CCChat-Magazine_11 (1)


CCChat t Magazine

The Empower


The Magazine on Coercive Control

Issue 11

September 2018


Survivors' Symposium


EMPOWER HUB - The Launch

Rachel Williams


Talking about her petition PLUS a chance to win her book.

Countdown to Conference on

Coercive Control- LONDON


Editor's Notes

3 After a summer of radio silence,

Min Grob resurfaces with updates.

A Woman On A Mission

8 Rachel Williams and a chance

to win her book.


10 The launch of a new learning

and support hub.

Stalking not Harassment

13 Meet stalking expert Alison

Bird, CCChat's new columnist.

The CCChat Interview

18 We interview Clare Walker

Abuse Talk

21 Jennifer Gilmour updates on the Book

Club, the forum and Abuse Talk

Freedom Flowers

26 Chapter 3 - The Newborn

The Empower Issue

Editor's Notes

About the


Min Grob started

Conference on Coercive

Control in June 2015, after

leaving a relationship that

was coercive and


Since then, Min has held

four national conferences,

spoken at several events, as

well as publishing CCChat

Magazine, an online

publication on and around

coercive control.

September 2018 sees the

launch of Empower Hub -

a hub for connecting,

learning and supporting

around coercive control.

Min is particularly

interested in the various

tactics used by perpetrators

and how these tactics are

often conflated by those

who are unaware of the

many ways in which a

perpetrator will manipulate.

Using various examples

from social media, Min has

spoken on the challenging

subject of differentiating

between strident discourse

and deliberate baiting

where perpetrators aim to

get under the skin of their

victim without drawing

attention to themselves as

abusers. Abusers are very

adept at using covert tactics

aimed at provoking a


Min talks on coercive

control both her own

personal experience and

more generally.

Contact the Editor:


Autumn Mists and Empowerment

It's been a while since the last issue of CCChat Magazine. In fact, the last

issue was in June and coincided with the fourth Conference on Coercive

Control which was held at the University of Bristol.

Much has happened in the intervening summer months but first, an

apology for the hiatus. Football World Cup fever meant the rural

supersnail WiFi was especially sluggish and inched and crawled at the rate

Atlantic coral grows - and that is not fast. In the middle of this snail pace

came exciting developments, so the magazine was put on the backburner

for the duration of summer.

And what are these developments?

Firstly, the first Survivors' Symposium was held in August. This looked at

how victims who had been failed by the system were left vulnerable to

being exploited by services that, rather than safeguard them, led to them

being significantly re-traumatised. The accounts given by survivors

highlighted a shocking chasm in accountability where some services,

although not necessarily breaking the law, demonstrated an amoral and

deeply worrying lack of remorse when serious concerns were raised. The

Symposium was set up to look at how victims have been/can be failed/

exploited and how better provisions can be put in place to safeguard

against this.

September also sees the launch of Empower - a hub for connecting,

supporting and educating. More on this in the magazine.

And, of course, there are the conferences. The upcoming one this

November in London, one in Liverpool in 2019 and several more planned

- included one which looks at the wilful blindness around recognising

certain forms of abuse. As the saying goes, There are none so blind as

those who will not see.

Hope you enjoy this edition of CCChat and see you in November.

The Empower Issue

It’s nearly here!

Conference on Coercive

Control LONDON

24th November 2018

University of London

Tickets on sale now!

Who are the speakers?

Professor Evan Stark is a sociologist, forensic

social worker and award winning researcher with

an international reputation. Professor Stark played

a major role in the consultation that led to the

drafting of the new offence.

Suzanne Martin, PhD is a Psychotherapist,

VAWG specialist and academic with experience of

working in the NHS, HE, voluntary and private

sectors and set up the MA Understanding

Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse at


Joanne Beverley is the sister of Natalie

Hemming who was brutally murdered by her

partner. The story of how Paul Hemming became

the subject of a murder enquiry became the

subject of a Channel 4 documentary Catching a

Killer:The search for Natalie Hemming

David Challen is the youngest son of Sally

Challen currently campaigning for her appeal of

the murder of his father Richard Challen. Sally

killed her husband Richard after a suffering a

lifetime coercive control and physical violence by


Alexandra Stein, PhD is a writer and educator

specialising in the social psychology of ideological

extremism and other dangerous social

relationships. She is the author of Terror, Love

and Brainwashing: Attachments in cults and

totalitarian systems.

