We empower parents to break cycles of abuse, to transform the life-chances of whole families and move forward in positive change, starting with the baby. The baby is at the heart of everything we do.
The For Baby’s Sake Trust (originally named the Stefanou Foundation) was set up philanthropically by Stelio Stefanou. His founding vision was to tackle the root causes of disadvantage and vulnerability, focusing on very young babies who do not have a voice. Stelio chaired the charity for 14 years, providing inspirational leadership until stepping down from the Board in December 2022.
Research, design, innovation
Evidence about the scale and impact of domestic abuse, on babies in the womb until the age of two, led us to focus on supporting families in the first two years of their baby’s life. We had the time and space to innovate, determined to create a new way to break intergenerational cycles of trauma.
Launching the For Baby’s Sake Programme
In 2015 we started our new therapeutic programme, working with families in Hertfordshire and London. The programme, targeting the effects of domestic abuse on unborn and very young babies, is the first to take a whole-family approach. We commissioned a major evaluation of its development and operation, from 2015-2019, led by King’s College London.
Collaboration and expansion
In August 2019, the For Baby’s Sake programme opened to families in Cambridgeshire in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council. By the end of 2019, a new Blackpool team was in place, in partnership with Blackpool Council and on behalf of Blackpool Better Start. These collaborative agreements with local authorities launched the area-based roll-out of our programme.
Continuity during lockdown, proven success of The Programme and communicating our vision in new ways
In March 2020, we immediately moved to delivering For Baby’s Sake CONNECT through video and phone calls with parents. Engagement remained high with existing families and with those who joined the programme during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In May 2020, we published a major four-year evaluation of the programme, led by King’s College London. The academic research team concluded that For Baby’s Sake is the ‘first’ known programme to ‘fill an important gap’ through ‘unique features’ that ‘address key limitations’ of responses to domestic abuse.
Later in the year, in September, we launched a short animated film. This used the real voices of parents who tell the story of what brought them into the For Baby’s Sake programme, and the life-changing impact it had on them and their baby. This authentic and personal way of showing how we work has helped us reach new audiences.
For Baby’s Sake CONNECT and system change initiatives – reaching more communities
Based on learning during lockdown, we created For Baby’s Sake CONNECT – a new channel for delivering For Baby’s Sake by holding one-to-one sessions with parents using video and audio calls and therefore able to work with families living anywhere in the country where there is not a dedicated local For Baby’s Sake team. We launched the prototype phase of For Baby’s Sake CONNECT in March 2021.
In 2021 we also launched resources to extend our system change and outreach work. Our YouGov survey and radio adverts early in 2021 raised awareness of domestic abuse affecting expectant and new parents and encouraged them to seek support.
Our new materials included a suite of Trauma Insight Resources, created with collaborative input from The Association of Safeguarding Partners and Home-Start UK. These became the springboard for trauma insight training for multi-agency professionals.
We co-designed a new interactive training and resource toolkit for health visitors, ‘Changing Conversations – Domestic Abuse‘, in partnership with the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), hosted on the iHV’s learning platform.
We ended 2021 with the wonderful news that the Centre for Justice Innovation had awarded the Nick Crichton Award for Family Justice to For Baby’s Sake, praising our innovative, trauma-informed, whole-family model.
More system change initiatives
2022 began with our For Baby’s Sake film being shortlisted for Charity Film of the Year.
By April 2022, a year after launch, the For Baby’s Sake CONNECT team had supported families across 15 local authorities and after this strong start, the Trust determined that this nationally-available approach will be key to the expansion of For Baby’s Sake, alongside area-based teams where authorities want a dedicated local service.
We are playing a central role within collaborative efforts to drive system change through promoting and developing core and common outcomes for public policy and services for children and families, including those affected by domestic abuse.
Other contributions to system change included influencing the Domestic Abuse Statutory Guidance published in July 2022 and guidance from the National Safeguarding Practice Review Panel on responding to domestic abuse and protecting babies under one.
The Blackpool For Baby’s Sake team was instrumental to the Born into Care initiative, co-produced with parents, to improve the response to families when their babies are removed at birth, especially by empowering fathers to participate. In November, For Baby’s Sake and our partnership with Blackpool Better Start received the honour of winning the Children and Young People Now Safeguarding Award.
