Domestic Abuse

From Early Intervention (STEP) to Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes

Change delivers community based domestic violence perpetrator programmes which include a dedicated Integrated Support Service for victims of domestic abuse and their children. It is a Respect Accredited programme for men who want to stop being abusive towards intimate partners.

Change also delivers individual programmes which work with abuse perpetrated by women and within same sex relationships.

Signs of Domestic Abuse

Are you in an abusive relationship?

Abusive signs addressed in our Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes

Abuse Category Examples
Emotional Put downs, eroding self confidence and self worth, inciting paranoia (Gas Lighting), humiliation.
Isolation & Jealousy Control and restrict activity and travel, who’s seen, what’s watched or read, limit or discourage outside communication.
Using Children Encourage children to take sides, stir feelings of guilt about the children, use child contact as an opportunity to harass.
Physical Shoving, hair pulling, punching, kicking, choking, restraining, poking, slapping, burning/scalding.
Threats & Intimidation Threats of harm targeted at an individual, their friends or their family, punching walls or smashing objects.
Sexual Forcing sex, use of sulks or punishments if refused sex, forcing the viewing of any sexual acts.
Economic Preventing employment, denying access to household finances, taking income/benefits, forcing begging for ‘pocket money’.

Men’s Group Programme

Want to change your abusive behaviour? We welcome enquiries from anyone who wants to change their behaviour, older or younger, gay straight or bi, male or female.

We deliver community based domestic abuse prevention group programmes In Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and Luton. The Respect accredited programme is for men who want to stop being abusive towards intimate partners and are motivated to change their behaviour.

What about female perpetrators? We also deliver individual domestic abuse prevention programmes. These can be accessed by women using violence and abuse, men who are unable to join group for any reason and for those within same sex relationships.

What happens at the end of the programme?

Some men who come on programme are desperate to save their relationship with their partner and move on from the abuse. Once the programme has been successfully completed, and the couple have both actively engaged throughout, then there is potential to continue into Relationship Counselling with a Change Counsellor to help you negotiate new couple communication skills.

1-2-1 Programme

Individual Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes are available for men and women who are using violence and abuse in their relationships and want to change.

They are basically the same as the Men’s Group Programme but delivered individually. These are used by those who are in same sex relationships, female abusers and men who are unable to join group for whatever reason. That may be because of language issues or working arrangements for example.

Joining 1-2-1 programme can be discussed with your assessor when you come to find out if programme is right for you.

Supporting Victims & Survivors

The Change Project offers a service to women and men who have experienced domestic abuse and whose (ex)partner has been referred to the group or individual Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes. This service is free and is available regardless whether your (ex) partner completes the course.

Our associated Partner Support service is aimed at increasing victim’s safety. By enabling victims to explore and make sense of their experience of domestic abuse, we can help to increase their control over their own lives by:

Proactive contact

We make proactive contact with every current or ex partner of the client attending one of our Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes. This is done through sending an information pack and through making every effort to make contact by telephone.

Follow up and priority contact

We always try to stay in touch with (ex)partners by calling them at regular intervals. When we have specific concerns for the safety of a victim or his/her children we immediately prioritise that call and do everything in our power to minimise the risk.

I’m not sure I want to get involved?

You do not have to. The partner’s safety officer services are voluntary and whether you accept the service or not does not affect your partner or ex-partner’s suitability assessment outcome. However the partner’s service is highly recommended.

STEP Programme

8 Step Treatment – Early Intervention

In situations where family members carry out low level abuse the STEP programme can be used to address the behaviour. Early signs can be responded to positively and decisively when family members recognise them and acknowledge there is a need to change. Many don’t realise that low level abusive behaviour can escalate and destroy what was once a loving and safe relationship. Our counsellors are trained to recognise signs of abusive behaviour, be it emotional, financial, or a combination of different types of abuse.

Referral back into Relationship Counselling or onward to our Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes is possible on completion of this therapy.

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Who is it for?

Couples or families who are living with low level domestic abuse. Clients can refer themselves directly to STEP, be referred through another agency, or be referred via our relationship or family counselling services. Beyond partner to partner abuse, the STEP programme can be used to tackle abusive behaviour occurring within other family relationships, such as parent and child.

How does it work?

STEP is a short 8 step intervention programme. Following a suitability assessment each client is assigned a facilitator and invited to fortnightly sessions. Progress is reviewed with the clients at each step.
After successful completion of STEP it is possible for family members to return to counselling if required.

Aims

  • to support partners who are victims and/or survivors of low risk domestic violence and abuse in order to increase their safety and the safety of their children
  • to eliminate or reduce low risk abusive behaviour in relationships
  • to assist men and women who use low risk violence and abuse against their partners to change their behaviour and engage in respectful relationships

Anticipated outcomes

  • Abusive partners will develop an increased capacity to understand the impact of their behaviour on others
  • Abusive partners will have developed and implemented strategies for changing abusive behaviour and will have adopted positive, respectful ways of being in a balanced relationship.

