#MeToo? Are employers really ready to tackle unwanted sexual behaviour?

Over the last month or so, we have seen an explosion in the number of people – mainly women but men too – who are saying they have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour. We purposefully use the term ‘unwanted sexual behaviour’ here, because it is important that it covers the whole spectrum of behaviour from sexual harrassment, right through to rape, which is a serious criminal offence, and everything in between. This is important because the distinctions are not always clear and the impact is not always the same.

Since the first allegations were made about Harvey Weinstein over in Hollywood, we have seen a whole range of similar allegations being made against other people, more often than not in more powerful positions than the people it has been claimed that they have touched, groped or assaulted. The recent #MeToo campaign has quickly highlighted the staggering scale of this problem.

Whether it be in a Hollywood production company, a political party, an elite sport, an estate agency, a law firm, a theatre….or wherever, it has quickly become clear that this is a societal problem. However, because of the bravery of a few people at first, then the more people that followed, it is becoming increasingly clear that this kind of unwanted sexual behaviour is not acceptable and should not be tolerated.

The big problem, of course, is how do we tackle unwanted sexual behaviour?  At LimeCulture, we have been grappling with this issue long before the Weinstein story broke. We wholeheartedly agree that unwanted sexual behaviour is a societal problem that needs to be routed out and confronted. If there is a law that has been broken then if the victim so chooses to report it, it should be investigated and then prosecuted. However, unwanted sexual behaviour is not always as clear cut as that. There will be times when the law alone is not enough, or the victim does not want to report it to the police, and it should be the responsibility of others to act to prevent or stop unwanted sexual behaviour. It will also be for others to protect those who have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour, at whatever end of the spectrum, and respond appropriately to their needs.

So who does that responsibility belong to? Well we know this kind of behaviour often occurs when there is an imbalance of power. When somebody is senior and the other person is junior. When somebody is the boss and the other person is not. When somebody is experienced and the other person is learning. We know that this kind of thing happens in the workplace. Therefore, we think the starting point (and it is just that, a starting point) should be a focus on employers and making sure that organisations take responsibility for the people they employ.  Are they doing everything they should or could they be doing more to tackle unwanted sexual behaviour? Lets start here.

Nobody disputes that employers have responsibility for their employees.  This means that they also have a responsibility to their staff to respond appropriately to any disclosure of unwanted sexual behaviour, be that an act of harassment or a sexual assault.

Most organisations should and probably do have HR policies and procedures to deal with complaints or disputes, which will be dealt with through a disciplinary process. However, are these fit for purpose when it comes to handling allegations of unwanted sexual behaviour? Probably not.

We know from talking to a range of organisations that quite often any complaint that is made would go up the chain of authority….but what if the person who committed the unwanted sexual behaviour is at the top of the tree? Or the line manager who is supposed to be conducting the investigation or handling the complaint? This doesn’t work.  Or what if those in  HR, just doesn’t ‘get’ what all the fuss is about?  This doesn’t do much to create a culture where people feel able to speak up, which is surely what any employing organisations should aspire to.

At LimeCulture, the reason we  think the average HR disciplinary policy is probably not fit for this type of allegation is the sensitive nature of this type of behaviour and the risk and needs of the victim that may result as a consequence of the unwanted sexual behaviour. How you handle somebody who is repeatedly late for work, for example, should not be the same way as a disclosure of sexual violence.

So what is different when somebody discloses unwanted sexual behaviour? Well, over and above supporting them in relation to their employment needs, (e.g., what they need in the workplace to allow them to continue to do their job), an employer who supports that staff member effectively, will also want to consider the wider support needs of that person, particularly if it follows behaviour at the more ‘serious’ end of the spectrum, such as a sexual assault. In addition to their employment needs (they may need time off work, they may need to move desks or even offices), they may also have mental health needs, physical health needs, sexual health needs. They may wish to report their experience to the police, which could end up in a lengthy investigation. They may end up in court, giving evidence in a trial against their perpetrator.