Christian Szurko is the founder of Dialog Centre

UK which provides information on manipulative

influence and guides ex members to recovery

after spiritual and psychological abuse. He is the

Review Board Member of the Open Minds


Dr Linda Dubrow- Marshall is a clinical and

counselling psychologist. She is co programme

leader for the MSc Psychology of Coercive

Control and MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies)

at the University of Salford. She co -founded the

Re-Entry Therapy Information and Referral

Network (RETIRN) to provide specialist mental

health services in individuals and families affected

by abusive groups and relationships.

Dr Rod Dubrow- Marshall is co-programme

leader of the MSc Pychology of Coercive Control

and Visiting Fellow in the Criminal Justice Hub at

the University of Salford and on the Board of

Directors of the International Cultic Studies


Sarah Phillimore is a family barrister and site

administrator of Child Protection Resource online

Dr Laura Monk has a degree in Person Centred

Counselling & Psychotherapy, an MSc in

psychology, a PhD in psychology and behavioural

sciences and studied the lack of support for

mothers separated from their children in a context

of domestic abuse, developing a training

programme to improve professionals responses to

mothers living apart from their children and works

in private practice.

The Empower Issue


1. Visit


2. Go to EventBrite. Search for Conference

on Coercive Control


3. If you are an organisation requiring an

invoice or if your organisation would like to

buy more than 10 tickets, please email:



Please email:

for further information.

The Empower Issue

Rachel Williams

A Woman on A Mission

In August 2011,

Rachel Williams

escaped with her life

after her ex husband

burst into a salon

with a doublebarrelled


and shot her, before

he fled then hanged

himself.Shortly after,

her 16 year old son

committed suicide.

Rachel wrote a book

The Devil at Home

which looked at the

coercive control her

ex husband

subjected her to.

Rachel is a

campaigner, as well

as an ambassador

and is CCChat's


YEAR 2018. .



year, Rachel Williams started a petition


SERIOUSLY IN COURTS which, at time

of publication had 158, 769 signatures.

Rachel believes that all judges and magistrates need

to be trained in domestic abuse.

Her own experience of the courts was in 2011 when

magistrates lifted her abuser' bail restrictions. The next

day he shot Rachel before taking his own life.

The magistrates concerned knew that Darren Williams

had mental health issues. He had twice tried to commit

suicide, had a history of previous domestic abuse with

a former partner and he had already threatened to kill


He had a conviction for a firearm & knives, stungun &

CS gas along with a humane bolt killer and had

already assaulted Rachel.

It begs the question, how many red flags were needed

before the magistrates would begin to join the dots?

If you haven't already, please sign this petition to

increase much needed understanding of domestic

abuse and coercive control in the courts.

The Empower Issue



CCChat has a signed copy of Rachel

Williams' book The Devil At Home to

give away. In spite of suffering horrific

domestic violence, Rachel proves that

there is life after domestic abuse. In

Rachel's own words, she is not a

victim, she is a VICTOR!

For a chance to win this copy, please


with THE DEVIL AT HOME in the

subject heading.

The winner will be selected on October

10th and contacted by email.

The Empower Issue

A hub for connecting, learning

and supporting around coercive

control. Based in Suffolk, can

travel way beyond!

The Empower Issue

Empower Hub

something new

“Looking and seeing are two different things.”

John Paul Caponigro

Empower Hub is something new

- so what's it all about?

EMPOWER is a space dedicated to a better

understanding of and around coercive

control, both for survivors, professionals - in

fact anyone.

EMPOWER can offer training, workshops,

seminars, discussion groups, support

groups, wellbeing events and signposting

from its base in Suffolk's beautiful Waveney

Valley or further afield.

