Staff training to stop Violence Against Women and Girls:
For teams in educational settings to deliver this work in effective ways requires a number of factors. Comprehensive staff training (for ALL members of the educational establishment team), access to innovative resources, access to appropriate local and national agencies to support the work and in-house ‘champions’ for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) are all necessary to ensure positive outcomes. Work that is responsive to and tailored to meet the needs of ‘your’ young people, school culture and local school communities is crucial if the work is to be accurate, appropriate and effective.
Safety planning for staff is also an essential element, as there may be staff in the school that have experienced or are experiencing relationship abuse themselves. In addition to guidance that supports young people in abusive relationships, schools should have up-to-date policies and procedure on staff experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence.
We have worked with regional pilot projects to develop a staff training programme that includes:
- All staff face-to-face training or working group training on Violence Against Women and girls.
- An e-learning module.
- Co-facilitation of sessions with a staff member and a trainer or external expert (a great way to develop the skills, understanding and confidence of staff).
The importance of all staff training:
Taking time to educate staff on Violence Against Women and Girls can impact positively on many areas of life within the organisation. Staff who feel confident in raising the issues, and who are trained to recognise signs as well as addressing disclosures effectively, can deal with issues as they arise which then can lead to the best outcomes for their community. It can also have a positive effect on bullying, relationships across the organisation and group dynamics. Having confident staff can also help to reduce and remove the stigma that can surround Violence Against Women and Girls. Think about the different members of staff that a child meets during an average day at school, they will each have different levels of interaction with the child, and potentially varied knowledge about what life is like for the child. Children may feel more comfortable talking to a receptionist or midday supervisor than to their teacher.
This section of the prevention platform toolkit will offer ideas on what staff teams need to do to achieve the factors mentioned; trained staff within educational establishments who can play a key part to deliver a truly comprehensive and holistic preventative educational programme. In this section there is guidance and useful tools for training staff to learn about Violence Against Women and Girls:
- Information on delivering a comprehensive training programme, including a template training programme and a template training needs analysis.
In the resource database there are also lots of links to education activities and information.
Top Tips for developing and delivering a staff training programme:
- NEEDS: Use a training needs assessment tool to ensure that participants are getting what they need to facilitate an effective, safe and holistic preventative education programme.
- PARTNERS: Work in partnership with local expertise e.g Sexual and Domestic Violence agencies, local authority community safety partnerships etc. They will often be able to support any work or campaigns in your education settings, and will also have the best information regarding local sources of support.
- PLAN: When developing training (or adapting the template given as a part of the AVA toolkit), ensure that the following are a part of any training plan:
- AGREEMENT: Working agreement – a staple in any training session or workshop where you are discussing sensitive sex and relationship issues (see attached training plan here for a sample working agreement).
- CONFIDENTIALITY: Clarity regarding confidentiality – unpick what it really means in the learning environment? You want the learning that the participants undertake to have an impact outside of the training room balanced with a need to be mindful of safety and the right to confidentiality as well as personal disclosure.
- SUPPORT: Ensure the ‘safety net of support’ is clear and accessible, and includes resources that are local, national and web-based. Have posters displayed clearly in staff areas and have details of support services on display in the training room, in training packs, on staff intranets etc. If there is pastoral support offered for staff in the education setting, ensure that these services are accessible for all.
- LOCAL: Populate presentations with local information (statistics, organisational information etc.) For participants to understand how the issues are affecting ‘their’ communities can often reinforce the relevance and necessity of preventative work on these issues.
- ACTIVE: Use a variety of active learning methods (group work, activities etc.) Try out ideas for activities with young people with adult training participants. Asking them to respond to activities as they imagine, for example, a 15 year old they are working with might can bring an invaluable added value to the work, and can also enable the learning of delivery techniques from the training team.
- ONLINE: Use online resources to support your training – online resources for children and young people can be useful training tools for professionals too. Suggest participants have a look at CEOP, ‘This is Abuse’, ‘The Hideout’ website etc.
- EVALUATION: Use creative evaluation methods. Evaluation is really important to ensure you are ‘getting it right’ for all involved, as well as informing future training packages.
- CHAMPION: Identify or better still, become a ‘champion’ in your school / education setting for this work – it’s not as hard as you think!
- UP-TO-DATE: Keep abreast of new legislation, and professional practice guidance releases etc. from expert agencies that work in this field e.g. AVA, EVAW, PSHE association, Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis England and Wales, NSPCC, NCB’s Sex Education Forum etc. – this can be easily done via social media and signing up to e-newsletters.