Importantly, the employing organisation should want to ensure that they have acted appropriately when the disclosure was made to them. The organisation will also need to be sure that it’s involvement has not done anything to undermine a future criminal prosecution or contaminated evidence relating to the sexual offence in the event that the employee wants to report the matter to the police at any point either now or in the future. Furthermore, HR or other staff could potentially be called as witnesses in a trial, so robust record keeping will need to be in place to account for any involvement the employing organisation has had in relation to an offence.

In addition to their victim-care responsibilities, all employers will also have to consider their responsibilities for any staff member who is accused of committing unwanted sexual behaviour. This may involve carrying out an investigation internally, it might mean implementing polices and procedures to remove or suspend the accused from the workplace and could include reviewing whether the organisation could have done anything to prevent the behaviour by way of safeguarding.

Sometimes the hardest thing for somebody who has experienced unwanted sexual behaviour is telling another person about their experience. They often feel guilt or shame about their experience or they might be worried that they won’t be believed. This is compounded when the perpetrator is a manager, or in a more senior position.  These factors all contribute to the barriers that stop people coming forward. But now we are seeing the tide is turning and we have to support those people who are brave enough to come forward. If we make it clear to everyone within an organisation that your employers will listen to you, offer you advice and can support you if you have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour, no matter at what end of the spectrum it sits, then we begin to remove – or at least begin to break down – some of those barriers.

It is the complexity around this area that has led LimeCulture to realise that we simply cannot expect all employers to get this right. Our work with other big institutions has shown us just how complex these sensitive issues are to get right. But it is so very important that we do. That is why at LimeCulture are bringing together our partners and trying to find solutions for employing organisations who have a duty not to fail their staff who have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace.

We are currently putting together a package of support for employing organisations that includes:

  • Independent review of organisational policies and practices to ensure they are fit for purpose to handle cases of sexual harassment/violence
  • Developing organisational strategies for tackling unwanted sexual behaviour
  • Reviewing existing HR policies to ensure they are suitable to respond to disclosure of unwanted sexual behaviour including sexual harassment right through to disclosures of rape
  • Training key staff members to respond appropriately to the needs of victims
  • Developing appropriate approaches towards the interviewing of victims and perpetrators
  • Development of case management processes for handling cases of unwanted sexual behaviour

If you would like more information about the support that LimeCulture can provide to employers, please contact us info@limeculture.co.uk

LimeLight Award 2017: The winners are….

The 3rd National ISVA Conference ‘Knowledge & Network’, hosted by LimeCulture took places yesterday (28 September 2017) in Manchester. It was another fantastic event with more than 100 ISVAs coming together from across England,  Wales and Northern Ireland to share knowledge, learn about topics that affect their practice and network with their peers.

LimeCulture introduced the LimeLight Awards last year (2016) to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements of individual ISVAs, ISVA Teams and ISVA Managers who have demonstrated excellence, dedication and commitment to supporting victims of sexual violence through their work.

Baroness Helen Newlove, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales congratulated the shortlisted nominees and announced the winner of each category. The winners were invited to the stage, where they were presented with their LimeLight Award – to lots of applause and cheers from the audience of ISVAs.

Award 1: Outstanding Achievement by an ISVA Supporting Adults went to Barbara Pawson from Arch North East

James Seward, Member of the LimeCulture Independent Advisory Board, said of the winner Barbara Pawson “The three short-listed nominees for this award are outstanding, but the winner of this category has made an exceptional contribution to supporting clients and going above and beyond in engaging with her local community making it safe for people to come forward. 

Photo: Barbara Pawson of Arch North East © 2017 by Geoff Reardon Photography

Award 2: The Vicky Bardsley Prize: Oustanding Achievement by an ISVA Supporting Children & Young People went to Heather Ind of Spring Lodge, Lincolnshire SARC.

