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The Drive Partnership Commits to Workforce Development and Leadership Programme to Support Professionals from Racialised Communities

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A new Workforce Development and Leadership Programme Report, carried out by H.O.P.E Training and Consultancy), sets out key recommendations to build capacity and opportunities for professionals from racialised communities working across the domestic abuse perpetrator service sector.

Recognising a lack of diversity in the workforce and inadequate opportunities for professionals from racialised communities as a prominent issue across the not-for-profit sector, the Drive Partnership commissioned H.O.P.E Training and Consultancy to conduct research into the views and experiences of nearly 50 frontline staff from racialised communities and over 40 sector leaders working within specialist domestic abuse perpetrator services and organisations.

Through 1-2-1 interviews and group discussions with frontline staff, researchers identified three overarching themes and areas for improvement, including tackling institutional racism; focusing on equality, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I); and addressing feelings of isolation. Researchers also recognised that ED&I was a central focus of sector leaders but identified the understanding and acknowledgement of privilege as an opportunity for further improvement.

Utilising these findings, H.O.P.E Training and Consultancy compiled four key recommendations to address systemic barriers to colleagues from racialised communities in relation to entering the sector, remaining part of the workforce and progressing to leadership opportunities. The recommendations, which the Drive Partnership has committed to implementing, include a pilot leadership programme for staff from racialised communities, a pilot development course for sector leaders, the development of a support network and action learning, and a final evaluation and sharing of findings.

Meena Kumari, Founder & Director of H.O.P.E Training and Consultancy, said: “Working with The Drive Partnership has enabled us to review existing practices and produce recommendations that will empower everyone working across the sector to start tackling this sector-wide issue. By listening to views and experiences, we can ensure that all professionals from racialised communities have equitable access to leadership and development opportunities and that those already in leadership positions are equipped with the skills and knowledge to lead change.”

The publication of the report fulfils the first recommendation of a collaborative research project supported by Drive as part of its National Systems Change commitment to closing the gap in evidence and practice when developing effective and appropriate responses to domestic abuse across racialised communities.

Following the report’s publication, Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director of The Drive Partnership, said: “We are extremely grateful to all professionals for sharing their views, thoughts, and experiences – particularly those sharing challenging experiences of inequality, institutional racism and isolation.   Change is vital, and we are committed to tackling the systems within our organisations and across the sector that limit the potential of professionals from racialised communities.

“We recognise that there is still much work to be done to ensure that services like Drive meet the specific needs of domestic abuse victims within racialised and minoritised communities, including responding effectively to perpetrators of domestic abuse across all communities”.

“Only once leaders and professionals in our sector represent the communities we seek to serve will we be able to create lasting change. We are committed to working in collaboration with H.O.P.E Training and Consultancy, as well as other ‘by and for’ and specialist organisations, to implement these vital recommendations”.