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Raising Awareness of FGM & Forced Marriage

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Sadly, this time of year always sees an increase in incidences of Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage, as families of young female UK residents are often taken abroad during their Summer holidays.


Forced marriage is a marriage in which one or more of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will. A forced marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of their parents or a third party (such as a matchmaker) in identifying a spouse.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes forcing someone to marry (including abroad) a criminal offence in England, Scotland and Wales.


Female genital mutilation (FGM), also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and within communities from countries in which FGM is common.

In 2003, The Female Genital Mutilation Act made it an offence for FGM to be performed on UK nationals or UK permanent residents of any age, anywhere in the world, carrying a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment and a fine. This meant that it was illegal for UK nationals or permanent residents to perform or aid FGM abroad, regardless of whether the laws of that country permitted it.


However, it is thought that between 500 and 2000 young female UK residents are taken abroad for FGM during their summer holidays, despite it being made illegal. According to the Nottingham Community FGM Steering Group, at least 200 cases of FGM were reported in Nottingham in 2015, and yet Project Azure (the Metropolitan Police Group responsible for managing cases of FGM) has carried out only 122 interventions since 2008.


Karma Nirvana is an award-winning charity that supports victims of Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage.

The organisation was founded in 1993 by a survivor, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE who escaped a forced marriage by running away from her home in Derby at 16 years old. She was disowned by her family and shunned by her community.

Today Karma Nirvana operate a national helpline that has helped thousands of victims. The helpline receives between 700 – 800 calls per month from victims and professionals seeking advice on best practice. The charity is dedicated to helping victims in immediate danger as well as preventing future cases through awareness raising and training. The helpline is available on 0800 5999247 and the website can be accessed here.


Equation delivers regular training on forced marriage and honour based abuse and FGM. See our current training options here.

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Small Charity Week

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All this week ( 19th – 24th June 2017) is Small Charity Week, and as a small charity ourselves we couldn’t miss the opportunity to acknowledge the work Equation – and countless other small charities – do.


Small Charity Week celebrates and raises awareness of the essential work of the UK’s small charity sector who make an invaluable contribution to the lives of millions of individuals, communities and causes across the UK and the rest of the world.


You may have noticed various posts and campaigns appearing in your social media feeds about the small charities you care about. Here at Equation we aim to keep an active and engaging presence on our digital channels all year round, to highlight the work we do, share insights, and challenge some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding domestic violence and abuse.


Equation’s goal as a charity is for everyone to have equal, healthy relationships, in a society free from domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender inequality.

The fact that 1 in 4 women will be abused by a partner, ex or family member at some point in their lives and on average 2 women a week lose their lives because of domestic violence, means that our work is still essential and – sadly – much needed.

Working primarily in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Equation delivers education to the whole community to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence, promote gender equality and raise aspirations for healthy relationships. We provide practical tools and guidance to support the well-being and safety needs of survivors.

The objectives of Small Charity Week are to:

  • Celebrate the contribution that small charities make to communities throughout the UK and across the world
  • Improve the knowledge, representation and sustainability of small charities
  • Highlight the work of the small charity sector to the broadest possible audience
  • Encourage public giving
  • Work with the small charity sector to develop political engagement at a national and local level


You can support us this Small Charity Week by sharing this post – or our website generally – on your social media channels to help highlight our work, giving us a shout out on Twitter or donating to support our life-changing work.

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Men’s Health Week & Equation’s Services for Men

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This week is Men’s Health Week (12th – 18th June 2017), an annual initiative to raise awareness of key issues surrounding men’s health. This year’s theme is belly fat, and the dangers associated with having excess belly fat as a man. However, the campaign aims to highlight all issues that affect men’s health, including domestic abuse, with a range of information available on their website.

As part of this awareness week, we’re highlighting some of the services available for men through Equation.


Whilst the majority of people who experience domestic violence and abuse are women, it is important to remember that men also experience such abuse and that support for them is available.