“The contenders for this award are all truly fantastic and doing amazing work. The winner has made an outstanding contribution to setting up the service in her area, developing age appropriate supports and been commended by her local police service for her work”

Unfortunately, Heather was unable to collect her LimeLight Award in person. Heather has recently become a mum to a beautiful baby girl. Congratulations Heather on the birth of your lovely daughter.

Photo: Amanda Farquar and Gail Barker of Spring Lodge with Stephanie Reardon and Kim Doyle from LimeCulture holding a “For Heather’ sign! © 2017 by Geoff Reardon Photography

Award 3: Exceptional ISVA Team went to Herts SARC ISVA Team

All the teams nominated for this award are doing fantastic work and they are all demonstrating the value of working in supportive, close-knit teams. The winning team is well-established, high-performing and making a real impact in their local community”.

 

Photo: Dani Reece of Herts SARC ISVA Team © 2017 by Geoff Reardon Photography

 

Award 4: Inspirational ISVA Manager went to Ruth Nash of Ynys Saff (Safe Island) Cardiff SARC.

“All the Managers nominated for this award are inspirational leaders who bring exceptional abilities to their teams. However, the award goes to a Manager who has combined the ability to successfully work with partners even at times of pressure with building a safe, nurturing environment to enable her team to develop effectively”.

Unfortunately, Ruth was not able to attend the LimeLight Awards Ceremony, but Debbie Donaldson (ISVA at Ynys Saff) collects the award on her Manager’s behalf

Photo: Debbie Donaldson of Ynys Saff © 2017 by Geoff Reardon Photography

 

LimeCulture would like to thank everybody who nominated an ISVA, an ISVA Team or an ISVA Manager to make the 2017 LimeLight Awards a great success! We would also like to say congratulations to the other 8 individuals ISVAs and Teams who were shortlisted for the awards across all 4 categories- a fantastic achievement in itself due to the quality of the services provided by the 400 ISVAs and 100+ ISVA Teams working across the UK.

Dame Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, chairing the event said that ISVAs are ‘unmatched’ in the support they provide to victims and survivors of sexual violence to meet their needs, including supporting them through the criminal justice process.

 

Baroness Newlove said she was ‘truly honoured’ to present the LimeLight Awards at the National ISVA Conference. She said, “all ISVAs are winners, but the LimeLight Awards are a wonderful way of rewarding the work of exceptional ISVAs’.
   

   

Photos: Baroness Newlove, Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales presents awards to the LimeLight Awards 2017 winners. (Top Right) Barbara Pawson from Arch North East. (Top Right) Amanda Farquar – Heather Ind’s (very proud) Manager. (Bottom Left) Dani Reece for Herts SARC ISVA Team. (Bottom Right) Debbie Donaldson collects the award for her Manager (Ruth Nash). © 2017 by Geoff Reardon Photography

 

LimeCulture publishes new findings about victims in sexual offences trials being questioned about previous sexual history

Today LimeCulture publishes new findings about unfair questioning of victims about previous sexual history in sexual offence trials.

A survey into Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) and court cases that they have attended over a two-year period – April 2015 – April 2017 – has revealed that Section 41 of the Youth Justice Crime and Evidence Act 1999 is not always being applied in line with Government guidelines.

As a result, LimeCulture – the leading national sexual violence training and development organisation – and Baroness Newlove , the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales are recommending independent legal representation and advice to be made available for complainants in cases where the defence wish to introduce questioning about their previous sexual history, to ensure Section 41 is applied correctly.

Section 41 was introduced in 1999 to protect victims from unfair questioning about their previous sexual history during court proceedings. According to the findings from this new research, proper processes relating to Section 41 JYCEA 1999 were not applied consistently across England and Wales.

The findings also show that complainants are not consistently informed about the intention to question them about their sexual history, which could also mean there is no opportunity for the prosecution to challenge this or to take instructions or to call witnesses to challenge the facts of the sexual history being discussed. As victims of sexual crime do not have access to independent legal representation it is up to the judge or prosecution to ensure Section 41 is upheld correctly. This is not happening in all cases.

