Experts by Experience
Safer Together is passionate about service user voice and co-production. That is why we have a number of Experts by Experience who are able to share their lived experiences and survivor stories to help support training, inform policy or project work, or to act as key note speakers at events or conferences.
Expert by Experience in Domestic Abuse and Disguised Compliance
In addition to being a high-performance coach and blogger, Andrew is also a TEDx speaker and a domestic abuse campaigner. He has given one of the only TEDx talks to explore female perpetrated abuse, parental alienation, gaslighting and disguised compliance. He also talks about how unconscious biases can influence responses to safeguarding.
Expert by Experience in postpartum psychosis, bipolar disorder and mental health
Katy has first-hand experience of postpartum psychosis and bipolar disorder. She has shared her lived experience by working with Birmingham City University to support the training of mental health nursing students. She has also shared her experiences with trainee midwives, GPs, psychiatrists and junior doctors.
In addition to her work which support the training of clinical staff, Katy is a peer support worker at a Midlands mother and baby unit, has a national role with MIND, and is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. She also works closely with the charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis.
Expert by Experience in male and paternal mental health
Dan is passionate about breaking down the stigma around mental health within male dominated environments. Dan has used his own experiences of paternal mental health to support organisations to create wellbeing strategies which support fathers and men.
In addition to this work, Dan is also the Head of the MenTalk2 Division at Talk Out, and is also supports three additional mental health charities, Andy’s Man Club, Dad’s Matters and Opening up Cricket. Dan is passionate about raising awareness of Dad’s mental health needs and vulnerabilities during the antenatal and postnatal period. He is passionate to ensure that the mental health and wellbeing of dad’s not overlooked and becomes part of everyday conversation.
Stacey Jade Mason
Expert by Experience in Child Exploitation
Stacey is the Director of Creative Optimistic Visions (COV), an award-winning Community Interest Company which provides alternative education, training, universal youth provision and mentoring through the lens of the Protective Behaviours process. In addition to this, Stacey is a TEDx speaker, and talks candidly about her own personal experiences of being groomed and exploited. Stacey is committed to ensuring that all young people understand that is their right to feel safe and protected from abuse and harm whilst instilling confidence in them to speak out and be heard.
Expert by Experience in social, emotional and mental health
Gary is an experienced counsellor who has draws upon his extensive experience of mental health to help others. His passion comes from his own lived experience of ill mental heath during his early life and his positive experiences of therapeutic intervention. His lived experience means he is empathetic and understanding of the barriers which may prevent young people from accessing the support they need.
Gary is the author and creator of Safeguarding Me’ programmes for schools to give children the awareness and confidence to discuss mental health openly without stigma and shame. He has also in the process of authoring a book to shares his personal experience of losing twin daughters and the pain and grief cripples parents bereaved through loss of a child or children, and is passionate about encouraging fathers to speak about bereavement and loss. Gary is particularly passionate about working with marginalised youth and the most vulnerable in society including the homeless, those with substance misuse issues and offenders.
The main mission of Gary is to get everyone talking about mental health and to be able to develop skills to “bodyguard” themselves physically, emotionally and mentally by building resilience and coping mechanisms.
Expert by Experience in gender stereotypes and sexual objectification
Gemma Aitchison is an award winning expert in gender stereotypes and sexual objectification, activist, researcher and founder of YES Matters UK. In addition to her professional work, Gemma is also a survivor of child sexual abuse and has been impacted by violence against women and girls following the murder of her sister.
Gemma has used her expertise to produce compulsory sex education policy, CSE prevention policy, and has carried out research into Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) for the European Parliament.
Passionate about achieving equality and positive change for children and young women, Gemma has also worked tirelessly to improve access to justice and has worked in collaboration with the End Violence against Women (EVAW) coalition to formally challenge the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on low rape convictions in the UK.
Awards won include:
- WIN Award for the Protection of Women and Girls Rights 2016
- Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize 2017
- Women of the Year Award 2017
- BAH Star of the Community Nominee 2018
- Northern Power Women Person with Purpose Nominee 2019
Gemma is available to inform policy, as a key note speaker and trainer.