2022 ended with Stelio Stefanou standing down from the Trust’s Board after 14 years of visionary leadership. Everyone at the Trust is deeply grateful to Stelio, who will continue to inspire us, and we are glad that he will continue to be a valued supporter and champion of the Trust and For Baby’s Sake.
2023 began with the launch of our Emotional Safety Plan tool and the Safer Beginnings resources, co-produced through a partnership of charities and community advocates collaborating to improve birth and maternal outcomes. New films include powerful contributions from parents sharing their experiences of participating in our For Baby’s Sake programme and the difference this made, to encourage other parents to seek support.
The For Baby’s Sake Trust continues to combine our highly innovative and transformational work with families, through For Baby’s Sake, with driving broader system change, creating and gathering evidence, sharing learning, and influencing policy at local and national level.
Meet the team
Dame Lin Homer
Dame Lin was Chief Executive and Permanent Secretary of the HMRC between 2012 and 2016. Prior to this role, she was Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council from 1998-2002, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council from 2002-2005 and Director-General, Immigration and Nationality Directorate, at the Home Office between 2005 and 2008. From 2008-2011, Dame Lin was Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency and Permanent Secretary of the Department for Transport, 2011.
Dame Lin was educated at Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, Suffolk, and undertook her Law degree at University College London. She is a qualified Lawyer.
Dame Lin was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB) in the 2016 New Year Honours List.
“I feel proud to be a part of a ground-breaking initiative to address the terrible damage caused by domestic violence and to break once and for all a cycle which has blighted countless lives.”
Adam has extensive senior management experience in the banking, investment and professional services sectors.
After reading Law at Clare College, Cambridge, Adam was called to the Bar in 1986. He then pursued a career in investment banking in London and New York before becoming Chief Financial Officer of Accord plc and, following its sale, founding a law firm, Riverview Law, which was sold to EY in 2018.
Adam is based in London and spends spare time with his family or on his bike – he is an enthusiastic amateur cyclist and has completed the legendary 1,400km ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
Lady Sally Knowles
“The dedication and commitment of the entire team at For Baby’s Sake to breaking the cycle of domestic abuse is awe inspiring. Based on extensive research, the programme that has been developed is positively changing lives now and will change the lives of future generations.”
Lady Sally Knowles is a qualified solicitor and gained specialist experience in insolvency and corporate recovery before becoming a Partner in an international law firm, within their Restructuring Group.
She has held non-executive and advisory positions, specialising in risk prevention, management and response and supporting clients to understand the threats to their people, information, property and reputation.
Since 2009, Sally has been a Trustee of Hoopers Africa Trust, a charity which aims to transform the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable girls in Kenya through education. To date, the Trust has funded more than 120 girls through secondary education and 11 through further education.
“I am delighted to be involved in the For Baby’s Sake programme that protects babies by providing tools and support for the parents to give their baby the start they never had.”
Philip is Chairman of WKE Energy, which produces alternative fuels for green energy generators and high energy users such as the Cement industry. He provides strategic and business improvement consultancy support to IWS Water Hygiene, a business unit of South Staff Water; OMS optical metrology specialists; and Logincident, a software start-up company. Philip has a wealth of experience in the infrastructure and waste management sectors, including from 2008 to 2012 as Chief Executive of May Gurney Integrated Services plc, an AIM-listed support services and construction business. Prior to joining May Gurney, Philip was Chief Executive of Accord plc.
“I have been involved in managing domestic abuse and services for vulnerable children for a number of years, what initially attracted me to Babys Sake and keeps me motivated to remain involved is that the program provides a real opportunity to address the cycle of abuse in a meaningful way. Another significant feature, for me , is the leadership desire and absolute determination to tackle the most difficult issues.”
Jon is an experienced child and adult safeguarding professional, underpinned by over 30 years of Police service.
Since retirement Jon has been involved with development work for Safeguarding Boards, Local Authorities and more recently the Church of England.
Jon, is an Independent Safeguarding Chair and author of: Serious Case Reviews, Safeguarding Adult Reviews and Domestic Homicide Reviews.
Jon is active as a Chair of Governors for a local school. He has a passion for rugby, which all of his children play.