EMPOWER is currently based in Suffolk's

beautiful Waveney Valley, Empower will be

looking to expanding nationwide.


- Are you are a professional seeking to know more?

- On the frontline and interested in better identifying

the *red flags* of abuse?

- Wanting to participate in a group to increase


-A police officer who has already received training but

feel there is still much to learn?

-A volunteer who will not receive training due to

funding cuts?

-A victim looking for signposting?

-A survivor looking for a support group?

-A survivor looking to better manage anxiety, trauma?

-A survivor needing to maintain ongoing contact with

an ex abuser because of children or facing them in the

family court?

-An employer who wants to support their workforce?

-A friend or family member who is worried?

- A relative who is concerned?

If you are any or all of these or more, you have

found a place where you are definitely not alone


The Empower Issue

Stalking NOT Harassment

Meet stalking specialist and new CCChat

columnist, Alison Bird

Alison Bird is the

Stalking Lead at the

Essex &


domestic abuse

charity Safer


Prior to this Alsion

was the Manager at

Paladin, a national

police/CPS trainer

for stalking,

accredited ISAC

and lecturer on

ISAC course,

member of National


Consortium, and

played a role in the

HMIC Inspection

Living in Fear,

looking at how CPS

& police are

responses to

stalking victims.

Alison was also a

critical reader for

this report.

Alison is the

stalking expert

columnist on

CCChat Magazine




new role is Stalking Lead at the Essex &

Hertfordshire domestic abuse charity Safer Places

which I am extremely excited about and am very

grateful to Safer Places for asking me to champion

stalking. Safer Places have IDVAs, ISACs

(Independent Stalking Advocacy Case Worker),

outreach workers & several Refuges for domestic

abuse victims/survivors in Essex & Hertfortshire.

I have worked with many bereaved families who have lost loved

ones to a stalker and on many harrowing cases. The longest

case for ex-partner stalking I have worked on was a victim of 17

years. I also took part in the BBC1 film Stalkers.

There are now several centres of excellence offering support for

stalking victims across England & Wales and it is important to

acknowledge the hard work that goes into providing support for

stalking victims.

Nov 2012 was the inaugural date for the crime of stalking,

yet in 2018 nearly 5 years on, is stalking being taken


As someone who has worked with countless high-risk stalking

cases nationally and now with a focus on victims based in

Essex I am too aware that there is a long way to go before

agencies understand the serious nature of stalking.

When I train staff internally or agencies externally I talk about

the swear word “harassment” and dropping the H Bomb

because on hearing the term “harassment” used

interchangeably with “stalking” and also the word “stalking”

often being completely omitted from parlance in stalking cases I

get very twitchy and feel distinctly uncomfortable.

If we talk solely about “harassment” it sounds like a lesser

offence, it is a lesser offence, and is not taken as seriously and

the nature of fixation is completely overlooked.

I think of rarassment, in its basic form, as nuisance behaviour.

That is because having worked with high risk stalking cases the

term “harassment” does not address the impact and insidious

nature of stalking.

The Empower Issue

It is important to use the word hypervigilant in

place of “paranoid”. Victims will often say they feel

“paranoid” but that word has negative

connotations and sounds like it is the victim’s fault

so I always change that word to hypervigilant and

empower the victim/client.

The worst stalking cases end in murder and we

have recently seen many younger women being

stalked & murdered by their ex-partner:

Molly McClaren, aged 23, in Kent, Alice Ruggles,

aged 24, in Northumbria and Shana Grice, aged

19, in Sussex.

Are younger victims seen as less at risk because

they may be more polite and unassured when

reporting? Alice Ruggles was asked by a 101

officer, the 2nd time she reported the stalking to

police, “what do you want us to do…arrest him?”

No victim should be asked that.

I talk about dropping the H

Bomb ... on hearing the term

“harassment” used

interchangeably with “stalking”

Alison Bird

The onus should not be on the victim to make

these decisions especially when a robust safety

plan is not in place and risk has not been

assessed. Also, victims lack any knowledge of the

criminal justice system; may be afraid to call 999

(Alice sounded apologetic for bothering the police

in her first call.