The report can be found here.

For any queries about the findings from the new research please contact LimeCulture on 0203 633 0018 or email info@limeculture.co.uk

For press enquiries please contact Becky Roberts on 07925 937080, Jaime Gee on 0161 850 0565 or email becky@jampr.co.uk or jaime@jampr.co.uk

 

 

LimeLight Awards 2017: Shortlisted Nominations Announced

LimeCulture are delighted to announce the shortlisted nominations for the 2017 LimeLight Awards. The winners will be revealed during a special ceremony at the Knowledge and Network Event for ISVAs on Thursday 28 September 2017.

We were once again absolutely delighted by the nominations we have received for this years’ LimeLight Awards. We have received a large number of nominations in each of the four categories.

All of the categories have now been carefully considered as part of the shortlisting process, which was completed in two stages; an initial sift (which selected 6 nominations in each category) and a final sift (which selected 3 nominations from the initial sift in each category). These two stages were conducted independently of one another and by different members of the LimeCulture Core Team so as to be as fair and objective as possible.

LimeLight Awards – Shortlisted Nominees 2017

Award 1: Outstanding Achievement by an ISVA Supporting Adults

This category looks to celebrate excellent practice carried out by UK-based individual ISVAs. This LimeLight Award celebrates the achievements of an individual ISVA supporting adults who have demonstrated commitment, passion and exceptional encouragement and support for their adult clients.

Our 2017 shortlisted nominations for this award are:

  1. Lisa Monks – RSVP
  2. Yvonne Raybone – Amethyst SARC 
  3. Barbara Pawson – Arch North East

Award 2: Vicky Bardsley Prize: Oustanding Achievement by an ISVA Supporting Children & Young People

This LimeLight Award is in honour and memory of Vicky Bardsley, an accredited ISVA who worked at the Rape and Sexual Violence Project (RSVP) supporting Children and Young People. Vicky sadly lost her battle with cancer in 2015 leaving behind her family, many friends and her committed colleagues at RSVP, and a positive legacy for the many sexually abused children and young people that she has supported.

This LimeLight Award celebrates the achievements of an individual ISVA supporting children and young people who has demonstrated commitment, passion and exceptional encouragement and support for their young clients.

Our 2017 shortlisted nominations for this award are:

  1. Hannah Mart – Amethyst SARC
  2. Heather Ind – Spring Lodge SARC
  3. Satinder Kaur – FreeVA

 

Award 3: Exceptional ISVA Team

This award looks to recognise UK-based ISVA teams or services of all sizes and sectors who are leading the way in the provision of ISVA services. This LimeLight award seeks to reward an ISVA team or service that has made a significant contribution to supporting their clients.

Our 2017 shortlisted nominations for this award are:

  1. Victim Support Northern Ireland ISVA Team
  2. National Ugly Mugs ISVA Team
  3. Hertfordshire SARC ISVA Team

 

Award 4: Inspirational ISVA Manager

This category looks to reward UK-based Managers of ISVA Teams or Services. This LimeLight Award seeks to recognise and reward an ISVA Manager who has taken a fresh approach to leading, developing and managing an ISVA Service or Team.

  1. Vicky Green – Rasa Merseyside
  2. Ruth Nash – Ynys Saff / Cardiff SARC
  3. Magdelena Gulcz-Hayward – Gloucestershire SARC

 

The shortlisted nominations will be reviewed by Mr James Seward who is a member of LimeCulture’s Independent Advisory Board. James has been given the responsibility of selecting the winner of each category, which will be announced at the National Conference for ISVAs Knowledge and Network Event for ISVAs on Thursday 28 September 2017.

LimeCulture would like to congratulate each of the nominees that has been shortlisted for a LimeLight Award. With the existence of such a committed and dynamic ISVA workforce, to be nominated for a LimeLight Award is a great achievement and testament to the professionalism of each of the nominees.

