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    NCDV launches Resources Hub as its first CIC Project

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    NCDV launches Resources Hub as its first CIC Project



    As previously announced, on the 12th April 2021 NCDV has become a Community Interest Company (CIC).

    While this important change of status is a further chapter in our organisation’s evolution, tens of thousands of our clients, collaborators and supporters will be, I am sure, delighted to see public interest now officially embodied in our fundamental structure.

    For nine years NCDV ran as a limited company, even though the income we made was put back into service enhancements and projects to help victims and survivors of domestic abuse – including our acclaimed in-house pro bono programme.

    Our founder, Dr Steve Connor OBE, first opted for private limited company status in 2012 so as to bring in much needed fresh investment, business discipline and technology.  When Mark Groves took the CEO’s reins in 2016 investment became critical to our survival. Fast forward to 2021 and NCDV’s strong roots in helping the community require our status to be cemented as a full CIC.

    We can now all be 100% clear that our new public status matches the long-standing public ethos of NCDV. Being a Community Interest Company brings with it the opportunity and the responsibility to refresh not just our own entity but also to rally many other organisations that need a helping hand.

    That is why I announce today our plans to create a hub for victim resources, under the care of our Head of Partnerships and Development, Sharon Bryan, herself a survivor of, and published author on, domestic abuse.

    Sharon has already been busy reaching out to hub organisations who can provide vital front-line support to our clients in many areas: housing, refuge, counselling, mental health, financial advice, support for alcohol and drug dependency and looking after much-loved pets – to name but a few.

    Sharon is also leading a related drive to collaborate with as many other non-front-line organisations as we can – those who can also support NCDV and our mission.  Please find these important organisations listed on our Supporters Page.

    If you think your front-line organisation could be a useful addition to our resources hub then Sharon would love to hear from you: just fill out the simple application form on the NCDV website.

    Sharon’s and my shared vision is that our victim resource hub will eventually bring together all the victim services across the country and, from this base, we will create a searchable database of services allowing victims to contact a specific provider by geographic location.

    This, in turn, will allow us to create a heat map and channel our resources to those areas where we – or they – are needed the most. We will also be able to devote resources to those support organisations who stand in greatest need.

    Let me give you one live example of how things can work.

    How does one small support agency cope with an unusual influx of incoming calls? At NCDV, our First Steps Team deals with over 9000 incoming referrals every month but our actual capacity is 12,000. NCDV’s database system has been created to adapt almost instantly to process and system changes, so we can easily create technical solutions to allow us to answer calls to any agency during an unforeseen flood of calls or even take up the slack during holiday season.

    This is a unique moment for NCDV.  We are hugely inspired by the sharply growing public appreciation of the scale and seriousness of the challenge which domestic abuse presents to our society.

    My message to you is a simple one: join us in our struggle to make domestic abuse socially unacceptable.  Please join our community of interest.

    Please click here to apply to our resource hub.

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    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.”