Each person’s experience of abuse is unique but if you, or a man that you know, is in an abusive relationship, feelings of confusion, isolation and fear are very common.

Men who are being abused may worry that they will not be taken seriously or may be unsure of whether they can actually be a ‘victim’ of domestic abuse. This can be true for men in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships.


How can Equation help?

Workers can refer men living in Nottinghamshire County experiencing domestic violence and abuse at any risk level (standard, medium or high) to Equation. Men can also refer themselves.

Equation currently supports men experiencing high-risk domestic violence and abuse who live in Nottingham City.  We are not able to offer this support to men living in Nottingham City who are assessed as standard or medium risk, however.  High-risk referrals should be made through the MARAC process. More information about the referral process can be found here.

It is vital that all people experiencing abuse, regardless of gender, age, location or ethnicity, are able to access support.


If you are a woman experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the local 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 0340

If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse, you can call Equation’s domestic abuse service for men on 0115 960 5556

If you are a child or young person experiencing domestic abuse, you can call Childline on 0800 1111

For further information about support available for everybody, please click here.

For further information about Equation’s services for men, please click here.

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A Celebration of Local Services

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The day after a General Election it’s hard to think of anything other than political outcomes and results. But regardless of how you voted yesterday, and of what the results will mean for services such as ours, Nottingham has a huge amount to be proud of, particularly within its voluntary sector.


We wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate our local services and reflect on the achievements of the city in tackling gender-based violence and abuse. Nottingham, we salute you!


Nottingham is a FGM Zero Tolerance City

Following a proposal by the Sheriff of Nottingham, Councillor Jackie Morris, Nottingham declared itself the first city in the UK to take a zero-tolerance stance on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in September 2016.

With an estimated 60,000 people in the UK at risk of being subjected to FGM, and approximately 200 new cases of FGM being reported yearly in Nottingham alone, this decision reflects an important step in the battle to outlaw FGM.

Read more about Nottingham’s stance on FGM here.


First Police Force to Recognise Misogyny as a Hate Crime

After the launch of the Nottingham Citizens ‘No Place for Hate’ report, a hate crime research project in 2014, Nottinghamshire Police and Nottingham Women’s Centre have been working together to tackle misogynistic abuse of women. This led to Nottinghamshire Police becoming the first force in the country to recognise misogyny as a hate crime in 2016.

This is a huge step forward in creating a safer environment for women in Nottingham, one where women can feel comfortable and free to walk the streets without fearing harassment and abuse directed at them simply because they are women. Both the Police and Nottingham Women’s Centre continue to highlight this step with awareness raising campaigns around the city.

Learn more about reporting misogyny as a hate crime here.


Nottingham Women’s Centre

Nottingham Women’s Centre can trace its beginnings to 1971, making it one of the oldest of its kind in the UK. It has evolved significantly over the years, but continues to ensure women have their voices heard.

Their partner organisations, Women’s Aid Integrated Services and Nottinghamshire Sexual Violence Support Services, are also based in the building, making them a one-stop shop for women who need support and advice.

Friendly, welcoming and with a wide range of services and events on offer, Nottingham Women’s Centre continues to enable women in Nottinghamshire to reach their full potential. They’re home to an exceptional Feminist Library too!

Visit the Nottingham Women’s Centre website here.


Reclaim the Night

The Reclaim The Night marches started in the UK on the 12th November 1977, when torch-lit marches were held across England in Leeds, York, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Brighton and London. They were called by the Leeds Revolutionary Feminist Group, who were inspired by news of co-ordinated women-only ‘Take Back The Night’ marches against sexual harassment, held across towns and cities in West Germany on the 30th April 1977.

These marches continue to this day, with Nottingham holding an annual event every Autumn. The Reclaim The Night marches give women a voice and a chance to reclaim the streets at night during a safe and empowering event. The aim is to put the issue of women’s safety in the spotlight and raise awareness of street harassment.