Victims feel belittled and not taken seriously – so

imagine if you are a teenager or in your twentiesthis

will be amplified. This was the case for these

3 young victims.

“Police & CPS are well-intentioned

BUT it is a case of understanding stalking”

I take a very black & white, victim-led view. With a

stalking conviction there is now up to 10 years

maximum custodial but for harassment it remains

at only 5 years maximum. Stalking is unwanted,

persistent, fixated behaviour which occurs


Stalking has a serious adverse effect on the

victim’s life. A victim may suffer serious alarm &

distress and/or fear of violence and so the impact

will be that the victim changes their behaviour,

may suffer from anxiety (and worse), feel

hypervigilant and many stalking victims are so

scared that they no longer go out and sit inside

their home with their curtains closed.

In fact Shana Grice was issued with a fixed

penalty notice for wasting police time and not long

after was murdered. The majority of stalking

cases are revenge cases i.e. ex-intimates,

however, stalkers are not just ex-intimates they

can also be complete strangers, a neighbour eg in

Helen Pearsons’s case, someone you went to

school with in Clare Waxman’s case, a patient of

a GP e.g. Eleanor Aston.

Police & CPS are well-intentioned BUT it is a case

of understanding stalking. All police, CPS,

Judges, domestic abuse workers require training

around domestic abuse, coercive control &

stalking and an understanding of the legislative


The Empower Issue

Stalking S4A:

This is defined as behaviour “which has a substantial

adverse effect on ... usual day-to-day activities” of a


For the majority of stalking cases a S4A charge should

be used and you will generally find that this charge fits

the examples (found in the legislation) of a victim

changing their behaviour and having their lives closed


When looking at “serious alarm & distress” prosecutors

and police should look at:

a) the victim changing their routes to work, work

patterns, or employment;

(b) the victim arranging for friends or family to pick up

children from school (to avoid contact with the stalker);

(c) the victim putting in place additional security

measures in their home;

(d) the victim moving home;

(e) physical or mental ill-health;

(f) the deterioration in the victim's performance at work

due to stress;

(g) the victim stopping /or changing the way they


The harassment legislation is clung to instead of

embracing a very clearly set out piece of legislation on

stalking. We must firstly believe victims, patterns must

be looked at and risk understood.

The DASH & S-DASH must be used on a victim’s

report of this crime. On the point of separation risk

escalates & stalking may replace coercive control. This

is where the danger lies with most ex-intimate

femicides occurring in the first 2 month of separation

and the first year.

Anonymised Case Study:

This week a stalking victim told me that she called 999

for the first time as her ex-partner was outside her

house (using their child as a way to stalk her). Police

attended and she was asked “why are you crying he is

only knocking at your door?” This is a case whereby

the stalking pattern has not been put together as a

jigsaw; police attend what they see as an isolated and

“civil” incident.

The victim is upstairs frightened waiting, locked in a

bedroom with her pre-school age child, crying with fear

and waiting for police to attend.

“ You cannot have multiple breaches of Restraining

Orders without stalking”

The list is not exhaustive but it gives an idea around

“substantial adverse effect in a victim”.

You only need 2 stalking behaviours to go forward with

a S4A stalking offence for “serious alarm & distress” or

for “fear of violence”.

Clearly these need to be evidenced so that CPS can

do their job. I would urge police to ask the right

questions when they attend a call out where the

behaviours occur post-separation as this is stalking.

Ask the stalking risk questions on the S-DASH to

clarify the behaviours & impact.

Then if there is serious alarm & distress and/or fear of

violence look to request a S4A charge from the start,

alongside any breaches of orders eg breach of nonmolestation

order or breach of restraining orders (RO).

I have seen cases where there are multiple breaches

of RO and no mention of stalking!! You cannot have

multiple breaches of RO without stalking. Too often the

right questions are not asked and opportunities to

safeguard are missed.

The first question in the S-DASH is “…are you

frightened?” So that is a yes in this case, clearly you

don’t call 999 and wait crying in a room if you are not.

