I work from both a wide-ranging professional and deeply personal set of experiences. My work is informed from wisdom gained through exceptional experience, having stood in the shoes of the traumatised witness and been a professional who has experienced secondary trauma, I am able to offer unique personal and professional insights into the complex issues surrounding sexual violence, trauma, abuse and authentic empowerment.
Called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn, I briefly worked in criminal and family law chambers before moving to maritime and commercial law. Following the abduction and non-return of my child in 1987, I became a founder member of Reunite: The National Council of Abducted Children. Ten years later I founded The Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL) and served as President and Coordinator for the next ten years.
Concurrent to running ACAL, I worked as a consultant and trainer. In 1998, I pioneered, designed and delivered innovative training to legal, law enforcement, health and social care professionals whose work brought them into contact with people who had direct experience of sexual abuse, violence and trauma. This included training regarding how to recognize and deal with secondary traumatic stress. Ensuring my own health and well-being was essential not only for my position with ACAL, but also for my work accepting instructions to take statements from people who had been abused. My specialist area was extreme abuse.
I have also been a witness in the High Court. This proved to be a traumatic experience which motivated me to help empower people to present their evidence confidently in court. Since 1998 I have achieved this by delivering witness familiarisation and report writing skills training.
In 2015, I worked with others on Toolkits 17 & 18 for The Advocate’s Gateway, “Working with vulnerable witnesses and parties in the civil courts” and “Working with traumatised witnesses, defendants and parties”. The Toolkits broke new ground and cover good practice for advocates, practitioners and judges who work with vulnerable and traumatized individuals.
I have been a keynote speaker at many national and international conferences and am a highly experienced media interviewee. I have published articles on issues concerning abuse, trauma, and empowerment.
“the traumatic nature of some cases requires courage and confidence on the part of the witnesses and parties who come forward and resilience, sensitivity, specialist knowledge and health on the part of the professionals who work with them. My passion is to facilitate this.”