Learning from the ADVANCE intervention: cycle one

The three intervention development staff working on ADVANCE have reviewed the first cycle of work having run the intervention in three sites in England. Their key learning points were derived from feedback from staff, clients and their own weekly contact with facilitators of the group. Key learning points include:

  • Sites giving similar feedback strengthened the view that some changes needed to be implemented
  • Amendments needed to be incorporated while ensuring continuity of the programme
  • Seeing facilitators prepare and provide sessions highlighted if materials really worked
  • Participants took away more from the material than was originally anticipated due to the skill of facilitators
  • Reducing the amount and complexity of material in each session has been an important piece of feedback
  • Facilitators are used to listening to clients and not rushing through exercises therefore reducing the amount to cover in sessions was recommended
  • Facilitators found it hard to decide which exercises should be discarded for the next phase as they were seen as all being beneficial
  • The men varied in how much they talked in a session so time to cover each week’s material may vary considerably.
  • Using less wordy verbal tasks does not diminish the impact of a session
  • Using more action and reflection in key messages is beneficial in sessions
  • It is important for the ADVANCE development team to trust that facilitators and clients will understand the main points of each session
  • Good feedback and engagement from staff and participants has increased confidence that the programme can work
  • Feedback indicated that facilitators liked the ADVANCE programme and believed it enhanced their practice

Here are some quotes made directly from the ADVANCE developers about their learnings from cycle one.

‘Much of the feedback which has resulted in amendments was coming from more than one site which reassured me that it was sensible to make the change. It was important to maintain the designed elements and flow of the programme while making amendments which address the delivery experience.’ Sara Kirkpatrick RESPECT

‘Much of the time the participants were taking more from the material than had initially been considered, a great deal of this being linked to the group work skills and sophisticated understanding of both substance use and intimate partner abuse from the facilitators.’ Professor Liz Gilchrist University of Worcester

‘Sessions packed with exercises and tasks created pressure on workers who are used to taking time to listen to clients – moving the session along could seem abrupt and dismissive of clients’ discussion.’ Dr Mary McMurran Independent Psychology Consultant




Kylie Dembrey murder in Berkshire: Police review domestic abuse case

Police are reviewing a domestic violence case. Mark Sinclair murdered his on/off partner Kylie Dembrey.  Thames Valley Police’s will aim to establish if “there are any areas or lessons to be learned” from this case because despite there being a safety plan in place this has not prevented the murder. Sinclair was sentenced to 21 years in prison after he strangled Kylie Dembrey until she was unconscious and then stabbed her in the neck and heart.

Judge Paul Dugdale who sentenced Sinclair at Reading Court commented that through the couple’s 12-year, on-off relationship, Sinclair had “punched, kicked, manhandled, and spat” at his girlfriend and the murder came “at the end of an extensive history of regular violence… in a domestic context”.

Sinclair’s sentences for his convictions against Ms Dembrey “varied from a community order with a domestic violence programme in 2008, to a prison sentence in 2012”, the court heard.

You can read more about the case here.

UK Channel 5 documentaries highlight the effects of domestic violence

A new documentary was aired  in the UK by Channel 5 which focuses on domestic violence.  Two women Hazel and Kellys’ stories are told using footage gathered by the police officer’s body cameras who attend the scene, taped recordings of the women’s 999 calls and interviews with the women in the months that follow their last assaults. Both women now have restraining orders, further harassment has occurred and both discuss a persistent feeling of being unsafe.

You can access the programme The Abused here. You can access another documentary on Channel 5 focusing on how to leave an abusive relationship safely here.