August: Dawn

Dawn began her career working in communications for the Women's Royal Air Force in 1975. Her career went on to include roles such as Research Associate for the Department of Epidemiology and Medical School at Newcastle University, Refuge Manager, Project Manager for rural development domestic abuse services, Service User Involvement Development Worker for Mind and now Idva with Foundation Domestic Abuse services.

What made you decide to work with people experiencing domestic abuse?

I came from a background where domestic abuse was my ‘normal’.  I decided that as an adult if I really wanted to effect change then I had to use my experience to make a difference.

What is the biggest challenge Idva’s face at the moment?

As ever in the voluntary sector, diminishing funding opportunities to ensure we have the capacity to provide the level of services required.

What keeps you going when the work gets tough?

A positive approach, humour, great colleagues and a Manager who is consistent and supportive.

What are you most proud of so far?

As an Idva, setting up the Rainbow Wellbeing Support Group at Foundation.  The group have developed a model for peer support Rainbow Recovery called STAGES: survive, thrive and get even stronger. This focus enables individuals to use group support to effect positive change on a daily basis. 

If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering your career, what would it be?

Passion and commitment are fundamental to the desire to undertake the Idva role but you must ensure you get the training and support needed to manage the demands involved.

Do you know a professional who has gone above and beyond to change the response to domestic abuse and keep survivors and their families safe? Nominate someone for Star of the Month by emailing communications@safelives.org.uk with ‘Star of the Month’ as the subject line.