In Nottingham, we know that women experience abuse, harassment and unwanted attention from men on a daily basis while out in public. 1 in 5 women will experience sexual violence. These threats make women feel unsafe and change the way we live our lives – such as avoiding public transport or not going out after dark.

Equation continue to support this march as a way to reclaim our right to be free from these daily abuses and publicly ask our community to join us in demanding a better society for our girls and women.

Read about last year’s Reclaim the Night march here.


Nottingham Community Voluntary Services

Nottingham Community Voluntary Services was established in 1875, and has a proud 140+ year history of helping the voluntary sector in Nottingham.

NCVS aims to improve the quality of people’s lives in Nottingham through strengthening the voluntary sector. By offering training, promotion, meeting spaces and funding opportunities, NCVS supports and develops voluntary action to benefit people in Nottingham.

You can access the NCVS website here.


Nottinghamshire Rape Crisis Centre Rebrands as Nottinghamshire Sexual Violence Support Services

Nottinghamshire Rape Crisis Centre was established over 35 years ago by a group of women concerned about the support available for women survivors of sexual violence, and about the myths and assumptions that were attached to rape. The centre ran for several years with no secure funding, but survived thanks to the hard work and determination of this group of women.

The centre has evolved significantly since then and now offers a wider range of services to both men and women. As a result of this development and expansion, the centre has recently rebranded to reflect the broad range of services available. It is now known as Nottinghamshire Sexual Violence Support Services, or Notts SVS Services for short.

Take a look at their new website here.


Leading Campaign to Support Anonymous Voter Registration

It is fitting that the day after a General Election we reflect on the part Nottingham has played in the campaign to ensure anonymous voter registration is available to all survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

Running parallel with a petition from Women’s Aid, Notts SVS Services led a campaign to highlight awareness of the issue, liaised with The Electoral Commission and ensured visibility for this vital motion. Read more about why anonymous voter registration is so important here.


WAIS delivers change to legal aid system

Women’s Aid Integrated Services were put forward to the Ministry of Justice by Women’s Aid England in August 2016, allowing officials to hear first hand from service users just how the widely criticised rules around legal aid affected and prevented women from seeking legal representation in disputed family court hearings.

The review of legal aid has led to the government announcing that it will now scrap rules requiring survivors to prove they’ve experienced abuse in the past five years in order to apply for legal aid.

The courage of these women now means that others who find themselves in a similar position can access safety and justice through the law. It wouldn’t have happened without them. Read more about their involvement here.



And finally, Equation itself: we have a long and proud history. In 1989 Nottinghamshire Domestic Violence Forum (NDVF) was founded to bring together all the experts working against domestic violence in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

In addition to partnership working, the organisation developed vital services to meet local needs. In 1996 the organisation was the first in the area to establish a central domestic abuse training and awareness programme for local community professionals.

In 2000, we supported the launch of the first 24-hour domestic violence helpline in the country by developing safety information cards that promoted the new local service. In 2002, we delivered our first schools healthy relationships project.  Our work has continually expanded to meet demand.

In 2012 we rebranded as Equation. We maintain our founding ethos of partnership working and our aspirational vision of universal healthy, equal relationships. Equation remains the central local organisation for domestic abuse training and best practice guidance for frontline community professionals, promotion of local domestic violence services and prevention work in schools.

Read more about the impact of our work here.

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Volunteer’s week : Thank You!

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It’s a very special week for Equation, National Volunteer’s Week. We are a small charity and the support of our volunteers makes such a huge difference to the impact of the work we do. To mark the start of volunteer’s week we want to spread our thanks far and wide by sharing with you a few of Equation’s recent volunteering highlights.

Sarah McLoughlin raised over £2000 earlier this year running the London Marathon. Sarah is trainee solicitor looking to specialise in Family Law. She learned about Equation from attending a number of our specialist courses for professionals. Having been impressed she is now one of our dedicated volunteers.