We would also like to express our thanks to everybody who took the time to nominate an ISVA, ISVA Team or a Manager for a LimeLight Award. It is clear that there are a whole range of individuals, teams and Managers providing excellent services throughout the country. From reading the impressive nominations, is clear to us at LimeCulture that all of the nominees are truly appreciated by others, whether it be peers, colleagues, managers and/or the people that they support. Well done to you all!

 

Through the introduction of the LimeLight Awards, LimeCulture seek to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements of individual ISVAs, ISVA Teams and ISVA Managers who have demonstrated excellence, dedication and commitment to supporting victims of sexual violence through their work.

We believe that ISVAs deserve to be properly recognised for the important, challenging and professional work they do to support those who have experienced sexual violence. The LimeLight Awards are intended to be a first step in the direction of professional recognition of ISVAs and their services.

Launch of Survey for Male Survivors of Sexual Violence

LimeCulture CIC, in partnership with the Male Survivors Partnership, have today launched a national survey to gather the views and suggestions of male survivors of sexual violence about support services. The survey can be found online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/quality-standards

Funded by a grant from the Lloyds Bank Foundation, the survey will inform a two-year project, which will see new quality standards developed and rolled out across the  UK for service supporting male survivors.

For males who have experienced sexual violation, these new standards and the accreditation process that goes with them will give a layer of reassurance about the quality of the services they are accessing at a time when they are feeling most vulnerable.

In order to support the development of the quality standards we are conducting a survey with male survivors to understand their views and experiences of support services. We have great ambitions for this survey and are keen to have as many men over the age of 18 years old as possible contribute to the survey – this will help us to ensure the new quality standards are informed directly by male survivors and are fit for purpose to meet their needs.  However, we do understand that sharing information of this nature may cause distress and unwanted feelings. Therefore, for anyone wanting support during or after the completion of this survey, support is available via the National Male Support Helpline on 0808 800 5005 or visit www.malesurvivor.co.uk where access to online chat and local face to face service information is available.

This survey will be open for an 8-week period. The survey opens on Friday 21 July and closes on Friday 15 September 2017.

If you would like further information about the Survey – or about any aspect of the project, please do not hesitate to contact Tom Leavesley who is leading this work.

Tom Leavesley, Project Manager, LimeCulture CIC

Tom.Leavesley@limeculture.co.uk

0203 633 0018



 

Do you provide support services to males who have experienced sexual violence?

If the answer is yes, we want to hear from you!

We are holding a Consultation Workshop on Wednesday 19 July (10am-12noon) in London and we are inviting providers of support services for male victims/survivors of sexual violence to join us to discuss the development of quality standards for services supporting males. To book a place at the free workshop please click here.

LimeCulture is working in partnership with Male Survivors Partnership to develop quality standards for services for male survivors of sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation.

Funded by a grant from the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales, a two-year project, which started in May 2017, will see the development of new quality standards which will be rolled out nationally across the UK.

The project involves

  •  A comprehensive review of existing service standards consulting with experts in the field, service leads and commissioners while listening to the views of males who have accessed support about what works.
  •  Design and trial of standards resulting in an agreed framework for services supporting males that will be rolled out across the UK in early 2018.
  • During 2018,  the project will trial an accreditation process to sit alongside the quality standards, supporting up to 10 organisations to meet the quality standards and reach accreditation by 2019.

For males who have experienced sexual violence these new standards and the accreditation process that goes with them, will give a layer of reassurance about the quality of the services they are accessing at a time when they are feeling most vulnerable.

To support the standards development we are consulting with services currently supporting male victims/survivors in order to:

  • Gather information which will enable us to develop standards which are fit for purpose and address the quality expectations of services supporting male survivors,
  • Seek provider views on the scope of the standards and what the quality standards should include,
  • Provide details on opportunity for future engagement including survey of male victims/survivors who have accessed services and quality standards accreditation and monitoring trial.

