The Magazine on Coercive Control

December 2017

Issue 4

I Just Want Your Freedom



Let it Show Let it Show Let it Show

Dead babies as satire?

When it's not a jolly jolly trolliday



let it show, let it


Editor's Notes

4 A look BACK at an incredible year.

Making the Invisible Visible

6 Why Coercive Control is NOT

Coercive Control

I just want your freedom

8 Meet The Freedom Programme's

Pat Craven

Making the Invisible Visible

11 Jo Wood on how victims can be


Let it Show, Let it Show, Let it Show

15 Shining a Light on the

So-Called Advocates.

When it's not a jolly Trolliday

16 Dead babies as satire? abuse

That's masked as humour.

Making the invisible visible

18 Sarah phillimore, BArrister,talks about

being harried by the mob

Merry Christmas from CCChat


Patron Saint of CC

20 CCChat is hoping to develop

and looking for Patrons

CCCourt Report

22 A look at judicial thinking in

domestic abuse cases.

CCChat Goes Live

23 CC Discussion Groups to facilitate

better understanding coming to you


Abuse Talk

23 Jennifer's update on Abuse

Chat and the Book Club

Making the Invisible Visible

37 Why Coercive control is not

coercive control

Lisa Aronson-Fontes, PhD

24 when relationship abuse is

hard to recognise

Elizabeth Hodder of Gross & Co

27 Confessions of a (non)

Legal-Aid Lawyer

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Editor's Notes


Min Grob started Conference

on Coercive Control in June

2015 following a relationship

that was coercive and


Since then, there have been

three national conferences,

various speaking engagements

and a monthly online

publication- CCChat Magazine.

2018 will see the start of

CCChat Live Discussion

Groups as well as details of the

next Conference on Coercive

Control which will be a dual

venue event to be held in

Bristol and Gloucester.

Min is particularly interested

in how perpetrator tactics can

be identified and has spoken

on the challenging subject of

differentiating between

strident discourse and

deliberate baiting.

With the use of examples from

social media, various covert

tactics aimed at provoking a

response can be identified with

the aim of creating greater

awareness of how abuse

manifests when it is invisible

in plain sight.

Min also talks on coercive

control both her personal

experiences and more


Let's grow the


Editor contact details:


Photo by Alex Kilbee of




It's hard to believe we are already in December. The year has flown by and

what a year it has been! Some of it has been tough, but most of it has been

an amazing journey meeting incredible people, not just within the sector

but also survivors and all those dedicated to driving change. There have

been many humbling experiences, many who have suffered indescribeable

pain, sorrow and loss yet have gone on to make sure others don't suffer

the same fate. This strong, dedicated and committed energy and the

voices that are willing to listen have cut through the often distorted and

defeating narrative that has so often been loudly and depressingly voiced.

2018 promises to be more of the energy and less of the draining droning.

When first embarking on this journey, there was no real understanding of

the dynamics of abuse, the role of the sector and no big picture to form.

Nearly 3 years on, there is now a much better understanding. I had

expected the volunteer sector to be made up of compassionate, empathic

and caring people wanting to help. I imagined a sector that put the needs

of the victim first and continuosly worked to achieve that. I have met

dedicated volunteers who go the full mile, working full time on a part time

salary that is often meagre at best. I know those who are up all night,

preparing bids for funding, having to stretch out lesser resources to supply

an ever increasing need and a determination to not let the challenge

diminish the drive despite the stress of surviving year by year, not

knowing what the future brings, not knowing if the organisation will still

be able to provide services, many outreach, to those who vitally need it,

manage the ever increasing waiting list in the full awareness that everyone

on there needs help now, not later, not 6 months (or sometimes longer).

down the line. Not knowing if this time next year, they will still exist.

This brings me to the things I have seen that make me more determined

to speak out. More determined to make the invisible visible. I have seen

egos at play and territorialism. Much of it a result of the fight for funding.

Each organisation wants to be the one that secures it, so putting forward a

case, drawing on achievements and results is only natural. But sometimes

it crosses a line.

(continued over the page)

Merry Christmas from CCChat

How can we raise awareness of abuse outside of

the sector if we are unwilling to address it within?

I have seen abusive individuals (and a few orgs)

actively try and discredit and sabotage the efforts

of others. I have seen professional jealousy

leading to speakers being 'no platformed' seen

mistakes and failings glossed over, covered up and

- the worst - people being silenced from speaking

out. I have seen abuse tactics displayed from those

who work with vulnerable people, who have

exploited them, who have distorted the law, their

rights, even deliberately prevented the person

needing help from accessing support that would

have served them better by dispensing lies.

Now that I understand so much more about abuse

and how abusers operate, it doesn't surprise me

that they are drawn to areas where victims can be

found. This needs to be weeded out, highlighted,

addressed. When supposed *professionals*

exploit those who desperately need their help by

breaching their confidentiality, by isolating them

and then withdrawing support, by refusing them

the right to complain and - hugely worrying- by

pressurising them into financial decisions, we can

not and must not look the other way. Yes, that is

right, I did say pressurising them, unduly

influencing them, exploiting their desperation in

order to gain financially.

There is a duty , a moral duty to speak up and

speak out. Nowhere has this been more apparent

than in raising the issues of SCAs - the so called

advocates who do more to undermine and

destabilise the wellbeing of a victim than enhance

it. How can we raise awareness of abuse outside of

the sector if we are unwilling to address it within?

