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Community Services


Nikki Penniston – Head of Community Servces (Dudley)

Nikki joined Sandwell Women’s Aid from a background in community drugs services provision. She heads up all of our community support services in Dudley which includes Independent Domestic Violence Advisers working in the community and within the local court. Nikki also manages the Black Country Rape and Sexual Violence Service, a team of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers working across the Black Country, and our Child Sexual Exploitation team which also works across the region.


Wendy Sims – Head of Community Services (Sandwell) –

Wendy manages all of our community support services in Sandwell which includes a team of Independent Domestic Violence Advisers, Domestic Abuse Advocates, Children and Young People's Advocates, and our Court Independent Domestic Violence Advocate. Wendy is a qualified Social Worker and is responsible for all of SWA's Social Worker Training schemes, she has created and delivered bespoke training schemes and was awarded the Practice Award for Social Work from Birmingham City University. Wendy manages all of the organisation's partnerships with local universities, training providers and leads on internships.


Domestic Abuse Team


Raj Lagan - Domestic Abuse Manager



The IDVA team work in a variety of settings across the community including in courts, children’s centres, hospitals and schools. Each IDVA comes with a particular specialisms including:

  • Courts and the Criminal Justice System
  • Homelessness and Housing
  • Integrated Family Response
  • Probation/Female Offenders
  • Health and Well-Being

The team can be contacted on

Velma Heath – Senior Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA)

Velma Heath acts as the senior Advisor in charge of the IDVA team. Velma comes with a wealth of experience in managing the coordinated response to domestic violence through the MARAC and working closely with the Police and other local agencies. Velma has forged strong partnerships with local housing teams, adults’ and children’s safeguarding and local health services to ensure victims of domestic abuse receive a full community response.


Sue Lenton - Senior Independent Domestic Violence Adviser (IDVA): Health

Sue is our Senior IDVA working primarily in the health field, in partnership with Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Hospitals Trust, offering training and partnership working to improve identification of and pathways for victims of domestic abuse through universal health services. 


Domestic Abuse Advocates

SWA Domestic Abuse Advocates work across the six Community Operating Groups (COGs) in Sandwell. The COGs enable agencies to work together more coherently to address local community needs.  Referrals to the Advocates can be made from MASH (the Multi Agency Screening Hub) and from local agencies and partners operating within the area, when they are concerned about an adult or child living with or experiencing domestic abuse. This pioneering approach will enable effective joint working through TAC and TAF (Team Around the Child/Family) meetings to achieve the best outcomes for both children and adults.


Black Country Rape and Sexual Violence Services 

This team of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) work with all victims of rape and sexual violence across Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. The team specialise in working with victims both in an out of the Criminal Justice System, working with the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), and offering support to victims of both recent and historic/childhood abuse.

The team can be contacted on

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