For more information, please contact Dedicated Project ManagerTom Leavesley (Tom.Leavesley@limeculture.co.uk)

 

LimeLight Awards: Open for Nominations

LimeCulture CIC is delighted to be hosting the 3rd Knowledge & Network Event for Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) on Thursday 28 September 2017. This major event for ISVA Services will be taking place in Manchester.

It is becoming widely recognised that ISVAs play an integral role in providing support and responding to those who have been raped or sexually assaulted. ISVAs have much to share about how to provide the best possible services regardless of whether they are located in the Third Sector, Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) or Statutory Agencies. ISVAs are part of an important workforce that is increasing in size and recognition. This major event will bring together professionals to share knowledge and provide a unique opportunity to network with other members of the ISVA workforce.

At last year’s National ISVA Conference, chaired by Sir Keir Starmer QC MP, LimeCulture introduced the LimeLight Awards to provide professional recognition for the amazing work that is undertaken by ISVAs throughout the UK. LimeCulture is keen to ensure that the outstanding contributions and achievements of these professionals who have demonstrated excellence, dedication and commitment to supporting victims of sexual violence through their work as ISVAs continue to be properly recognised through the LimeLight Awards.

There are 4 LimeLight Awards, divided into three categories:

  • Awards for an Individual ISVA (2 separate awards)
  • Award for an ISVA Team
  • Award for an ISVA Manager

Anyone can nominate an individual ISVA, an ISVA Manager or an ISVA Team or Service by simply completing a nomination form- you can also nominate yourself or your own team. Nominations open on 7 June and close on 31 August 2017.

LimeLight Awards will be presented at a special ceremony at Knowledge & Network: An Event for ISVAs on Thursday 28 September 2017. More information about how to nominate can be found by clicking here

For more information about last year’s LimeLight Awards and the inspirational winners of each category please click here

 

 

Knowledge & Network will include a topical range of speakers, workshops and designated time to network and meet peers. The focus of the event will be aimed at improving operational responses and ISVA practices. The event should be viewed as continued professional development.

To book your place please click here

Supporting male survivors of sexual violence: Call for services to participate in Consultation

Are you a specialist sexual violence service supporting males? Would you be interested in sharing your experiences, views and suggestions with LimeCulture CIC as part of an exciting new project focusing on the support available to men and boys who have experienced sexual violence? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

LimeCulture CIC has been commissioned by the Male Survivors Partnership to develop new service standards for services providing support to males. This 2-year project has recently been funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation.

Training & DevelopmentAs part of the development of the new service standards, LimeCulture is keen to consult with services providing support to males to seek the views of a range of specialist providers about what support is available to men and boys and how it should be delivered.

We are planning to carry out a series of interviews and focus groups with services providing support to males throughout June and early July 2017. We are keen to involve a range of services and are looking for services who would be willing to take part in this aspect of the project.

We are particularly interested in hearing from services that provide the following support to males:

  • 1:1 psychological support
  • Group work/peer support
  • ISVA support
  • Helpline support
  • Forensic medical services (including medical and crisis worker support)

Please note – the services involved in this aspect of the project are not required to be dedicated male-only support services. We would like to seek the views from a range of services that allow males to access their services.

Involvement in the project

  • LimeCulture staff will come to your service to carry out the interviews/focus groups (so that your staff don’t need to travel).
  • Interviews/focus groups will be carried out in a single day (or less if you are a small service)
  • A range of staff must be available to speak to our staff (this will depend on how your service is delivered so we’ll discuss this with you before we arrive!)

Ideally, we would like to speak to a range of staff members within your service, so please ensure that you have agreement from management to take part in this project before putting your service forward!

If your service would like to be included in the schedule of interviews, please contact Tom Leavesley, Project Manager, LimeCulture Tom.Leavesley@limeculture.co.uk no later than Friday 26 May 2017

Please drop Tom an email telling him the name of your service, where you are located and what type of support is available to males at your service.

We hope to involve between 6-8 services in this consultation but this will depend on the number of services who volunteer to be involved in the consultation. It is important to note, that it may not be possible to involve every service that volunteers.

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