“ Having previously been a volunteer for Women’s Aid, and having worked closely with Equation in that role, means that I’ve seen first-hand the great work that Equation do. It is a charity that I feel very closely connected to and I hope that this is just the start of my fundraising journey with Equation.”

We are very proud of the continued success of our Reel Equality film club. Volunteers Agnes Flues and Filipa Santos work tirelessly with our campaigns co-ordinator, Chloe Cheeseman, to organise and promote Equation’s award-winning film club. We simply cannot thank them enough for all their dedication or applaud them enough for their brilliant work.

Lastly, we just want to say a huge shout out to our administrative volunteers. Working from our humble offices, these brilliant folks don’t get the adrenaline of a fun run or the glamour of the silver screen or live music event. Non the less, their hard work keeps the wheels in motion behind every aspect of we do.

Thanks to the support of our volunteers, every day we get a step closer to reaching our goal for everyone to have equal, healthy relationships, in a society free from domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender inequality. If you want to get involved in supporting Equation’s work against abuse there are three key ways to help: Donate, Fundraise or Volunteer.

Making a donation to Equation is now very easy using our online payment system. Every little helps and £3 could pay for a child to take part in one of our healthy relationship projects.

Fundraising events are a fun and rewarding way to support our work against domestic violence and abuse in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. You can get active and raise money for Equation by joining our team in a local challenge event, get sponsored for an event you’re already doing, or organise your own thing. Check out our featured events and find ideas and inspiration on our website.

Volunteer with Equation and you’ll join a passionate team of people united against domestic abuse. From fundraising to campaigning, there are lots of ways you can get involved. Take a look at our latest opportunities, or get in touch to let us know how you’d like to help.

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Equation Launch New Suite of Training Sessions

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This week we are excited to announce the next step in our journey towards building a society free from domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender inequality: the launch of our new suite of Twilight training sessions.

As an Equation supporter you will likely already be aware of the work Equation undertakes with young people, encouraging them to aspire to healthy, equal relationships. So far we have delivered training to 6000 children across Nottinghamshire.

It is a sad fact that 1 in 5 teenagers in the UK will experience physical abuse (NSPCC, 2016), a tragic statistic only worsened when the impact of domestic and sexual violence is considered. The reported effects on teenagers include reduced levels of self-esteem & confidence, a higher likelihood to experience mental health issues and unsurprisingly, a lack of attendance and ability to concentrate in class (Women and Equalities Committee, 2017). It is hard to imagine how, in their formative years, facing problems such as these wouldn’t have a direct impact on any child’s future prospects as their grades, ability to develop healthy social skills and understanding of relationship dynamics are likely to be affected.

Preventing young people from entering into unhealthy relationships, and assisting in early intervention when prevention has not been possible, is paramount to building an equal society unburdened by the impacts of domestic abuse. This is why we are always looking for more ways to encourage young people to make healthier relationship choices and improve the accessibility to support for those who tragically have already been affected.

Following on from the successes we have had working directly with young people ourselves, we are now striving to further the impact of our work by collaborating more closely and more widely with professionals who work directly with young people. We want to equip these professionals with the knowledge and skills to better safeguard the young adults they work with. This is what our new suite of courses, our Twilight briefings, will be able to deliver.

The Twilight courses are 90-minute training sessions that will educate professionals on the complexities of the varying forms of domestic violence that pose the biggest threat to the young people in our society.  Professionals, such as teachers and youth workers, will not only have a better understanding of these sensitive issues but will also learn how to navigate the barriers to successfully promoting healthier choices to young adults. They will be able to more easily identify who, of the children and teenagers they work with, may be at risk and know how to provide them with access to the support available to young survivors.

These new courses can be delivered to groups of 5 plus within their own work settings for convenience and in either an interactive or prevention style format making them engaging and easily understandable for everyone. You can find more information about the full range of courses on offer here or email our children and young people team for a discussion about the particular issues facing the young people you work with.

