Now booking places for workshop pilot in June

I am very pleased to announce the pilot of the multi-agency workshop for professionals – to improve responses to mothers apart – will take place on 17th June 2015, 9.30-4 at Coventry University. Registration will begin at 9am for a prompt 9.30 start to a full day of theory- and evidence-based, interactive learning.

I have talked to 30 professionals in health and social care, and in the legal profession. I have spoken to men and women working in the fields of domestic violence – and associated services, e.g. homelessness, prison, addiction, and in adoption and family courts who have shared their knowledge and experience about mothers apart with me about how professionals can better respond to this, often extremely vulnerable, population. I have listened to participants’ views on training for professionals – what the main aims of the training should be, which professionals it might be useful for, and how they would like it to be delivered. I have analysed these interviews and worked with mothers apart at the monthly Mothers Apart Project planning group to develop a workshop that we hope will be everything that both professionals and mothers apart want it to be. This workshop will help professionals to understand the diversity of circumstances in which mothers become separated from their children, what they need and want from professionals and how professionals can best help and support mothers who have become, or are at risk of becoming, separated from their children – primarily, but not exclusively, in a context of domestic abuse.

The mothers apart who have helped me to plan and develop the workshop will be there on the day to talk to professionals about their experiences and, as both a practitioner and mother apart myself, I feel that their presence, combined with the evidence and theory base of this workshop, cannot fail to assist professionals in their responses to mothers apart and in cases where mother-child separations have occurred or are threatened.

Workshop posters are going out now and I look forward to hearing from you:

The Mothers Apart Project invites you to….

FREE Training Event for Professionals: “Improving Responses to Mothers who have Become, or are at Risk of Becoming, Separated from their Children”
Wednesday 17th June 2015, 9.30 – 16.00 at Coventry University

There is currently no comprehensive, statutory support for mothers who have become, or are at risk or becoming, separated from their children (primarily in a context of domestic abuse). This theory- and evidence-based, awareness-raising workshop for practitioners and service providers is focused on the varied and complex situations of mothers apart, their needs and the value of a needs-led approach to improving professional responses to this vulnerable population.

The workshop has been developed as part of The Mothers Apart Project that is central to a PhD study being conducted by Laura Monk (funded by a Coventry University studentship). The project aims to raise awareness and generate change to professional, organisational, societal and cultural responses to mothers apart. The study uses an Intervention Mapping Approach to programme planning – drawing on existing research, psychosocial theories, multiple methods of data collection, and a planning group with stakeholders who include mothers apart.

Outcomes and Learning Objectives
Following from a needs assessment, the health-promoting outcomes for professionals are to gain a raised awareness of:
• The ways that mothers can be become separated from their children
• The dynamics of domestic abuse and its impact on mother-child relationships
• The needs of mothers apart
• How to improve responses to mothers apart
Developed and facilitated by Laura Monk MSc (Psychology), MBPsS, MBACP (Registered & Accredited) Counsellor and Psychotherapist, Domestic Abuse Prevention Advocate (Women’s Aid),
with members of the charity, MATCH Mothers – Mothers Apart from Their Children

Places strictly limited. For more information contact Laura on

The workshop is suitable for a wide range of practitioners and service providers, e.g. health and social care, family courts, domestic abuse, foster & adoption, substance misuse & homelessness services, etc. Relevant to professionals responding to mothers experiencing separation from a child, e.g. women survivors of domestic abuse, birth mothers, women experiencing high-conflict divorce who lose residency or have reduced contact, etc.

This workshop has been developed as part of a PhD project.
Attendees will, therefore, be research participants and are required to complete a brief pre- & post-workshop questionnaire and a follow-up reflective exercise.

About Dr Laura Monk

My doctoral research investigated how to improve professionals' responses to mothers who become separated from their children. I developed a training workshop for the professionals who mothers come into contact with - largely at the intersection of health and social care, the family courts and domestic abuse services. I am also a counsellor and psychotherapist and I run self-care retreats for practitioners in Spain and the UK
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