These are all questions for 2018, these and more

but for now, I would like to thank everyone who

has supported the conferences and CCChat

Magazine and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Min xx

PS. For those who find Christmas difficult, you are

moving forwards. It may be small steps but,

nontheless, it is a journey where you are moving

forwards. xx

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Coercive Control

is NOT

Coercive Control



gave several talks and interviews on the subject of coercive

control. It is coming up to the 2 year anniversary of s76 of the

Serious Crime Act 2015, which made ‘controlling and coercive

behaviour in an intimate or family setting’ a crime and the question

on everyone's lips was: "Why were the conviction rates so low? What

was going wrong? "

This question, unsurprisingly, got me very fired up BUT not in the way many expected. My view is

that the number of convictions is amazing and a testament to the police officers and the CPS when

they DID ‘get it’. Coercive control is complex. The misdirection and misinformation around it does

nothing to ease the confusion. Before s76 was enacted, many newspaper articles, opinion pieces, etc

talked about the pointlessness of this then upcoming new law. Some of the comments made were: It’s

been drafted to appease feminists. It’s going into a couples relationship where the law has no place to

be. It is impossible to evidence It will criminalise arguments.

The understanding around coercive control has vastly improved and although evidencing to a

criminal standard of proof is still a challenge, there has been surprising progress. Some of these

myths have gone, others have popped up in their place. For example: Contact denial is coercive

control, as is parental alienation, as is catfishing. It seems that everyone who wants new legislation

with which to beat someone, is trying to include it under the umbrella of coercive control.

Let’s look at some of the sticking points:

COERCIVE CONTROL IS ILLEGAL This is only partly true. SCA2015 s76 states ‘ controlling

behaviour in an intimate or family setting’ This means there is a requirement to be in an intimate

relationship or for family members to be living under the same roof. Therefore the incident of

coercive control is much wider than the statute that criminalises it. It does not take into account post

separation abuse unless both parties still share a home.

COERCIVE CONTROL IS NOT COERCIVE CONTROL Yes, that is correct. When you look up

the words Coercive and Control in a dictionary, it is not the same as Coercive Control within the

context of an abusive relationship. This is something that is repeatedly misunderstood - by police,

lawyers, social workers. If coercive control is not properly understood, there is a risk that the

perpetrator will be able to use the law to attack the victim. This is an extremely serious issue and one

that can not be minimised. I feel passionately about. Abusive partners know how to hurt, goad, mock,

deride, ridicule. They often know everything about a victim so know how to cut them to the quick,

they know how to fell. They are in possession of a victim’s Achilles heel and they use it with

impunction and with impunity.

The aim of the perpetrator is to incite a reaction. When the victim inevitably responds, it will be an

outburst, the last straw on the camel's back and a result of a long and relentless campaign of niggling,

seemingly obtuse references which are very significant to the victim. Once the victim has reacted,

often negatively, the abuser will then claim victim status. This is played out to great effect in many

many instances of cc and it is often dismissed as tit for tat, as reciprocal. Often the abuser will then

recruit others to further incite a reaction…often sharing specific trigger words to get the effect they

want. This is mobbing and a separate issue entirely to trolling ( much more of this subject in 2018)

THERE IS NO ONE ACT OF COERCIVE CONTROL Yes, that’s correct. Coercive control is

specific to the person so what is cc in one situation is not necessarily so in another. This is something

that many are finding difficult to grasp especially as guidance notes often include a list of


Merry Christmas from CCChat

The crucial point is this:

It is EXTREMELY difficult to legislate for a course

of conduct crime that is specific to the individual.

The law has been drafted in a way so that it can

encompass various situations and the guidance

notes offer a list of behaviours as a guide.

These are EXAMPLES. The list is there to give an

example of the types of behaviour cc can

encompass, it is not a tick list and, unfortunately,

that is how it is being interpreted in the vast

majority of cases.

Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour which

seeks to subjugate a victim and has a serious effect

on them.

Contact denial is not Coercive Control This is most

probably the biggest misconception and the one

that generates the most resistance even to the

point of abuse.

There may be a substance abuse issue, there may

be neglect. Not uncommon for a controlling

parent to demand 50% contact as their ‘right’ only

for them to offload their child onto a childminder,

a neighbour, a new partner which may not be in

the interests of the child.

To be part of a pattern of behaviour there would

need to be a history of controlling and coercive

behaviour which has had a serious effect on the

victim which can continue post separation

through the courts, through the child.

It is not simply a tick list of 2 incidents.

Parental alienation, again, is not coercive control.

As part of a pattern of abuse it can be but this is

not to be confused with spite, anger, revenge etc.

Parental alienation is also not solely a tool for the

parent with residency.

It is EXTREMELY difficult to legislate for a course of

conduct crime that is specific to the individual.

Contact denial is NOT coercive control for the

purposes of s76 as it is post separation abuse.

'Family situation' in the act includes people who

were in a relationship but still living under one

roof but it would be a pretty big house for one

parent to deny contact when they are all under

one roof.

Outside of the statute, in the family courts,

contact denial is also not coercive control. It CAN

be but isn’t automatically so.



RELATIONSHIP. It will have been there

throughout the relationship. When there is

contact denial and manipulative behaviour, the

chances are it is anger spite revenge fear.