Young People’s Counselling

Our young people’s counselling service can help young people to build confidence, resilience and self-esteem. Young people benefit from an improved awareness of their own resources and it supports them to address problems and pursue meaningful goals.

Counsellors offer confidential support for young people aged 11-18 (up to 25 for young people with additional needs) who want to develop improved awareness of healthy communication and relationships.

Young people access counselling for many reasons, they may want to deal with relationship issues in their lives, difficulties at home and/or at school, or change their own abusive behaviour and find safe, non-abusive alternatives.

Our counselling service in schools is valued by young people as it offers them a safe, confidential, accessible and free counselling service during their school day.

What is The Change Project counselling for young people?

If is for young people aged between 10 – 25 and provides a confidential opportunity to talk things through. If you are:

  • concerned that the adults at home argue all the time
  • unhappy about your parents break up and all the changes this will bring
  • unhappy with the idea of a step family, or fitting into a new family
  • suffering from the loss of someone close to you
  • suffering from friendship problems, maybe at school, that worry you

…or anything that is on your mind, then counselling may help you deal with these problems. You can spend time with a counsellor on a one to one basis to help you express and understand your own feelings better.

Counselling is available in many schools across Essex for free, and at our venues where we have to make a charge of £40 per session.

The Essex Drive Project

Each year more than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse. Services rightly focus on meeting the needs of victims but only 1% of perpetrators get a specialist intervention that might prevent future abusive behaviour and as a result there is a high level of repeat victimisation. Drive is seeking long-term solutions to tackle domestic abuse: to reduce the number of victims – we must challenge perpetrators to stop.

Essex Drive is one of three pilot programmes in the UK which is testing a new model to fundamentally change perpetrator behaviour to make victims and families safe. To reduce the number of victims, we must reduce the number of perpetrators. Beyond Drive a referral pathway exists to our Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes.

The pilot is being evaluated and ends in 2019.

Testimonials of attendees from our Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programmes…

“When I started the programme, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I should have been there. I blamed my ex for everything, but then I learned how much it was about me, how I acted, how I would control everything and what damage I had done. It was at that point I realised, I really do need to be here. I am no different to the others, I don’t want to do that anymore.” – Anonymous

I just wanted to say a big thank you. My last day was really quite emotional. It was a long course but I honestly leave with a hugely positive feeling and I feel I have learnt a lot from you. I will actually miss you.

I have huge respect for what you do and how you do it. Big hug to you and again thank you.

– Client from our Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes run in Chelmsford

“As an individual who’s partner left me because of domestic abuse...

I quickly realised that I had to take responsibility for my actions. At first, I thought that perhaps it would save our relationship, but quickly realised as I began the course that this wasn’t the most important issue. The real issue was dealing with my behaviour, for myself, and for the long term, whether it could save our relationship or not.

During my time with the Essex change programme, I went through an awful lot of experiences, ranging from realising what I had been doing wrong and why, to understanding the deeper issues behind domestic abuse, and the real effects of such behaviour on those you love. This at times, was a real emotional roller coaster of a ride for me.

There are a lot of key areas covered on the course, including how/why you became abusive, the effects of such abuse, women’s anger, to name but a few, and each session began with key questions for each person to cover (partner and spouse(s) names, any abusive behaviour, most abusive behaviour etc., similarly, there were also questions to be answered at the end of each session, which helped to focus on what we had learned/understood for that particular session.

Key topics were covered by both discussion and (very powerful) roleplay, in which we all took part at some point, which served to reinforce the outcomes of each topic covered.

Towards the end of the course it began to dawn on me that I was making real and positive progress on a personal level, culminating in an almost Eureka’ moment of realisation around week 26. This also quickly led to a breakthrough moment in terms of communicating with my ex partner, and being able to see our children.

Given that the course is designed to really deal with the issues at the heart of domestic abuse, and is not a ‘quick fix’, it was both long and often very challenging. These ‘challenges’ regarding our comments and discussions on domestic abuse came mainly from other people on the course, which initially was uncomfortable, but later on enabled each of us to realise where we were in understanding and overcoming our behaviour.

The outcome for me is firstly that I really do know how to deal with anger now, in an appropriate way. Secondly, although I am definitely going through a divorce (not through choice), I can communicate effectively with my ex partner, to the extent that I now see my children every weekend, outside of the need for a contact centre, and that my children have overnight stays with me (something which seemed an impossibility at the time of the course).

Finally, I deeply regret not having found the Essex Change course at an earlier point in my relationship, and really feel that this course should be supported to be made more widely available to more people.

It really is a ‘change for life’ course, and although a great deal of commitment and soul searching is needed, the question has to be ‘If I really want to change for life, then I have to be committed to that change, for life’.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this course to ANYONE who is seeking to deal with their abusive behaviour towards their loved ones.” – Mr B

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