Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Chair of the Board at Refuge, on tackling domestic abuse

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Chair of the Board at Refuge, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, on tackling domestic abuse. 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.


A wide-ranging conversation on the topic of domestic abuse. Hetti sheds light on sobering statistics, attitudes and behaviours and describes the challenges presented by COVID lockdowns and how new technologies are impacting the field.


In England and Wales, around 2 women a week are killed by a current or former partner, and 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime.


The problem goes beyond domestic violence. As Hetti points out, coercive control is the dark side of domestic abuse and often leads to the worst outcomes.


Refuge is an organisation helping those who experience domestic abuse. They run the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and also have deployed a Tech Abuse Team, who support women who are experiencing online abuse and other tech-related abuse.


Innovations in technology present serious challenges – innovations leading to the miniaturisation of surveillance technology, for instance, or software that can compromise WiFi connectivity and remotely lock doors and override temperature control and other features in one’s own home.


This episode explores domestic abuse from various angles and provides invaluable information on the state of affairs and opportunities for improvement.


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About Hetti Barkworth-Nanton


Appointed to the board in 2020, Hetti became Chair of Refuge’s Board of Trustees on 1st June 2020.


Hetti has a career spanning British Airways, Centrica, BT and Vodafone, leading financial, commercial and transformational change, often enabled by leading edge technology.


She became the CEO of Ploughshare Innovations in April 2020 and is renowned for leading cultural and commercial transformation, and her highly creative, collaborative and engaging approach with teams and partners. She is also a recognised champion for diversity, equality and inclusion.

Hetti has been an active campaigner raising awareness about domestic abuse and the criminal justice system since her best friend, Joanna Simpson, was killed by her estranged husband. Hetti is the founder and former Chair of the Joanna Simpson Foundation and was previously a Pioneer at Safe Lives.

As CEO of an organisation which is also on a high growth trajectory, and Chair of Refuge which is going through enormous change whilst seeing ever increasing demand for services, Hetti focuses her spare time enjoying long walks in the countryside with her family and the dogs.