Police should ask: What are you most frightened of?

The perp in this case is meant to pick up the child from

another relative’s house in order to further safeguard

the victim. However, he used his position of power to

turn the police's judgmentso that the police belittle the

victim and treat her as though she is the victim and not

the victim of a crime called stalking.

They record it as “victim refusing to allow child

contact”. This is a massive can of worms in itself.

Every mother has the right to safeguard their child from

harm if they do not think contact is safe. Whether a

Court orders contact or not. In this case the stalking is

a continuation of the coercive control and he had not

turned up for the previous contact visits leaving the

child confused and tearful so this time the victim did

not expect him to turn up and the child was not ready.

Plus he has been told by police not to contact her in

the PIN! The second question in the S-DASH is: Is

there previous domestic abuse or stalking/harassment

history? The answer in this case is yes, he has been

stalking her since they split up, police are involved and

he has been issued with a PIN….the victim should be

asked this and be able to elaborate on this and the

picture should start to form. The next questions should

follow on to complete the picture.

The Empower Issue

What is a PIN or harassment warning?

The victim thinks that as he has recently been issued a

PIN/harassment warning by police that will protect her.

However, the perp/stalker knows it does not carry a

power of arrest & it is like having a receipt for a gift –

but actually with less rights. So a PIN is misleading and

all too often we hear that he has been given a 2nd

instant harassment warning. To which I think what on

earth is that?

The piece of paper called a PIN is only to be used for a

one-off offence and may deter some perps (but will not

deter the savvy fixated stalker). Why would anyone

think if they have “breached” the first PIN that a 2nd

one will work? It beggars belief. It is extremely

misleading for victims and makes them feel safer than

they should do in reality.

So the stalker has the upperhand, not only does the

victim in this case feel belittled she will now think twice

about calling 999.

Currently Safer Places have a hub of trained

ISACs and it is our intention to ensure stalking

training is rolled out to all staff so we they can all

advocate for stalking victims and see the risks

clearly to better support stalking victims in Essex

& Hertfordshire.

I am linked in with the Stalking SPOC for Essex

and looking at how we move forward to better

understand and deal with stalking in Essex.

More info:


Next Issue: Ali Bird will be on stalking using the

family courts – an all too common occurrence.

He used his position of power to turn police’s judgement so they belittle the victim & treat her

as if she is the problem and not the victim of a crime called stalking

This is where continued support from the ISAC/IDVA

can help build confidence in continued reporting and

validate the victim. Validation for stalking victims is

usually the first thing they need when accessing ISAC/

IDVA support.

In the case of the murder of Alice Ruggles (October

2016) the perpetrator, Harry Dillon, was also issued

with a PIN.

Again this was a waste of time and Alice felt protected

without knowing she wasn’t.

In conclusion we should look to stop the use of PINs in

stalking cases. Sussex & Surrey no longer use them

since the murder of Shana Grice and other forces are

following suit.

Police need to be trained so that when they attend an

incident such as this they ask the right questions and

support the victim and not the perpetrator.

If they had joined the dots and asked & listened they

may have understood the criminal offence of stalking

instead of jumping to conclusions that it was a civil

dispute around child contact. It would be beneficial to

discuss a case in each issue of the magazine so we

can better understand stalking, better protect victims

and get the right outcomes for stalking victims.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, coercive

control or stalking and live in Essex or

Hertfordshire please contact

Safer Places: 03301 025811

Stalking training requests:

National Stalking Helpline - 0808 802 0300

Veritas Justice – Sussex 01273 766 633

Paladin – 0203 8664107

Hollie Gazzard Trust -

Alice Ruggles Trust -

The Empower Issue

The CCChat Interview

Clare Walker


Clare Walker is a

Domestic Abuse

Consultant with more than

25 years’ experience.

Clare has a unique indepth

360 degree view

and understanding of

domestic abuse.

Having been a victim

herself many years ago,

she has first-hand

experience of the effects

and how they can present,

as well as the entangled

confusion and complexity

of a power and control

based intimate


In 2011 Clare successfully

set up her own company

delivering domestic abuse

training & Consultancy to

organisations and

individuals, private or

professional UK wide

under the banner of Clare

Walker Consultancy.

