work that we did on behalf of the Forensic Science Regulator for England and Wales to develop new standards for forensic medical examination following sexual assault. They will also be talking about our new initiative the SAFE Program, which we recently launched (at the Emirates Forensic Event in Dubai) with our partners SceneSafe, experts in the design, manufacture and distribution of evidence recovery systems. The aim of the SAFE Program is to support sexual assault responses outside of the UK. It’s exciting. We’ve had a lot of interest already. So this week has seen us get ready for the 2-day event next week, where we will be exhibiting with SceneSafe.

Our final meeting this week was with the Victims’ Commissioners, Baroness Newlove. We discussed with her the need to improve responses to victims and witnesses. It was a fantastic meeting and we share so many of the same views, ideas and aspirations. It was a great opportunity to talk about the wonderful work of ISVAs, but also to highlight some of the challenges around their role, including the varying standards of provision including around their training; inconsistent recognition of their role and how this workforce can be strengthened moving forward.

Sitting behind all of the work that we do at LimeCulture are the individual members of the Core Team. Whether it be the planning, administrative support, thinking, writing, and delivering that goes into all of our work, it would not be possible without the input of each and every individual member of our fantastic team….they are so good that people want to poach them! Today we’ve had a request to loan one of our staff to another organisation to support them to deliver a project! A fantastic accolade.

LimeCulture delivers Universities UK workshop on responding to sexual violence

LimeCulture was delighted to deliver a workshop for Universities UK focusing on supporting the response to sexual violence. The fully booked workshop took place on 24 March in London with engagement from a large number of universities from across the UK.

The aim of the workshop was to explore how to ensure universities can deliver an effective strategic response to sexual violence (as described in chapter 5 of Changing the Culture) that embeds clear lines of accountability, appropriate governance structures, and understanding and ownership of risk across all relevant university functions.

Kim Doyle, LimeCulture’s joint Chief Executive, explained the multiple challenges for universities in responding to sexual violence.  Recognising that each university has a responsibility to their staff and their students to respond appropriately to any disclosure of sexual violence, LimeCulture emphasised the importance of effective support for victims/survivors –  not solely relating to the educational needs, but also the wider support needs which might include access to a forensic medical examination, psychological therapies and mental health support or, indeed, sexual health services. It could also include a police investigation and potentially a court case as well as internal disciplinary proceedings. Building on the experience of work we have undertaken in this area with the University of Greenwich and Keele University, the UUK workshop explored how to achieve a university-wide response to incidents of sexual violence.

The workshop also included presentations from Ian Munton and Claire Slater (Keele University’s student services) who brought to the workshop the benefit of their own experiences of developing and implementing an effective institution-wide response to sexual violence. Their views and learning proved to be invaluable to colleagues who are involved in this work. Keele University, who has opted to implement the Sexual Violence Liaison Officer – SVLO Model in order to provide an effective response to their students/staff who have experienced sexual violence, have been widely praised for the work they have done in this area.

The feedback that we have received from many of the representatives of universities who attended has been overwhelmingly positive. It is clear that the opportunity to discuss these  difficult – yet hugely important – issues was very much welcomed by the universities who recognise their responsibility and are clearly keen to respond appropriately to victims/survivors of sexual violence.

 

For more information about LimeCulture’s training for University Staff, please visit our website http://limeculture.co.uk/training-development