Dave AustinDirector & Protective Behaviours Trainer

Dave became aware of Protective Behaviours in the late 1990s. After being introduced to the process by a friend he decided to undertake the Foundation Level Training course. In 1999 Dave began a new job working for Bedfordshire Youth Offending Service (BYOS) and he immediately saw the potential of Protective Behaviours to enable people to bring about changes in their lives. He wanted to share the Protective Behaviours process with people and therefore embarked on the journey to become a Protective Behaviours trainer. This involved undertaking what was then called Extended Training (now called Level 2 Training) at which he met many of his future Protective Behaviours colleagues two of whom were instrumental in his Protective Behaviours career: Anne Sharpe with whom he set up the multi-agency Train the Trainers programme in Bedfordshire and Luton, and Fiona Benjamin, with whom Dave has written the Families Feeling Safe programme for mums, dads and carers.

Whilst working at BYOS Dave and two colleagues set up and ran a series of groups for parents which piloted the Protective Behaviours approach in helping them to enable their children to manage their own behaviour more effectively. Some of these parents were on orders from the court although the majority of them attended the groups on a voluntary basis. What was discovered from this work was that parents were significantly enabled to manage their children’s anti-social behaviour more effectively because they were empowered to feel more confident in their ability to do this. One parent was so pleased by the results that she had achieved that she wrote to the local press praising the programme.

When Dave left Bedfordshire YOS his involvement in Protective Behaviours work for parents ceased until discussions with Fiona about her parenting work revealed a shared view that Protective Behaviours was an immensely valuable process to support and enable parents to feel confident about themselves and how they help their children manage their own behaviour. They made a commitment to combine their resources and experience of running groups for parents and the Families Feeling Safe Programme for mums, dads and carers was the result of their efforts.

Following this, in 2014, Dave and Fiona set up Families Feeling Safe Ltd to carry on the work formerly done by Action for Children. Families Feeling Safe Ltd is a social enterprise which is committed to developing and promoting Protective Behaviours work in Hertfordshire and beyond.

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