Against Violence and Abuse (AVA)

A knowledge platform helping practitioners identify, challenge and respond to violence against women and girls


Winner of the European MEDEA Professional Production Award 2014 and silver medallist at the Learning Awards 2015, the Digital Prevention Platform was developed for AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) by Saffron Interactive. This knowledge platform enables practitioners working with children and young people to identify, challenge and respond to violence against women and girls.

A high-impact elearning experience was developed as an engagement-catalyst: enabling less experienced educational practitioners to identify and respond to disclosures of abuse and motivating them to join the prevention community. The platform then makes it easy to discover and navigate approved toolkits and specialist resources, putting performance aids at the point-of-need.

The challenge

In 2014, 1.2 million women were victims of domestic abuse, over 400,000 were sexually assaulted, and 60,000 were raped. AVA is a national second tier service working with schools and youth services to change this.

After a project involving AVA-led research projects at six participating schools, an unprecedented wealth of insight was generated for the first time. Funded by Comic Relief, the Digital Prevention Project aims to spread this insight, influencing policy and changing the facts on the ground with a digitally-enabled blended approach. The aim: to equip practitioners to deliver a whole-school approach to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls.

Why Saffron?

Saffron won a tender process for this project by demonstrating our passion, ingenuity and appetite for innovation through previous work on mental health with TfL and Amnesty International, alongside learning management. A sleek, mobile-ready user experience which could be customised from scratch (not just branded) was another key selling point.

Our Approach

We thought hard about designing for the difficult messages, and finding the right visual approach to communicate. Universal, line-drawn graphics capture the attention of a practitioner who, perhaps just a few days ago, noticed something yet felt unable to take action.

The programme is also action-orientated: story-telling screens and conversation screens with vivid tips boxes and warnings deliver difficult content about holding disclosure conversations in an experiential way.

A key challenge for all the learning was to take on a dual function: both as a ‘catalyst’ experience and as a toolkit for facilitators to use in the field. ‘Detachable’ assets like images, infographics and animations make this possible. These bitesize learning experiences are as effective in the classroom or online or in a live event as they are in the context of the whole module. Saffron trained AVA on how to re-use any asset from the module.

The website is a mobile optimised gateway to constantly updated resources and a community of practice:

  • The Toolkit structures diverse materials into a clear action framework following the ‘Understand, Prevent, Educate’ model
  • The Network maps current projects to allow practitioners to register and connect with the nearest group, and connects to the e-Forum
  • The Database is searchable, filterable and includes 50+ pages and 90+ multimedia resources, all curated or contributed by the AVA network
  • Safe space provides immediate links to support for those directly affected
  • The Suggestion Box asks users to contribute new resources to the database


We used Survey Monkey to create a diagnostic to capture key data points about users at the beginning and end of the programme. This is the remarkable change that our survey data showed among pilot participants:

  • The number of learners who felt ‘very confident’ they knew what abuse was more than doubled, from 19% to 47%
  • The number of people who felt confident they could make a difference in stopping VAWG doubled from 30% to 60%
  • Those who were aware of the legislation surrounding forced marriage jumped from 36% to 67%

Disclosures at a school where the blended programme has been implemented have already increased by 300%. Amidst widespread media coverage, the platform has now entered official government guidelines from the Home Office, Department of Health and the Department for Education and been rolled out by two new local authorities.

It has also gained the support of the Times Education Supplement and the NSPCC. Here’s what one user had to say:

“The Digital Prevention Platform is the culmination of years of research and collaboration with projects around the UK and provides a unique resource which fills a much needed gap. Winning this award shows that it is possible to utilise technology to increase knowledge and confidence around sensitive issues and that ending violence against women and girls is a global priority.”

– Jo Sharpen, Children and Young people’s project co-ordinator, AVA

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