Breakdowns create intense emotions and quick

fire reactions that may not be there when the raw

pain has subsided. It is simply notthe case that a

break up will have been the beginning of coercive

control if there was none before.

It needs to be remembered that contact denial can

also be a response to a genuine concern a child

may be at risk and that risk goes beyond domestic


Non resident parents are capable of turning a

child against the resident parent and this is often

forgotten in the false narrative of the corrupt

family court where every father is seen as an

abuser. It is simply not true. Some parents will

recruit their child to spy on the resident parent

and feedback information with, as is often the

case, bribes or extra freedoms.

At this stage, probably only 1/3 of the polices

forces in the U.K. have received some form of

coercive control training that is adequate and,

even with that training, cc with its bespoke nature,

will always be an incredibly difficult crime to

identify, evidence and prosecute.

Much of the understanding takes time to process.

Often victims are disoriented and unaware that

they are victims of abuse having likely been

brainwashed by the perpetrator into believing

they are the villain, that it is their fault, that they

are mentally ill and an unsuspecting police officer

can miss the signs if they are not professionally


To better understand coercive control, we need to

understand WHAT it is and not define it as

something whatever we want it to be.

Min Grob

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Meet Pat Craven

The Freedom


Merry Christmas from CCChat


The Freedom Programme

Pat Craven is the author of

The Freedom Programme.

As a Probaion Oicer, Pat

ran courses for male

perpetrators of violence

against women and


Ater two years, she

realised that the men used

a range of tacics to

control women. this led to

Pat wriing the Freedom

Programme to be able to

impart the knowledge to

the women who had no

idea of these tacics but

also to educate men, girls

and boys and other


This was followed, in 2008

with the book 'Living with

the Dominator available as

a paperback and kidle


Today, there are a number

of ways to learn more

about the dominator

including a series of

animaions which address

a serious issue in an easily

assimilated style. For more





are the 'Rules of the Game'? Pat Craven spent

10 years talking to hundreds of violent men in her

role as both a Probation Officer and a parole

officer. For 2 years she sat with groups of men who

had assaulted, raped and killed women and, to her

horror, she came to the realisation that she had

colluded, although unwittingly, with every abusive

man she had ever met.

It made Pat realise that many women do not have an

understanding of what is happening to them and feel that

what has happened must be their fault. A desire to share her

knowledge resulted in the irst Freedom Programme in 1999.

As well as the 12 week Freedom Programme which is

available nationwide through a netwrok of facilitators, it is

now possible to do the coursed online. There are also courses

for men, follow up courses and training for facilitators.

A new 10 week follow on course has just been launched ,

Freedom Forever, which reinforces the learning from the irst

Freedom Programme.

There is also an audio visual pack of 11 stunning animations

lasting a little over an hour and which encapsulates the

Freedom Programme in an easy to assimilate format. The

whole pack is available for only £120 and will be a great asset

to any organisation hoping to raise awareness and increase


The quote Pat herself:

"Men do not abuse women because of drink, drugs, anger,

porn addiction, stress, narcissist personality disorder, sex

addiction, low self-esteem, ADHD, OCD, jealousy, broken

hearts, exploding bollox, overwork, unemployment or any

other bolloxology excuses. They do it because they hate


Merry Christmas from CCChat

Milking Time

Jo Wood


here exists……cloaked in the robes of

professionalism and respectability……. A form

of abuse so well-orchestrated and accepted,

that potentially even the abuser is unaware of

its impact.

It is becoming accepted and acceptable to the point that people are shouting

about it on social media – screaming out for more “victims” to exploit – and

the vulnerable fall for it – jump right in and are left to handle the fallout for

the rest of their days. I call it “milking” The process of milking anything –

animal, vegetable or mineral, involves obtaining something from said object/

person/creature that can be used for your advantage – otherwise you wouldn’t

be doing it.

The most common “milker” is the over enthusiastic and naïve journalist. I

choose my words carefully because said journalist may have worked in their

profession for years and be very good at what they do. his does not however,

make them empathic, sensitive or even slightly understanding of, victims and

survivors of interpersonal abuses. An example – very early in my work with

victims and survivors, while still relatively naïve and trusting, I subjected

myself to an interview with a journalist on a dark and wet Friday afternoon. I

can recall almost every detail of that afternoon – as clearly as one does

following a serious assault, rape or sexual abuse from childhood. It seemed

like a good time to do so as she required urgent quotes for a weekend breaking


Regrettably I told her – effectively first disclosures – things I had never

spoken about before – because they were exactly the sort of things she was

seeking for her article and because I could easily – or so I thought – provide

first hand accurate information. Almost one hour in, she caught sight of the

clock, stopped me in my tracks, told me she had enough “material “and raced

out of the door into a waiting taxi. She had the decency to call before being

swallowed up in traffic noise and apologised for her abrupt departure – citing

train times as her need for urgency.

And so, I sat, on a dark and rainy Friday afternoon, in a dark and empty

house, devoid of humans as the weekend had begun, shocked into utter silence

and immobility by the full force of what had happened. The emotions washed

over me, painful to the point of doubling over, clutching at my

Merry Christmas from CCChat

stomach and eventually wailing in

agony – emotional agony as the past

decades were dug up, raked over and

cast aside as “enough material” leaving

me to pick up the pieces.

