Dugmore & Brooks-Lewis

Abstract title: When going alone is not an option – Workforce interventions from NHS to University

Keywords: Collaboration, Experience, Mainstream, No barriers, Students

Sexual Violence in recent years has gained momentum in the media and all public sector organisations are now aiming to meet the need of survivors from Operation Yewtree involving Jimmy Saville to the Jay report into Rotherham 2014.

The office of national statistics noted in 2016 “The proportions of adults reporting experience of abuse during childhood tended to increase with age. For example, adults aged 16 to 24 and 25 to 34 reported lower levels of any sexual assault (3% and 5%) than those aged 45 to 54 and 55 to 59 (both 9%). It is difficult to determine whether this indicates a reduction in the prevalence of child abuse in more recent years or whether it is due to survivors being more willing to disclose past abuse the further in time they are away from the experience.”  This paper highlights the needs of students who are survivors of sexual violence, need good robust services that respond at the point of distress (Gender and Women’s Mental Health DOH 2003).  This project took place at Loughborough University and was funded by the University, using private trainers who were trained in delivering the Department of Health Sexual Abuse programme. This paper aims to demonstrate that, through robust policy good clinical governance and training of workforces, skills can be shared to improve outcomes for survivors of sexual violence through early intervention (Thibodeau, M., Lavoie, F., Hebert, M., & Blais, M. (2017). Training the workforce to work effectively with students who have experienced sexual violence, validates the experience of the student, and enables them to move forward.

The project was three fold: firstly, there was the development of policy on managing sexual assaults; secondly, to deliver training to staff; and thirdly to provide on-going supervision to staff hearing disclosures. The training was delivered over a 2 year period to 120 staff, by external trainers who were clinical experts in the field of abuse. The training took place over one full day to give participants time for reflection. The most quantifiable issue was not asking the question, but what to do with answer. The findings identified that staff needed support in dealing with disclosure and Policy needs to be in place. Training is the first step, with on-going support being essential. Implications for practice include: identifying abuse at an early stage can improve outcomes for victims; all training and policy comes with risk; and policy may lead to greater disclosures and recording of disclosures. The Department of Health suggests there is evidence of re-victimisation of clients by not asking the question (Natcen 2011).


Author 1: Lois Dugmore

Nurse Consultant – Dual Diagnosis

Herschel Prins Centre

Glenfield Hospital

Groby Road

Leicester LE3 9DZ

Tel 0116 295 3028

Mobile 07795 414184



Author 2: Lisa Brooks-Lewis

Mental Health Support Team Manager

Bridgeman Building

Loughborough University

Epinal Way Loughborough

Leicestershire LE11 3TU.