National Centre for Domestic Violence Logo

Please note that Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser so we cannot guarantee the integrity of our website when using it. Please use an alternate browser like Edge or Chrome.

Access ASSIST Online Injunction Database

Click here to leave training feedback


Make a Referral Using the Form Below:


    *Fields required. By submitting a referral you agree to receive updates on the progress of your referral, as outlined in our Privacy Policy.

    Management Team takes on NCDV leadership from long-standing Chief Executive in a new Guildford home.

    Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Management Team takes on NCDV leadership from long-standing Chief Executive in a new Guildford home.


    We would like like to bring you up to date with a series of recent internal developments leading to an exciting new chapter in NCDV’s history. These are echoed by our move to a brand-new office in Guildford (about which more in our next update).

    Mark Groves, our Chief Executive Officer, who joined us way back in 2008, has stepped down to pursue other interests with effect from 30th April.

    It is difficult for me to overstate the scale of Mark’s contribution to NCDV, having steered it through both thick and thin to what it has become today – a fully functioning Community Interest Company of almost 100 people. He is also the technical wizard behind most of our current systems and processes.

    Our sincerest thanks go to Mark for his exceptional dedication and service and our very best wishes for his future success. Our current management team will now lead and run our organisation.

    For those who do not already know them:

    Spearheading the development of our national partnerships and media profile is Sharon Bryan. Sharon is a qualified IDVA and has experience of working both front line and strategically across the VAWG sector. Sharon’s development remit encompasses new and existing partnerships with police forces across England and Wales, women’s organisations, prisons and trades unions.

    Leading our all-important police and agency training is Charlotte Woodward a qualified IDVA and Perpetrator Manager. Charlotte’s eight strong team trains the police as well as agencies and organisations who work with people affected by domestic abuse across the country.

    Behind the scenes Suzanne Collins heads our central First Steps Team and Nunzia D’Apolito our process serving team.

    Giving responsibility to our NCDV front line teams is, in my opinion, the very best way of ensuring that we continue to deliver a rapid, efficient and high-quality service to all those who need our services.
    Collectively the team has over 60 years experience in this sector.

    I look forward to sharing further news of our progress and specific development initiatives in due course.

    Jon Chappell, Director NCDV

    Share This Article

    Reading Time: 2 minutes
    Reading Time: 2 minutes
    Reading Time: 3 minutes

    By Fiona Bawden, Times Online (8th May 2007)

    “Steve Connor, a student at City Law School, is a man on a mission. Six years ago he was a fairly directionless 27-year-old. Today, as well as taking the Bar Vocational Course, he is chairman of the National Centre for Domestic Violence, a ground-breaking organisation that he dragged into existence after a friend could not get legal help to protect her from an abusive partner.

    Connor’s route to the Bar has been circuitous. In 2001 he returned from a year in Australia (he says that he would not dignify describing it as a gap year), and took a job as a process server in South London. The job (“I just saw it advertised in the paper”) was not quite as dull as it sounds. On one occasion he was threatened with a machete, on another, he was nearly stabbed by a man he had arranged to meet on Clapham Common to serve with a non-molestation order: “He’d seemed really friendly on the phone…”

    The turning point in his life came when a friend, who was being abused by her partner, turned to him for support. Connor went with her to the police. She did not want to press criminal charges so the police suggested that she visit a solicitor to take out a civil injunction. “We must have seen 12 solicitors in a morning. We just went from one to the next to the next to the next. Everyone was very eager to help until we sat down to fill in the forms for the legal aid means test,” he says. The woman, who had a small child, did not qualify for public funding. But, Connor says, her financial situation as it appeared on paper did not bear any relation to her financial situation in reality. “She had a part-time job and she and her partner owned their home. Yet she didn’t have any money. Her boyfriend was very controlling and controlled all the money; he kept the chequebooks and didn’t let her have access to the bank account.”

    The injustice of the situation got under Connor’s skin. “I just couldn’t believe that there was no help available to people who did not qualify for public funds but could not afford to pay.

    I just kept feeling that this must be able to be sorted if only someone would address it.”That “someone” turned out to be him.

    In 2002, thanks entirely to Connor’s doggedness, the London Centre for Domestic Violence was formed. It started out with him and a friend, but is now a national organisation, covering 27 counties, and has helped approximately 10,000 victims last year to take out injunctions against their partners.

    NCDV now has nine full-time staff, 12 permanent volunteers and has trained over 5000 law and other students as McKenzie Friends to accompany unrepresented victims into court. We have also trained over 8000 police officers in civil remedies available regarding domestic violence. The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) has branches in London, Guildford and Manchester and is on track to have branches in 16 areas within the next two years.

    NCDV specialises exclusively in domestic violence work and could be characterised as a cross between McDonald’s and Claims Direct. The high degree of specialisation means that its processes are streamlined: clients can be seen quickly and the work is done speedily and cheaply. “Sometimes, we will have one of our trained McKenzie Friends at a court doing 10 applications in one day,” Connor says.

    Clients are not charged for the service. NCDV staff take an initial statement: clients who qualify for legal aid are referred to a local firm; those that don’t get free help from the centre itself. It runs on a shoestring, heavily reliant on volunteers and capping staff salaries at £18,000 a year.

    Steve expects to qualify as a barrister this summer and hopes that having a formal legal qualification will give the centre added clout. “We are already acknowledged as experts and consulted at a high level, so I thought it would be helpful if I could back that up by being able to say I’m a barrister,” he says. He is just about to complete a one-year full-time BVC course at the City Law School (formerly the Inns of Court Law School) and, all being well, should be called to the Bar in July. Although Connor sees his long-term future as a barrister, he says that he has no immediate plans to practise. “I want to get NCDV running on a fully national level. Then I may take a step back and have a career at the Bar.”