And I decided in that moment, never

to subject any other victim or survivor

to such abuse and torture, no matter

what. It is no rare event.

Several times a month, well-meaning

journalists of printed matter, radio and

TV make contact for what we now call

“dial a victim” – specifying exactly the

type of “victim” they want to speak to

–anonymised of course – must be

under 30,preferably good looking

There is very little chance that she will

have had the opportunity to access any

form of counselling or aftercare

support so soon after the rape/assault/

abuse, so – telling a complete stranger

for the benefit of the perving masses

–it just isn’t going to happen.

Then the calls for “victims” – always

“victims” who may have been subject

to online abuse, rape following a date,

arranged through a dating agency,

someone abused on public transport,

in their home, by their father, by their

mother, on the number 26 bus, while

wearing a black skirt, after visiting a

“ it is gross exploitation of a victim in order

to bring a touch of reality to a news report"

it would be amazing if she could be a

virgin - and was out last weekend with

her friends in town, got raped on the

way home and has already reported to

the police – we want to know what it

was like going through the forensic

examination…………. How many things

are wrong with such an enquiry?

First of all it is gross exploitation of a

victim in order to bring a touch of

reality to a news report. Then there is

the recency of the events – the painful

rawness will only have just begun to

kick in.

It is unlikely that the victim will have

so far, or indeed ever, wish to tell

anyone about the horrors she has

recently endured – if she can even

remember them herself

particular club, while walking through

the woods, while under 18,while still a

virgin, at school, by a teacher, by a

doctor…………… like we have a handy

library of case studies sitting on

shelves in boxes – waiting to be

wheeled out and exploited for public

consumption, judgement and


So – the answer is generally – no – no

we don’t do that – we don’t do that

because any individual who has

recovered sufficiently from what

happened to them to leave our service

will only be retraumatised if we call

them up and say “Hey –fancy reliving

that hell you endured, with a

journalist who wants a decent

story? Anonymously of

course……you'll be OK, you’ve had


Merry Christmas from CCChat

And if they are still in service, the

impact could be even more traumatic –

an abuse of trust, a loss of confidence,

a loss of security and a feeling of utter

despair and exploitation – so no – we

don’t do that

Remember – in the eyes of the law

many “victims” are simply and remain

“alleged victims” because they never

report, police are never involved and

there has never been a prosecution –

so although we believe them and

support them 100% - we (support

services) are are unique in this

approach. For many survivirs of

interpersonal violence, we are the

ONLY organisations who will support

but no reputable, professional, safe

support agency would ever ask their

clients to take part in such.

It employs harmful and damaging

prejudices. It uses words of abuse –

historic, alleged, potential victim,

vulnerable, drunk……..the language of

abuse – the language of blame – the

language of retraumatisation with far

reaching and potentially fatal effects.

It can restart the cycle of personal

blame – the endless rehashing of one’s

personal experiences – the blame, the

recovery – the self-doubt and the loss

of trust in the sight of such blatant

exploitation. It is exploitive.

“ We don’t validate, we don’t ask for

proof.We support ”

unconditionally. We don’t VALIDATE,

we don’t ask for proof, we don’t get

references, seek information on

previous partners or sexual adventures

– we support that individual sitting in

front of us – or at the end of the


Yes we conduct risk and needs

assessments – as inconspicuously and

professionally as possible. Yes we

introduce safeguarding measures

where so indicated and yes we ensure

full and complete confidentiality at all

times but we never have “alleged


With so much in the media about child

sexual abuse, rape, exploitation and

trafficking, I guess it is only human

nature to want to hear first-hand from

those who have experienced it

It is harmful and without full and

compete – and often long-term care

and support – can be life changing or

life taking.

There will always be a handful of

survivors who want their voices to be

heard – and we will always support

them to be heard – but only after

careful consideration and assessment.

Ensuring they are in a good place

mentally and physically and are going

to be supported long after their story is

heard – that they understand the

potential harm they are invoking on

themselves and that they are going to

be helped to cope with the fallout and

aftermath when the public, including

past, present and future perpetrators

get to have their say and comment

Merry Christmas from CCChat

The repercussions and impacts

of such disclosures are huge and

potentially damaging and this

point is missed in the rush for a

good story. Victims and

survivors are not “for sale” they

are not samples to be paraded

for funding purposes – they are

not case studies for public


It has to stop.

Most victim and survivor

supporting organisations are

staffed by qualified

professionals who will happily

give quotes and speak endlessly

about the impacts and effects of

interpersonal violence.

Listen to them

Get the reality in print but leave

the victims and survivors to


Editor's note:

This article has appeared in a

previous edition of CCChat but it

is an excellent one to reflect on

what we want from services

when, all too often, external

pressures can get in the way of

what is important.

Once they have healed, leave

those wounds closed and stop

picking at the edges in the

hopes of some gory seepage that

might just make the front page.

Not for sale.

Not now.

Not ever.

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Exposing the SCAs*

*so called advocate



When can someone who works

with victims make the victim's situation


Answer: When the person in question is a


Hardly a day goes by without some form of contact from a victim or survivor who discloses

that the support they have received made their situation worse. In fact, that is probably the

mildest response I have had. Many more talk about the advice given as being reckless,

dangerous even. On more than one occasion I have heard of victims having to leave social

media because of harassment and threats. Some have even become suicidal as a result.