Clare is one of 4 Licensed

facilitators of the Freedom

Programme and has been

delivering this training to

professionals locally and

nationally since 2006


For more information:




this issue CCChat interviews Clare Walker,

a domestic abuse consultant and Award

Winner 2017 for the CPS & HMCTS.

How did you get into this line of work?

Domestic Abuse wasn’t anything that had ever featured in my life –

until I experienced it in adulthood. The whole experience of being a

victim, leaves us in an exhausted & confused position. I didn’t

understand it, nobody talked to me about the fact I was a victim of DA,

they just made vicarious decisions over my head regarding my safety.

Despite living in a Battered Wives Hostel for 7 months, I didn’t see

myself as a victim. What I did see & hear though, was the awful

experiences of the other women & their children who were also

residents with me. The part that I did know & understand, was that

whatever was going on, I knew I needed to come back to that ‘place’ at

some point during my life journey to ensure others weren’t left to

experience the same kind of so called, ‘service’ that myself & others

had endured back then.

What would you like to see that isn’t happening?

In my mind, there are 3 specific changes needed for us to address this

issue & reduce the prevalence; changes in the Law, changes in

Education and changes in our collective culture of practice – across all

of the different contexts we all work within.

How do you think that could be achieved?

I feel there are so many things that need to change in reference to DA,

if they don’t, then the Homicide & Serious Case Reviews will continue

at the rate that they have done for years. What kind of ‘civilised society’

can qualify itself as civilised, whilst collectively colluding, enabling and

permitting abusers to continue.

Law - I feel an overarching Law that specifically states DA is unlawful,

so court hearings & convictions can be listed as what they actually are.

Having recently sat in court, I heard 7 cases in one day, none of them

were listed as DA – but 3 of them clearly were. Unless we name it for

what it is the collective cognitive dissonance across society will


Education - formal & otherwise, from the youngest of ages upwards. I

lose count the amount of times I am asked why the Freedom

Programme isn’t more available? Why isn’t this taught in schools? Why

isn’t this a part of my training/my Degree course?

When you have 40 midwives on your training at the end of which they

all say: ‘We can't get there soon enough to stop the impacts & effects

can we…’ given they are there pre-birth – it speaks volumes.

The Empower Issue

It is appalling that my interventions are an ‘add on’ as opposed to

core – what message does that give to victims?

Clare Walker

Culture of practice - it needs turning on its head.

Something we were speaking about recently at

Leicester De Montfort University; meaningful

Service User Involvement. For a victim or a

perpetrator to be informed about work that needs

to be done, when, how, why and at what pace,

with a human to human interaction and 2-way


For practitioners to remind themselves that this

maybe your case, but it is actually someone else’s

life. And we need to start calling out when

someone is abusive regardless of their positions

of power, status or presentation. Jimmy Saville.

Need I say anymore?

All these combined, I believe, would gradually

over time address the prevalence of DA, reduce

the deaths & effectively, address the stigma that

victims carry. NSPCC did some research several

years ago that estimated the financial cost across

society to continue ‘dealing with DA’ in the way

we currently do is £36.7 billion/year. The social

cost, of course, is immeasurable.

How does your work help in achieving that?

As much as possible I get myself in front of those

who need the information I teach or train in. I think

it is appalling that my interventions are an ‘add on’

as opposed to core – what message does that

give to victims? So, educating and informing is

part of my working towards change. I have run the

Freedom Programme in Leicester for the past 15


For the past 12, I have created an income to fund

the continuation of the group. And for the past 3

years the group has been funded & provided

between myself & the fabulous Pat Craven. In my

role as an Expert Witness, I am able to give a

voice to victims in the Court arena, explain how

different forms of abuse manifest in victim’s

behaviours etc.

I am also looking out for opportunities to sit as a

Magistrate – I feel it is so important that I am able

to pose my knowledge & expertise into those

conversations and decisions. Additional to that,

campaigning, campaigning & some more

campaigning! Locally, nationally & internationally.