Frank Mullane MBE
“Seventeen years after two of my family were murdered in domestic abuse, I have at last found a programme which aims to stop these horrors right at the beginning.”
Frank is the CEO of AAFDA (Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse) a centre of excellence for reviews after domestic homicide and for specialist peer support. AAFDA provides specialist, expert advocacy to families after fatal domestic abuse (which includes suicides and unexplained deaths) and helps professionals.
Frank helped ensure that Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) became law. He also helped develop a model, thought to be unique in the world, which helps families to be integral to reviews after domestic homicide. He continues to work closely with the Home Office to enhance the methodology.
Frank is a ‘reader’ of DHRs (advising the Quality Assurance Panel via detailed assessments), he trains people to chair DHRs and is frequently published on domestic abuse.
Frank is an honorary fellow of the University of Gloucestershire where he also is a visiting lecturer. He was awarded an MBE in 2019.
Lauren Seager-Smith became Chief Executive of The For Baby’s Sake Trust in May 2023, bringing expertise and experience in leading charities through growth and development, along with a track-record as a leading advocate for children’s rights and trauma-informed, whole-family approaches.
Lauren was previously CEO of Kidscape, the charity that provides help with bullying, where she led the charity to develop its strategy and governance, expand its services and grow its income. Before then, she was National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
Lauren’s record of representing sensitive and complex needs of children and families to a public audience includes extensive media experience, including press, television and radio.
Lauren holds a number of high-profile Board positions including Trustee of Children England and membership of the Action for Children England Committee. Lauren was delighted to be awarded Associate of the Institute of Responsible Leadership in recognition of her active commitment to growing leadership in the charity sector.
Amanda led the research and analysis of existing evidence, stakeholder consultations and multi-agency and interdisciplinary teamwork between highly respected experts to create The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s flagship programme.
Amanda’s career has focused on bringing together the public, private and voluntary sectors to improve public services and strengthen local communities. Her previous positions include Head of Modernising Government at the CBI and then Public Affairs Director at Accord plc, followed by being the first full-time Director of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) before joining the charity in 2010.
She is a primary school Chair of Governors in Ponders End, Enfield.
Elaine plays a leading role in creating and maintaining The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s strategic partnerships, including negotiating collaborative arrangements with local authority partners. She managed the contract for the evaluation of For Baby’s Sake, acts as the Trust’s Data Protection Officer and sits on a number of national partnership bodies, including the Early Years Funders’ Group and Parenting Programmes’ Alliance.
Elaine has extensive operational management, commissioning and strategic leadership experience in the voluntary and community sector, health service and local government. This included responsibility for Early Years and Childcare Services, Young People’s and Family Services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services as well as leadership of early intervention and prevention strategies and multi-agency, integrated working and system innovation.
Elaine’s experience has led her to bring together a team of academics and local authority partners to develop the case for a fully evaluated early childhood intervention programme in order to build the UK evidence of the impact of early and earlier intervention. This is a work in progress which Elaine does in her spare time
Judith took up her role at For Baby’s Sake Trust in July 2015, having worked in the NHS for 33 years.
While with the NHS Judith was a Staff Nurse, Midwife, Health Visitor, Practice Teacher, and, Safeguarding Children’s Nurse and Team Leader for Health Visitors and School Nurses. She went on to set up the Family Nurse Partnership Team in Hertfordshire and was Supervisor for four years.
Judith completed an MSc in Child Protection and Child Welfare. Her dissertation was on producing an assessment tool for Health Visitors responding to police notifications of domestic abuse where there were children or an unborn baby in the family.
Judith’s passion for early intervention and safeguarding in relation to domestic abuse and her training, supervision and safeguarding skills are being put to excellent use at The For Baby’s Sake Trust.
Brenda is a qualified and highly experienced psychodynamic therapist and clinical supervisor who has worked in this sector for over 25 years.
She has managed and developed multidisciplinary teams to support families with multiple and complex needs. Her specialist area is working with families where domestic abuse and substance misuse impact the wellbeing of all family members.
Brenda established and developed a thriving private practice for several years and lectured in therapy across Hertfordshire.
Brenda also has a degree in Human Resources and worked as an HR and training director for many years