Threats of police action and legal action are common but also threats to disclose personal

information, contact the perpetrator for 'verification', disclosure of address details. The list

goes on.

These aren't the common or garden variety of trolls that tap out bile for kicks. These are

people who claim to be *professionals*. People who offer to help vulnerable people who

are desperate and, unfortunately, ripe for exploitation by the unscrupulous. These are

people who can only be described as lab rat scientists who experiment, who test out their

dubious theories- all with the aim of gaining recognition as a * Leader In Their Field*.

They use many tactics to snare the victim into utilising their services.

A popular one is discrediting all the major support providers.

Another one is by deliberately creating a situation of greater fear. The aim of this is to get

the victim to panic, to not think straight, to see the so called advocate as their only hope.

The only option to keep them protected, safe, supported. It creates a codependancy on the

so called advocate.

However you look at it, this kind of *help* is dangerous not just to the individuals they

come across but also to the sector.

It's not enough to ignore and hope they will go away. We need to talk about it and we need

to talk about it now.

another repeat article because, with the New Year approaching, it is a good idea to focus

minds on what the sector wants, needs and how best to achieve it. Min Grob

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Dead Babies As Satire?

or is it masking something

more sinister?

Merry Christmas from CCChat

“The campaign, which had already nose dived to rock

bottom with its methods, then started digging its

own grave, by posting a picture of a dead baby. ”

There are a number of crimes and abusive

behaviours that operate below the radar. Not

dissimilar to the 'butter wouldn't melt' kid who

kicks, pokes or pinches under the table. These

surreptitious acts are aimed at abusing without it

looking like obvious abuse.

We are all familiar with the mean kid, sibling,

teacher, parent who gave us a much disliked

nickname and would wheel it out to taunt, to

mock, to deride. It was never meant to be

lighthearted fun, not really. The aim was to hurt.

with the reaction the sadistic pleasure. Abusive

grown ups nowadays minimise taunting as

'banter'. Others call it satire, a parody, a roast.

A send - up may be a well intentioned, comically

astute take-off, but there is a fine line between

laughing with and at a person and, at the extreme

end, what they class as a risque but still acceptable

lampoon has the explicit aim of extracting the

most excoriation and humiliation with cruel and

excrutiating contempt. It is worth noting that the

worst attacks are often a result of specific

knowledge that only a close acquaintance would

be privy to.

This was made very clear recently, when an

'alleged' professional, not appreciating their

modus operandi being questioned, launched into

a no-holds-barred onslaught made up of creating

fake accounts to abuse, recruiting others in an

orchestrated and sustained mobbing campaign

and a mass of vexatious complaints made to

various organisations.

The campaign, which had already nose dived to

rock bottom with its methods, then started

digging its own grave, by posting a picture of a

dead baby.

It turns out that the dead baby wasn't, in fact,

dead but seriously ill. this mattered little because

it had achieved the desired effect and the person

who passed on the priviledged information was

fully aware of the significance and, consequently,

the immense distress caused to the recipient of

that 'joke'.

Subsequent responses included all manner of

excuses to try and deflect from what was a

grotesque and, even for them, completely ill

judged manouevre.

As it is Christmas and a time of

good cheer, the more gruesome

details will be kept under wraps,

for now at least. Suffice it to say

that, in order to properly identify

and evidence coercive control and

the way it manifests, below the

radar, we need to start looking for

evidence there, where it resides.

not on the surface, where is

remains largely unseen.

We need to shine a light and make

the invisible visible and refuse to

be fobbed off by excuses of free

speech or banter when the clear

intention is to lacerate in a

sustained pattern of abuse.

Min Grob

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Making the Invisible Visible

Harried by the Mob

Sarah Phillimore

Internet Abuse and harassment.

What have I learned and what do we need to do?

Since about May 2016 I have attracted the

attentions of a fairly organised group of

people who use the internet – social media

and email – to campaign against people they

have decided they don’t like. My ‘crime’ was

to criticise an article written about family


That started the ball rolling and it has been

speeding down the hill ever since, gathering

debris and increasing in size. My

‘punishment’ was to find that members of

this group would continually publish

material on social media – including my

photograph and my home address. I would

be subjected to frequent insults and

defamatory claims and those posting would

often send their publications to my

Chambers, journalists or other high profile


My Instagram account has been mined and a

picture of my au pair in a bikini posted and

reposted, obviously in the mistaken belief

that this is me and I should be ashamed for

not having an acceptable ‘bikini body’.

So far, so risible. But today hit a new low

when one of this group posted a picture of a

dead baby with massive head trauma.

Was this aimed at me or one of the many

others this group have decided to target?

Who knows. Who can fathom the kind of

mind that thinks this is an acceptable way to


The various ‘defences’ offered up by this

group for their behaviour are ‘it's satirical’

‘you are rude so you deserve us being rude

back at you’ and ‘it's our freedom of speech’.

I look at a picture of a dead baby with skull

trauma and wonder what this says about us

as a society if we are prepared to simply

accept that this is ‘satire’ or ‘freedom of


Why won’t other agencies act? Why do the

social media platforms appear to have little

or no will to act quickly and consistently to

enforce mimimum standards of behaviour?