The Empower Issue

Favourite book & pop song?

There are sooooo many to chose and I am

indecisive ?I always state I have attention deficit, I

get bored easily so even if I have thoroughly

enjoyed a book, there is only 1 that I have read

several times over the years & cherish it being on

my book shelf; Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber. It’s

a record of the earliest diagnosed case of multiple

personality (now known as, Dissociative Identity

Disorder) Sybil had 16. Her abuse as a child to

me clearly explains why the brain ‘produces’

these multiple personalities to be able to ‘manage’

the reality that the person is faced with.

From human to human, it is a distressing read, but

the psychology of the mind and its still unknown

depths, just blows me away. It’s fascinating. Pop

song wise, Im gonna take 2 – I am a none

conformist ?

How do you relax, this is all intense stuff?

It is intense stuff yes & I could be in a constant

state of fury or hopelessness. But instead, I plan

in down time, especially after a 3-day training

event, it takes a lot out of me emotionally, but I

love it! In that down time, I allow myself to go with

the flow; do something I fancy or do nothing – just

refuel. And of course, I have my beautiful family

and friends to give me a change of focus, lotsa

love, a lorra laughs and glamming up & getting on

my dancing shoes – is definitely good therapy for

me. Yoga is always a visiting friend – I’m into Hot

Pod Yoga currently, I love it & when I can’t

squeeze sessions in, I miss it. Having said all of

that, I do also get re-energised by knowing I have

changed a perspective. Plus all those amazingly

strong victims and survivors, all of whom I feel it is

a great privilege for me to be able to walk along

side them for a few steps of their journey, I am

humbled to do so.

What advice do you wish you had been given

when you were younger?

Hmm good question. I could list a whole thesis of

‘advice’ that would have been useful. But really, if

the Freedom Programme had been around as a

part of my education in school – I think that would

have informed & enabled a different path. I would

have had a deeper understanding of human

behaviour; including my own.

My mantra over the years has been Tori Amos

debut album Little Earthquakes (of which I love

every track) But specifically; Silent All These

Years, just so resonates as it undoubtedly would

for anyone who has experienced any level of

abuse – silence is a thing of the past for me & has

been for some years. I find it grounding & it also

enables an occasional look over my shoulder at

the journey to date.

My other cheeky track is to celebrate the party girl

within me, as well as marking positive change &

growth, it’s Shapeshifters; Lola’s Theme – I love it!

Makes my heart smile & my feet dance. Every


Clare, it has been an absolute pleasure

interviewing you and we hope to see much

more of you in CCChat.



The Empower Issue



Jennifer Gilmour gives an update



ou can join in every Wednesday 8-9pm GMT

via #AbuseTalk on Twitter.

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.

A recent discussion we had was on financial concerns and how finances are a strain after an

abusive relationship, linking to CMS and the high solicitor fees. The hour has been described as the

hour of the week in which everyone ‘gets it’.

NEW- A how to video on how to get involved with #AbuseTalk here-



The Abuse Talk forum is now open and you can use it straight away, if you are in the sector please

do share your services because there is an area just for that. We have an education section, survivor

section and a simple chat section.

I have always felt a forum was needed but couldn’t find its place and so I decided a Twitter Chat was

the direction to go. After a few months of hosting #AbuseTalk I realised that tweeting was great but it

wasn’t for those who don’t want to publicly discuss domestic abuse. It is also restrictive with the

character limitations. That's when I realised that a forum can work alongside the Twitter Chat and

offering a register only forum.

I am also delighted to have the forum sponsored by a solicitor who has agreed to answer questions

within the forum on their own thread ‘Ask a solicitor’.

This is priceless, to have the opportunity to ask a solicitor when perhaps someone may not have had

the ability to do so.