Having already had incredibly positive feedback from school staff who have trialled these courses we cannot wait to see the impact we know these courses will have on protecting more young people in our society. We know this is the next step forwards in achieving our goal for everyone to have equal, healthy relationships, in a society free from domestic abuse, sexual violence and gender inequality.

The training delivered by Equation was well-pitched, showing expert knowledge and delivered in an interactive way. There were also practical tips and signs to look out for that could be applied the next day. Highly recommended.

Head of Year 9, Nottingham Academy

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Putting VAWG on the Election Agenda

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Persistently high levels of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, forced marriage and FGM mean that these issues should be a priority for every candidate in the upcoming General Election on June 8th.

EVAW have put together a useful toolkit to locate and contact candidates that you can access here, and we’ve put together a list for you of all the local candidates in Nottinghamshire (see below).

EVAW have also put together a useful summary review of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green Party and Women’s Equality Party manifesto pledges on the subject of ending violence against women and girls. Read the review here.

We’ve already seen a broad coalition of women’s groups write to party leaders earlier this month asking in detail about what they will do if elected to end all forms of violence against women and girls, as it published its own ‘Priorities for Government’ and called on supporters to press their local candidates for commitments.

We urge you to contact your local candidates and find out what they intend to do to end violence against women and girls in this election. Please find below a list of all candidates for each of the seven constituencies that make up Nottinghamshire:


Bob Charlesworth, Liberal Democrat

Gloria De Piero, Labour

Tony Harper, Conservative

Arran Rangi, Green Party

Gail Turner, Independent

Ray Young, Ukip


Leon Duveen, Liberal Democrats

John Mann, Labour Party

Annette Simpson, Conservative Party

Nigel Turner, Independent


Tim Hallam, Liberal Democrats

Fran Loi, UK Independence Party

Greg Marshall, Labour Party

Pat Morton, Green Party

Anna Soubry, Conservative Party


Carolyn Abbott, Conservative Party

Vernon Coaker, Labour Party

Rebecca Connick, Green Party

Robert Swift, Liberal Democrats

Lee Waters, UK Independence Party


Ben Bradley, Conservative Party

Alan Meale, Labour Party

Sid Pepper, UK Independence Party

Anita Prabhakar, Liberal Democrats

Philip Shields, Independent


Xandra Arundel, UK Independence Party

Robert Jenrick, Conservative Party

Chantal Lee, Labour Party

David Watts, Liberal Democrats

Nottingham East

David Bishop, Elvis and The Yeti Himalayan Preservation

Kat Boettge, Green Party

Robert Hall-Palmer, UK Independence Party

Barry Holliday, Liberal Democrats

Chris Leslie, Labour Party

Simon Murray, Conservative Party

Nottingham North

Stephen Crosby, UK Independence Party

Tadeusz Jones, Liberal Democrats

Kirsty Jones, Green Party

Alex Norris, Labour Party

Jack Tinley, Conservative Party

Nottingham South

Lilian Greenwood, Labour Party

David Hollas, UK Independence Party

Jane Hunt, Conservative Party

Adam McGregor, Green Party

Tony Sutton, Liberal Democrats


Kenneth Clarke, Conservative Party

Matthew Faithfull, UK Independence Party

Richard Mallender, Green Party

David Mellen, Labour Party

Jayne Phoenix, Liberal Democrats

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Make Sure You’re Registered to Vote

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With less than two weeks left until the deadline to register to vote, we know there will be many people in Nottinghamshire who are not currently signed up. You don’t need us to tell you what a hard-fought-for right voting is, especially for women, following the Suffragette movement in the late-19th and early-20th centuries! But we thought it might be useful to remind people about how to register to vote, how to access support to do it anonymously, and why voting matters.

Most Nottinghamshire residents will have been sent an application to register to vote if they are not already on the electoral role as part of their council tax registration. However, if you have recently moved, live in rented accommodation or have trouble understanding information and services in English you may not have accessed this.