This behaviour is disturbing enough. But it

has also extended from social media to direct

email communication with my Chambers,

my regulatory body the Bar Standards Board,

the Information Commissioners Office and

the police. Lengthy complaints were written

hinting darkly at my potential criminal


So far, none of the complaints have been

upheld. But they are

Merry Christmas from CCChat

not simply annoying and tedious for me to deal

with – they are taking up a considerable amount

of time on the part of these other agencies who all

have much better things to be doing with their


So – what have I learned? What, if anything can I

take that is positive about this experience? It has

certainly been an education. I am a resilient and

organised person with some small amount of

spare cash.

I was able to make some headway against the

more easily identifiable and high profile member

of this group and succeeded in persuading the

Metropolitan police to issue an harassment

warning notice against her in March of this year.

However, this proved to be a futile exercise as the

police were not then willing to arrest my harasser

for her continuing targeting of me.

It has enabled me to learn so much. Why

should it be dismissed then by police or other

agencies as simply some lawless ‘Wild West’

and complaints about abusive and

intimidatory behaviour effectively shrugged

off as down to the victim to manage?

Because I am interested in this and how and

why we appear to have chosen collectively

not to deal with this, in the New Year I am

going to investigate more fully the law

around on line abuse and the remedies that

might be available to counter it.

I had a successful crowdfunder which raised

just under £1K to seek legal advice. I have

started a website where I will gather

thoughts, commentary and other resources. I

would be really interested to hear your views

and your experiences.

“If we don’t like it, we can simply ignore those who are abusing us or

not go on line again. ” We have to do better.

This kind of attitude is simply bizarre.

Equally disappointing, the regulatory body to

which I have made three complaints since

September 2016 have done nothing effective; as

far as I know they have not yet even put the

second and third complaints to the harasser.

I have learned with horrible clarity what many

others already know. That the onus is put on the

‘victim’ to manage the behaviour of the

‘perpetrator’. Abuse which is generated on line or

comes primarily from there is seen as somehow

‘not really important’ or ‘not really real’.

If we don’t like it, we can simply ignore those who

are abusing us or not go on line again.

We have to do better. This kind of attitude is

simply bizarre. My on line life is not some feeble

simulacrum of my ‘real life’. It is not something I

could simply give up.

My online life is now a very important part of my

whole life. It has enabled me to make connections

and friendships with people I would simply never

have met in any other circumstances.

My internet abusers have now circulated a picture

of a babywho appears to be dead. Apparently, the

baby is not dead but has herpes. This appears to

give some satisfaction to the group who boast that

I and the others who have been upset by his 'have

been played' or that we are the 'sick, disgusting'

ones for thinking the child was dead. I remind this

group that that they chose to publish this

photograph without context or explanation.

That I am not a forensic paediatrician and when I

see a picture of a baby with what appears to be

considerable skull trauma and bleeding around

the eyes, to assume the child is dead is a

reasonable assumption. I am glad this baby wasn't

dead. But dead or alive, this baby remains a very

powerful symbol of the corrupted and warped

mentality of a group of people who chose to spend

their time on the internet not in learning or

discussion - but in attempting to spread hatred

and fear.

I will continue to do what I can to lawfully bring

an end to all and any of their operations. The

world is dark enough without allowing such

people the internet as their playground.

Merry Christmas from CCChat

CCChat Magazine is now on Patreon

If you have enjoyed reading the magazine and would like to be

a part of developing and improving it, please consider becoming

a patron and create a bigger platform for


Please cut and paste the following into your browser to take

you directly to the page.

Merry Christmas from CCChat

For 2018




Merry Christmas from CCChat

From January 2018, CCChat will feature

a new section which looks at court

judgements and sentencing reports in

order to highlight the instances where

abuse was not identified and possible

reasons why, including the common

misconceptions, as well as the effect

of unconscious and, in some cases,

implicit bias- all OF which go towards

Deciding an outcome.

This section is, in no means, an attack

on the judiciary but aims to highlight

areas where a possible lack of

understanding around the nature of

course of conduct offences such as

harassment, stalking and coercive

control and the ways in which the

behaviour of both perpetrator and

victims can send out the wrong

messages can have a huge effect on

the judgment.

The first case to be looked at in

January will be a case involving

consent and use of a 'date rape'


If there is a case of interest

which can be looked at, in order to

widen understanding of the dynamics

of abuse, please get in touch on:

Please note that only

judgements published and

available in the public domain will

be featured .

Merry Christmas from CCChat

New for 2018


Goes Live!



first set of Coercive Control Discussion Groups

will be based in East Anglia - namely, Norwich,

Ipswich, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds with a

national roll out expected later in the year.

MakING the Invisible Visible

This discussion group will meet periodically ( frequency dependant on

participants wishes and availability) and is open to frontline professions and

any one working with people who may be affected by coercive control.

The group will look at the recognition of coercive control, how it is being

viewed and is an ideal opportunity for practioners to share experiences in

order to gain greater understanding.

The group is suitable for:

Police Officers


Court Staff

Social Workers





Emergency Room Staff

Probation Officers

Victim Support

It is not a DV forum, it is a group for interested individuals to learn and share.

Anyone wishing to apply to the group will need to apply by email to

Further details coming soon.

Merry Christmas from CCChat


#Abuse Talk's Jennifer Gilmour tells CCChat

why books relating to domestic abuse

are important to read.



books that relate to domestic abuse, either as

entertainment or for educational value, is important not

just to those within the sector but also to those who have

experienced abuse; those who are currently experiencing

abuse and those who aren’t experiencing it at all.

