Photo of Kelly Mattison

Kelly Mattison

Kelly Mattison has been nominated by Nickala Torkington of Flourish CIC. She says “Kelly is an expert by experience when it comes to domestic abuse survival after being removed from her mum as a child due to domestic abuse and later being brought up through ‘Kinship Care’ by her grandparents and auntie and uncle.

Later in life, she went through the ‘Freedom Programme’ after experiencing a violent relationship and this helped her gain new perspectives. However, she recognised that whilst this kind of programme was great for grown women and mothers who had experienced domestic abuse, Kelly knew through her work with young women that intimate partner violence was just as prevalent in teenage relationships.

Often, it escalates a lot quicker and she saw that there wasn’t a programme specifically for teenage girls. Kelly’s mission is to prevent domestic violence through her work and ensure that future generations do not become victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.”

Who have you helped?

Kelly says “I piloted a 12-week domestic violence prevention programme for teenage girls in Manchester with much success. After that, in 2018, I went on to develop HEART Domestic Abuse Prevention CIC.

I’ve since helped around 100 teenage girls, providing them with the information they need to understand the complexities of domestic violence and abuse, how to respect and love themselves and others, plus how to navigate a healthy relationship.”

What’s worked?

“The nine-week HEART programme empowers teenage girls from year nine and upwards, to recognise warning signs of abuse, and understand the differences between healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships.

HEART now works in partnership with A Call to Men UK, delivering complementary programmes with teenage boys to combat abuse. The boy’s programme is called RESPECT 100 and they have worked in schools and colleges across Stockport, have secured local and national funding to develop and expand this work and now have partnerships with housing associations to deliver programmes with young people.

The main impact is the attitude and behaviour change of the young women and young men who go through the programmes with countless positive testimonials and examples.”

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

“The main thing I have learned is in order to prevent domestic violence and abuse we also need to educate teenage boys. They need a space to talk too about relationships, what it means to be a man and to learn about the differences between a healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationship.

We started to include them in Nov 2017 and although it was my dream and goal to teach boys too, I was a bit apprehensive. I didn’t think that they would enjoy the programme as much as the girls, but we were so wrong. Instead they complained about why the girls had two-hour sessions and they only got an hour!”

What’s next?

“We are currently developing a Train the Trainer programme, funded by Stockport Council, to be piloted in Sept 2020.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

“It would be helpful for us to have more contacts in the high schools.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!