10 Years Working For Calan DVS – An Interview with Julia Ward
Throughout this year, to commemorate 10 years of Calan DVS, we will be sharing 10 stories over 10 months. Our first story is about Julia Ward who today is Calan’s longest serving team member.
Julia first joined Neath Women’s Aid back in January 2009 as a volunteer. Prior to this, she had worded for nearly 27 years in BT as a team manager in broadband.
She had enrolled on a 3-year degree course in care and to complete the degree needed to provide “on the job” examples and observations for parts of its syllabus. Julia was placed in a Neath refuge where she initially provided support to the refuge workers. She took up the role of Domestic Abuse Support worker in June 2010, where she continued to work in Neath refuge supporting women in refuge who were fleeing domestic abuse.
Julia completed her degree with a First Class Honours and continued to work as a support worker in refuge for Neath Womens Aid until they merged with LLiw Valley Womens Aid in 2012.
Calan Career Progression
To broaden her experience in domestic abuse in 2014, Julia started to work in Calan’s Community Services as a support worker and then took up the role of Community Services Team Leader in January 2017. During her time in Calan, as well as supporting women and men who have been subjected to domestic abuse, she has been Health and Safety representative for refuge as well as delivering numerous domestic abuse training programmes. She has also represented Calan at MARAC. In February 2020, Julia was given the opportunity to train in the specialist domestic violence and abuse training, support and referral programme for general practices called IRIS and was seconded to the role of IRIS Advocate Educator in May 2020.
Today, she continues to work with IRIS as the Senior IRIS Advocate Educator (AE) where a team of three AE’s and three clinical leads provide in-house DVA training for general practice teams throughout Swansea Bay. Calan works in partnership with the health board to provide general practices with the knowledge to recognise domestic abuse, and to offer those patients who are affected by it a direct referral pathway of support to their own AE. Julia’s role involves working alongside a clinical lead to train general practices in the complexities of domestic abuse, and to learn how it may be affecting the health of their patients, and how receiving support by referring them into herself and her colleagues can help to improve their patient’s safety, quality of life and wellbeing.
In Her Own Words
Commenting on her time working at Calan DVS, Julia says: “The merger in 2012 was primarily made to be able to deliver more services to more people affected by domestic abuse and therefore, the biggest change has been to the diversity of services being offered. No longer are we providing services to just women who are victims of domestic abuse we are now providing a plethora of services to women, children, and men from all diversities. Calan can say with integrity it delivers a holistic service, and I am very proud to have had a small part in, and to have witnessed this achievement.
“There have been so many outstanding achievements over the years, it is difficult to single one thing out. One big achievement that stands out was setting up the One Stop Shop at Victoria Gardens in Neath which provided a whole range of facilities to victims and survivors of domestic abuse and was also a place where other complementary organisations could take up residence such as legal advice from an in house solicitor. More recently there has been our Inspiring Families programme which provides a whole family approach to domestic abuse and helps to increase the chances of significant risk reduction as well as the services we provide to male victims of domestic abuse through our Compass Programme and Peer support groups.”
Speaking about what the future may hold for Calan DVS, Julia continues, “I have witnessed that our management team, all employees and CEO Michelle Whelan are passionate to work together to further enhance the services we offer to all victims and survivors of domestic abuse. Therefore, the excellent services we already provide are just the start of us striving towards our vision to work towards safe and resilient communities free from domestic violence and abuse. Watch this space!”