The easiest way to register to vote is to do so online. You can start the process here if you have your National Insurance number handy. To vote in the General Election on 8 June, you need to register by 11:59pm on 22 May. You don’t need to register again if you’ve already registered. You can follow the same link to:

  • update your name, address or other details on the electoral register
  • change your voting preferences, for example to vote in person or by post
  • change whether you’re on the open register

It usually takes about 5 minutes.

We blogged last week about the issues surrounding anonymous voter registration. Women’s Aid and the Electoral Commission have produced a short Joint Guide to support survivors of domestic abuse to register to vote anonymously. The guide is aimed at professionals working with survivors, and includes helpful advice on the anonymous registration application process and some frequently asked questions. Please note that the deadline for anonymous voter registration is Wednesday 31 May 2017.

You can download the guide here.

Lastly, regardless of your political preferences, voting in local and general elections allows all of us to push violence against women and girls higher up the political agenda. Contacting your candidates and asking them about their intentions is a useful first step. To support our efforts to get all political parties to take domestic violence seriously we urge all of you to use your vote on 8 June.

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Anonymous Voter Registration

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With the news of the upcoming general election, the issue of anonymous voter registration has again come to the fore. Nottinghamshire Rape Crisis Centre have led the way in campaigning on this locally, with huge achievements being made in terms of their consultation with The Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office, alongside Women’s Aid and Mehala Osborne’s high profile national campaign.

There are three key reasons why the existing provisions for voting anonymously exclude thousands of domestic abuse survivors:

  • The evidence required in order to register anonymously relates exclusively to the criminal justice system – despite the fact that fewer than half of domestic abuse survivors have involved the police
  • The application requires a “letter of attestation” from a narrow range of very senior public sector figures, not easily accessible to most survivors
  • The process ignores the fact that many survivors are at risk for many years, sometimes their whole lives, and should be eligible to register anonymously at any time, with no expiry date

You may remember our jubilation last year when Cabinet Office Minister Chris Skidmore MP committed the Government to removing any barriers that prevent survivors from exercising their democratic rights. He launched a policy document for consultation, with responses due at the end of this month, in time for the local elections next year. However, the calling of a snap general election means that those changes won’t have been implemented in time for June 8th, and many survivors of domestic abuse are facing the same issues as before.

Women’s Aid and the Electoral Commission have therefore produced a short Joint Guide to support survivors of domestic abuse to register to vote anonymously. The guide is aimed at professionals working with survivors, and includes helpful advice on the anonymous registration application process and some frequently asked questions. Please note that the deadline for anonymous voter registration is Wednesday 31 May 2017.

You can download the guide here.

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We’re Hiring – Domestic Abuse Support Worker for Men

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Equation is looking for a passionate, positive individual to join our men’s service team and help provide support to male survivors of domestic abuse.

Working with Equation, you’ll be part of an innovative and award-winning charity who work to prevent and respond to domestic abuse throughout Nottinghamshire.

The successful candidate will be responsible for providing a high-quality service to survivors, enabling them to make long-term positive and sustainable changes in their lives and to recover from the harm of domestic violence and abuse.

The successful candidate will bring with them a thorough understanding of the complexities and effects of domestic violence and experience of undertaking domestic violence risk assessments and managing risk.

Equation are a small, positive and efficient team which will number 20 at the start of the contract.

The post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and the successful applicant will be subject to an enhanced DBS check.


Job details

Working hours: 22.5 – 30 hours, to be confirmed. We support flexible working.

Working term: 1-year initial contract, which may be extended subject to funding

Salary: Scale 5 – 6, Spinal Point 22-28, £20,253 – £24, 472 pro rata


How to apply

The deadline for applications is 9.00am Thursday the 11th May 2017.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview on Wednesday 17th May 2017.

Email your application to and we will confirm that we have received it.

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