Hopefully, by reading this article I will be able to show you why. I will begin by

explaining how I came to write my fictional novel ‘Isolation Junction’. The idea to

write a novel came about as a result of attending an awareness course about

Domestic Abuse. Alongside me on the course were about eight other women who

had been in abusive relationships. As the day progressed, I found that I simply

couldn’t believe that some aspects of what the other women were saying mirrored

exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format and different


It is well documented and backed by research that domestic abuse tends to go in a

cycle (see photo) and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and

again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went by

there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the

cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible. By the

end of the course I had come to understand that we were all subjected to the same

behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone ie

that a relationship could be so unhealthy and soul destroying.

I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable

behaviour; they needed to see the warning signs before the relationship developed

or the behaviour got seriously out of control. On the other hand I needed others to

see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour

within it is not acceptable and is not their fault, it can't simply be changed by

changing yourself.

I knew I had a story to tell and decided that my first novel had to be more than a

book. It had to be a message - a way for others to be able to pass a message on to

help victims and to get the penny to drop and bring realisation of what is happening

sooner. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise

they are not the only ones out there and it is acceptable to talk about the abuse.

Merry Christmas from CCChat

After releasing my first novel I finally

got the opportunity to start reading

other books on domestic abuse (both

fiction and non-fiction).

It was important for me to do this

because I learnt more about what

perpetrators are capable of. Anyone

who works in the sector, I believe,

should continue to read case study

material to extend their knowledge.

Those not working in the sector who

believe they, or someone they know, is

being abused would also benefit.

it will also educate those who know

nothing or have a very small

understanding of what abuse looks


Awareness is one of the biggest

challenges facing us because it is hard

to describe what a ‘typical’ abusive

relationship looks like.

The more informed people are, the

more understanding they have and

even if just one person is helped as a

result, it is one less person living this


“More than a book - books with a message.”

My intention in writing my book as a

novel was to give access to readers in a

more accessible way than traditional

textbook material.

Many of my readers have either

claimed an understanding of what

abuse looks like or have expressed the

view that they no longer felt alone.

I passionately believe that reading

material of this nature will not hinder

but aid those who work in the sector.

It will help victims recognise what they

are going through, help survivors

relate and not feel isolated as well as

give them the courage to voice what

happened to them.

About Isolation Junction;

This book follows the story of Rose who is

stuck in an abusive and coercive relationship

referred to as Isolation Junction. After years

of emotional abuse, the self doubt about her

future and the erosion of her confidence,

Rose takes a stand.

Finding herself alone, penniless and

frightened Rose wonders how she will ever

escape from the situation to provide a better

life for herself and her children. With 100

reasons to leave and 1000 reasons why she

perceives she can't - will she have the

courage to do it? And will she find the

support to regain control and confidence?

Find it on Amazon:


Find me on Facebook:

Twitter: @JenLGilmour

My website:

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Just before we hit December #AbuseTalk had a

challenging discussion point which was ‘Gas

Lighting’, this was chosen by people who join in

and put to a public vote. It took a while to warm to

the discussion and there was a few articles shared

to help get the discussion on its way. I have

involved the lovely @CCCBuryStEd in this edition

because I am sure many will relate with this as I


Even now I can find myself replaying memories

trying to figure out if it was my fault or not, I

assure you I know it wasn’t my fault but you can’t

help but think it at times.

You can get involved with #AbuseTalk, Its

every Wednesday 8-9pm GMT, there will

be a festive break on the 27th December

and 3rd January. Anyone can get involved

with the discussions, all you have to do is

sign into Twitter on the dedicated time and

tweet with the #AbuseTalk. The account

@AbuseChat will retweet and be involved

in the conversation. If you have any

articles, blog posts, thoughts, feelings on

domestic abuse then this is a space were

you can express it.

Don’t know what a

Twitter Chat is?

“A Twitter chat is a public

Twitter conversation around

one unique hashtag. This

hashtag allows you to follow the

discussion and participate in it.

Twitter chats are usually

recurring and on specific topics

to regularly connect people with

these interests.”


Merry Christmas from CCChat

When Relationship Abuse is Hard to


Lisa Aronson-Fontes, PhD

Lisa Aronson-Fontes,

PhD, has a doctorate in

counseling psychology

and has worked in the

areas of child abuse,

violence against women,

challenging family

issues, and crosscultural

research for

over 25 years.

A professor, researcher,

and popular conference

speaker, she teaches at

the University of



Dr. Fontes is the author

of Invisible Chains:


Coercive Control in

Your Intimate

Relationship as well

as the professional

resources Child Abuse

and Culture and

Interviewing across




Threats. Humiliation.

Sometimes even physical abuse. These

are the weapons of coercive control, a

strategy used by some people against

their intimate partners.

A relationship that should involve loving support ends

up as a trap designed for domination. Although

coercive control can show up in a variety of

relationships, the most common is one in which a man

uses coercive control against his wife or girlfriend.

However, people of any gender and orientation can be

victims or victimizers.

People subject to coercive control grow anxious and

afraid. Coercive control strips away their

independence, sense of self, and basic rights, such as

the right to make decisions about their own time,

friends, and appearance. Many men who use coercive

control also abuse partners physically or sexually, but

some use coercive control without physical violence.

