Case Study

Shorifa Khatun

Sunderland, UK

BSc (Hons) Sociology


Shorifa Khatun's placement at Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance and Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) based at Gentoo, Sunderland helped her shape social research skills and gain a better understanding on which platforms are effective to carry out research. Future career aim for Shorifa is to be a social worker and having an experience like this has benefited her a lot. 

The Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance’s (DAHA) mission is to improve the housing sectors response to domestic abuse through the introduction and adoption of an established set of standard and an accreditation process. DAHA is a partnership between three agencies who are leaders in innovation to address domestic violence within housing: Standing Together Against Violence, Peabody and Gentoo.

I was kindly welcomed by Kelly Henderson; my placement officer who introduced me to different people at Gentoo to help build my network. I took a lot of interest on my first day at Gentoo so I made a twitter account to follow on the recent events and gain insight on the different organisations that I would be conducting my research on.

Twitter being one of the largest influencing platforms, we gathered that I will keep @universityofsunderland @uossocsciences and @drewdalton1980 (my lecturer) updated with what I have been getting up to and when it came to carrying out my questionnaire, I will use the platform to send out my SurveyMonkey questionnaire to reach different housing associations.

I have been on phone conference calls with Yoric who is a Policy and Practice researcher at CIH. Yoric has helped me with my questions for the questionnaire.  I was invited by Gentoo to the international women's day event (Wish North East) where I was introduced to many housing association organisations and learnt many things on the day such as the different ways housing associations are tackling domestic violence.

I had opportunities to shadow different people at Gentoo to gain insight on their role and what they do.  I was invited by Kelly to attend Northumbria Police workshop to Forensic Psychology Masters Students on MATAC on understanding the multiagency working and the role of UK Housing in responding to Domestic Abuse perpetrators.

I also got the opportunity through Gentoo to take part in a two-day Domestic Abuse training with Women's Aid and Wearside Win which helped me gain my certificate which mentioned that I completed the Change That Lasts Community Ambassador Training.

The training covered many things that I was interested in and I will continue to follow that up and become a good influence for the community. When there have been occasions me and Kelly have not been able to meet, we have been able to communicate through calls about the questionnaire and I have had free-rain in what would benefit me in relation to my project.

The best aspect of the placement was certainly meeting my placement officer, Kelly Henderson. Kelly has provided me a good source of a network that I will be able to reach in the future. Kelly has helped me with my questionnaire and helped me gain so much knowledge about Domestic Violence in relation to Housing which I did not have before. Everyone at Gentoo is extremely kind and welcoming and I had many opportunities come my way.

I would highly recommend a placement or internship to other students as I do feel like it gives you a chance to shine at university. Choosing the correct placement is important as it will benefit you in the future. I fought for my place for the Gentoo Domestic Abuse Housing placement as it is something that is of interest to me and something that will benefit my future. Although you may feel like the pressure is added due to expectations. There is nothing to worry about because you are gaining experience on the way.

For students who are looking to carry out placements or internship, I would 100% recommend. It opens up so many doors for you, and it gives you more opportunities than you realise. I would make sure that you take any opportunities that come your way as it can help gain life skills. I feel like it helped me gain real benefits for my future which include so many different skills such as communicating effectively.

Go into placement with an open mind, positive about the placement and stay happy. You meet a lot of professionals and you learn to adapt to the surrounding very well. Your placement officer may put you in contact with people who may be able to help you enter and progress into your chosen career so the advice I would give here is set a good example and show a sense of professionalism as it can take you a long way.

Kelly, my placement officer has introduced me to many people at Gentoo to help with my project. This shaped my social research skills because without understanding the background knowledge on the organisation and ensuring that I have the correct information and the questions are effective, I would not be able to carry out my project. I have also gained a better understanding of which platforms are effective to carry out research.

This helped my critical thinking skills, as I was put at a position to collect data from housing associations organisations nationally. I had to think about how I would reach those organisations with a short turnaround. I have reached 67 organisations who conducted my research.  This also helped me gain technical skills as I had to create my questionnaire on SurveyMonkey and carry out my data analyses through SurveyMonkey and pick up the themes through Nvivo and with the help of Kelly and put out a tweet which would be effective to organisations and I gained support from the organisations that I was in touch with.

These are only some skills I have gained at my placement I have highlighted. My future career aim is to be a social worker, therefore, having an experience like this with a brilliant placement officer has benefited me a lot."

Kelly Henderson – Business Manager and DAHA Cofounder:

I can honestly say that our experience of welcoming a university of Sunderland student has been wonderful! Shorifa Khatun came to Gentoo, her passion and commitment to making a difference to peoples lives shining through. Her professionalism and work ethic has made her a real asset to Gentoo and I know we will keep in touch after the placement.

Welcoming students to local organisations to undertake real research to improve society is crucial. I would wholeheartedly recommend others get involved! As an ex-university of Sunderland student myself who undertook a placement in the city with a local organisation I know how valuable they are. My placement over 27 years ago influenced my career choice and I wholeheartedly thank the University of Sunderland for the opportunity - I am still in touch with my placement mentor and the organisation today. I am very proud to have the opportunity to work with Shorifa who is a fantastic ambassador for our city and the University. 

Published 9 August 2019

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