Academic Study, Short Courses & Training
The original founders of CWASU - Mary MacLeod and Esther Saraga - had a vision of linking research, training and policy development. They both taught in the social work department of the University and had a keen interest in practice being informed by research, long before the concept of 'evidenced based practice' became popular. As a consequence training was a core activity of CWASU for many years, and remains part of what we do.
In the first five years Mary MacLeod and Esther Saraga developed a training-for-trainers course drawing on feminist approaches to child sexual abuse. The course focused on:
- enabling workers to hear and respond to accounts of sexual abuse;
- presenting accurate information on the prevalence of abuse and the fact that the abuser is most commonly a known man;
- addressing the myth of the 'collusive' mother;
- building responses that treated sexual abuse as a crime and supported children and the non-abusing parent/s.
A number of social services departments transformed their policy and practice following participation on this course, by way of cascade training throughout their staff.
Two years later Liz Kelly, working with Andrea Tara-Chand and Robyn Holder, developed the first UK multi-agency training-for-trainers programme on domestic violence in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Aspects of this course, and the manual published from it (Challenging Domestic Violence: A Training and Resource Pack), were taken up, and developed, in many other contexts, including by the Women's Aid Federations.
As well as these major projects, over the years CWASU has developed and delivered training in-house on a contract basis, offering one, two and three-day courses on:
- basic awareness of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault and violence against women more broadly;
- working with adult survivors of sexual abuse in childhood;
- the links between disability and sexual abuse;
- the links between domestic violence and child protection;
- sexual abuse by women;
- child protection policies for refuges;
- perpetrators' programmes;
- developing inter-agency work;
- organised abuse.
These courses were provided for multi-agency groups, and for single agencies including:
- social work;
- health work;
- education including youth work;
- organisations for the elderly;
- children's charities;
- trade unions;
- universities and women's organisations.
More recent training courses provided by CWASU have focused on:
- children's experiences of domestic violence;
- trafficking in women (Stopping Traffic: Developing Minimum Standards for Professionals in the Balkans Responding to the Trafficking of Women and Girls for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation);
- developing integrated responses to violence against women.
Over the years CWASU has played a part in developing training for professionals from a feminist perspective and in encouraging and enabling the involvement of women's organisations working on gender violence in training. In recent years, through our work with the British Council, we have provided training overseas in many countries on the issues outlined above, as well as on research and developing awareness raising campaigns (see Overseas Work).