Outsiders may not be able to see the signs of coercive

control in a couple; those who use it are often quite

charming. Victims of coercive control often feel like

hostages. Over time, being grilled, criticized, stalked,

and monitored may seem routine and inescapable.

Victims often blame themselves as they feel despairing

and disoriented. It’s easy for a person in this position

to lose confidence and accept a partner’s view of


More info:

Merry Christmas from CCChat

victims often do not see the

connection between their

partner’s control and their own

isolation until time has passed.

They may feel confused as they are

told again and again that they

themselves have triggered their

partner’s behaviors by doing

something "wrong." At the same time,

to keep the peace, victims may

suppress their own desires, silence

their voices, and detach from loved

ones. Unfortunately, victims often do

not see the connection between their

partner’s control and their own

isolation until time has passed.

Loving acts become another

controlling tactic.

Losing self-confidence and close

relationships at the same time can be

paralyzing. People who get caught in

the web of a controlling person are no

different from others. They just have

the bad luck to become involved with

an abuser at a time when they are

especially vulnerable. Typically, an

abuser will lavish attention on a

woman at the beginning of the

relationship. Over time, he becomes

jealous, monitors her whereabouts,

and restricts her interactions with

others. His partner thinks the original

“helpful man” is the “real” him, and if

she does things right, he’ll go back to

being wonderful again. At times he

may indeed act loving, if this seems

like the best way to maintain his

control. Loving acts become another

controlling tactic.

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Reading List



Lisa Aronson-Fontes, PhD

Child Abuse and Culture

Workingwith Diverse Families

This book provides an accessible framework for culturally

competent practice with children and families in child

maltreatment cases. Numerous workable strategies and

concrete examples are presented to help readers address

cultural concerns at each stage of the assessment and

intervention process.

Professionals and students learn new ways of thinking

about their own cultural viewpoints as they gain critical

skills for maximizing the accuracy of assessments for

physical and sexual abuse; overcoming language barriers

in parent and child interviews; respecting families' values

and beliefs while ensuring children's safety; creating a

welcoming agency environment; and more.

Invisible Chains-Overcoming Coercive

Control in Your Intimate Relationship

When you are showered with attention, it can feel

incredibly romantic and can blind you to hints of problems

ahead. But what happens when attentiveness becomes

domination? In some relationships, the desire to control

leads to jealousy, threats, micromanaging—even physical


If you or someone you care about are trapped in a web of

coercive control, this book provides answers, hope, and a

way out.

Lisa Aronson Fontes draws on both professional expertise

and personal experience to help you:

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Confessions of a

(non) legal aid lawyer

by Elizabeth Hodder



the legal profession as an Articled Clerk, and was admitted as a Solicitor just

over 33 years ago. The profession I joined then, is not the profession that I am

working in now. Is it better, or worse now? Without a shadow of a doubt; it is worse.

In 1982, Legal Aid was a bit like the National Health Service used to be. It was always

there for you/your clients; you knew you would get help, even if you had to queue for

a little while; it was fair.

“Is it better, or worse now?

Without a shadow of a doubt; it is worse. ”

The Green Form existed for undefended divorce. Legal Aid Certificates were issued for disputes over

financial issues arising from divorce; injunctions and children disputes. In 2013 when Legal Aid all

but vanished for the majority, the population of the UK was 64.1 million. In 1982 when I entered the

profession, it was 56 million. 2014 figures show we were spending £2 billion on the Legal Aid budget.

Comparing this with the much bigger jurisdictions of France and Germany, where the spend was

£290 million and £272 million respectively, it was not rocket science that there had to be changes.

So, four years ago LASPO came in, and as a result most who were previously eligible for Legal Aid, no

longer were.

For many years before that however, the remuneration rate for Legal Aid lawyers doing family work

was so low, that huge numbers of firms gave up doing Legal Aid altogether. At a time when most

firms were charging £150.00 plus per hour for family law work, the Green Form (which paid lawyers

for undefended divorces and general family advice), was paying £50.05 per hour. Work done under a

Legal Aid Certificate (which covered the cost of contested proceedings) was paid at the rate of about

£68.00 per hour plus VAT. Faced with rising rents and other overheads, not least of which was the

increasing cost of professional indemnity insurance, many firms took the decision to drop out of the

Legal Aid market.

My firm was one of many which moved seamlessly into the market of providing legal services to

family clients at commercial rates. Those who would have instructed me under a Legal Aid

Certificate, now either went to the only other firm in town which still offered Legal Aid; found

funding to pay to “go private”; or self-represented. In the last four years, it has become common to

have an opponent who is self-representing. This can be challenging, on a number of levels. As a

Solicitor who is deemed to know the rules, I have to play by them.

My opponent, does not. This is an un-level playing field. My aim is to do the best job I can for my

client, in the quickest possible time, and for the least possible cost to him or her. My opponents have

very different agendas. It is easy for a litigant in person to bombard an instructed lawyer with

correspondence which is not only demoralising, but runs up a very large bill for my client.

Merry Christmas from CCChat

Elizabeth Hodder is the client care

partner who specialises in family law

cases at Gross and Co solicitors, a

specialist firm of solicitors with offices

in Bury St Edmunds and London.

For more information, please cut and

paster the following into your browser:

Merry Christmas from CCChat

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