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The Drive Partnership announces our Advisory Group members for a new phase of National Systems Change work to co-design specialist responses to domestic abuse and extends thanks to our Interim Chair for their foundational work in establishing the Advisory Group forum

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The Drive Partnership is pleased to announce an Advisory Group alongside the co-design groups for a new phase of National Systems Change work to co-design specialist response to domestic abuse. Thanks to further funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and Treebeard Trust, the Drive Partnership is partnering with specialist by-and-for organisations and experts to co-design improved responses to perpetrators of domestic abuse across Black African, Caribbean and Mixed Heritage communities and across South Asian communities. Central to this work, the Advisory Group will act as a critical friend in the process of shifting power in commissioning spaces, developing culturally specific responses for Black African, Caribbean and Mixed Heritage communities and South Asian communities, and supporting the development of cultural competency across the perpetrator services sector. 

The Advisory Group was first convened in December 2023, with initial phases of work development and direction-setting taking place in January 2024. In the following months, Dr Olumide Adisa, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Suffolk, and Complex Systems Theory Lead, VISION Consortium at City University of London, set strong foundations for the development of the work as Interim Chair to the Advisory Group. Dr Adisa has led the Group in establishing ways of working, developing a shared language document, and embedding a consensus building framework. She has set the scene for the Advisory Group’s direction of travel and supported the appointment of longer-term Chair roles to carry this work forward. 

Tina Patel, Head of National Systems Change at The Drive Partnership, said: “We are grateful for Olumide’s expertise and guidance in establishing the Advisory Group and its purpose during the important development phase. Olumide has played a central role since the inception of the Drive Partnership’s National Systems Change work to improve responses to domestic abuse across racialised communities. It has been incredible to have not only her ongoing support and collaboration throughout the development of the work, but to have her guidance and expertise at this important milestone of launching a new phase of co-design; which is the culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and input of so many partners.”

“The progress achieved in the past few months proves that bold collective efforts can propel systems change endeavour. Working with the Drive Partnership on this ambitious project has been a privilege. I have been in awe of the incredible experience and expertise in the Advisory Group and the wider co-design programme. I am confident that each member will bring their own change-making energy to the endeavour.” 

Dr Olumide Adisa

As the work now moves to its next phase, the Drive Partnership is pleased to welcome two new Co-Chairs for the Advisory Group:  

  • Maria Duah, Director at Silenced, a by-and-for organisation supporting Professionals, Parents and Carers to understand children, young people and adults who are using violence and abuse in their relationships with their parents and carers (child/adult to parent abuse) and intimate partners through research, training and campaigning. Maria will bring a wealth of experience and expertise in designing responses to domestic abuse with a systems theory approach, which is central to the Drive Partnership’s National Systems Change work and aims. 
  • Meena Kumari, Director and Founder of H.O.P.E Training & Consultancy, who has played a vital role in the inception, development and progression of the Drive Partnership’s National Systems Change work, particularly in leading its focus on workforce training and development. 

“I am delighted to become Co-Chair for the Advisory Group and thanks again to Dr Adisa, for all the foundational work that went into setting up the group. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Advisory Group as well as working with the Drive Partnership and Meena Kumari (as Co-Chair). Silenced believes in campaigning for systemic change, and taking part in this work aligns with our mission to bring greater awareness and meaningful change for families.”

Maria Duah

“I am very happy to be part of the Advisory Group for racialised communities as a Co-Chair and to be working closely with Drive Partnership and Maria Duah (as Co-Chair). H.O.P.E is all about equitable spaces and long-term systems change, thus this work is something we are very excited to be part of.”

Meena Kumari

The two Co-Chairs will lead an expert network of Advisory Group members, which includes by-and-for organisations and/or individuals (experts by experience) including:  

  • Viji Rajagopalan, co-Director at Silenced
  • Aoife Delaney, Senior Women’s Coordinator at The Traveller Movement 
  • Mel Thomas, Individual Consultant
  • Nikita McKee, Domestic Abuse Coordinator at SafeNet: “It is so crucial to work equitably across a variety of systems and I am excited to be a part of this systems change process in driving this forward” 
  • Michaela Queensborough, Director of Operations/Deputy CEO at Sheffield African Caribbean Mental Health Association (SACMHA). SACMHA is a leading culturally specific mental health charity with three decades of service, founded to address the specific health and social care needs of Sheffield’s African and Caribbean communities: “As a proud disruptor of racial inequality in VAWG, I am delighted to be collaborating with the Drive Partnership and the awesome collective that is the Advisory Group and Co-Design Groups to co-create a culturally informed approach to strengthen our responses to perpetrator interventions”. 

Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of the Drive Partnership, said: “Launching this new phase of co-design and collaboration would not be possible without the time, dedication and expertise of every person that has been involved in its development since inception, and we are so grateful to each of the members of both the Advisory Group and Co-Design Groups at this important milestone as we work towards addressing systemic gaps and ensuring that responses to domestic abuse meet the needs of all communities.”  

The Drive Partnership’s National Systems Change work identifies systemic gaps and brings together the insights of victim-survivors, service users, practitioners, specialist organisations, researchers, and policymakers to support the development of sustainable, national systems that respond more effectively to all perpetrators of domestic abuse and increase the safety of all victim-survivors.