Find out more-

If you have any questions or want to get in touch regarding sponsorship of the forum then please

email me on

The Empower Issue

For more on Jennifer Gilmour

The Empower Issue

Jennifer Gilmour Interviews:

Stella Eden



delighted to have had the pleasure of asking Stella Eden some

questions after reading her book “The Right To Be Me”, you can find out my

thoughts on her book in the previous CCChat Magazine edition here: I am

also excited to announce that there is a giveaway linked to this interview

and Stella has kindly offered a paperback copy of her book up for grabs just

for this Online Book Club. You wouldn’t want to miss that, the book is a

must read. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from? Whats your favourite thing to eat? Do you

have any hobbies?

Hi. I am Stella Eden domestic abuse survivor and author of “ The Right To Be Me” When I am not

writing -I love to paint I have tried all forms of mediums but I always return back to my favouriteacrylic.

The book cover of my autobiography is my own artwork. My favourite place to hang out is in

a coffee shop sat people watching.

I've read your book 'The right to be me' and as the reader I felt I was a fly on the wall watching

what was happening- I commend you on your bravery in publishing your story. Did you have

any fears about publishing your story?

I wasn’t sure whether I would get a publisher to print my autobiography having looked online at the

top tips in getting your story published. When it headlined topics to be avoided- violence and

anything of a deeply disturbing nature is best to avoid writing about. This didn’t put me off there is

always more than one path to get you to your destination. I approached the publisher with a brief

synopsis and was really surprised when they said they were interested. I was very nervous about

sending this mainly because no one had read my autobiography only myself. It had been with me in

a protective cocoon for 18 months the length of time it had taken me to write it, and the time had

come for me to let it go out into the world. My only fear was would they receive it– everything these

days is electronically sent. So here I am sharing my autobiography-the feedback it isn’t an easy read

– I haven’t held back with what happened to me- domestic abuse is brutal, horrific on every level and

there is no other way I could write it.

What was the aim in publishing your story and do you think you have achieved what you set

out to do?

Great question! I needed to know who I am. And I needed answers to questions to understand what

had happened to me. I decided to write it down I thought there wouldn’t be much to write about- I

couldn’t stop. The picture that started to evolve onto the pages as I typed was when the full horror of

what happened to me. The impact of reading this aloud really hit me, more so than just talking like I

had a done in many counselling sessions. I wanted to share my story in a way that I keep it as raw

as I possibly could to show what I have gone through. I feel my autobiography takes you there in the

moments where you the reader are faced with what is happening. Yes-it is uncomfortable to read.

But it is necessary to understand the full impact is what I wanted to convey the desperation of

fighting to survive, fighting to live and fighting for the future so the abuse will end, because this has

to stop. This should not be happening and even more disturbing in the sequence of events that were

allowed to continue years after my escape and the involvement of those in the power of authority.

Changes are greatly needed and to be implemented. And I think my book shows this.

The Empower Issue

How did it feel on publication day?

On the day of publication I was out working in my

practice I didn’t get time to really think about it. I

did have a little book launch to celebrate and to

say thank you to those who have supported me.

Whats life like now? Have you recovered (if

you don't mind me asking)?

Life is wonderful. It has taken a lot of work to get

to this place – the internal battle I had within

myself wasn’t great. And I knew I had to make

many changes to how I was going to start living

my life. I am so glad I did because this has

opened up my life in a whole new way. It brought

in new beginnings and there will be more to come

– watch this space.

If you could give readers one bit or advice or a

message what would it be?

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I

refuse to be reduced by it” a quote by Maya


Thank you so much Stella for answering those

questions and with honesty, this is something

I admire about you. Stripping away memories

and placing them onto pages for all to see how

abuse can take hold and develop.

Find out more about Stella’s book here on



The Empower Issue

To enter the giveaway to win a copy of

Stella’s book pop over to this link:


If you want to get in touch in response

to the questionnaire or if you have any

questions then please email me at

The Empower Issue

A victim-led

drive for


The Empower Issue

August saw the first Survivors’

Symposium take place. This was a

closed event to ensure that identities

and information was kept strictly


Top of the agenda were numerous

reports of an unregulated service

preying on victims of abuse online.

Whilst, on the surface, the service was

not technically illegal, several we have

spoken to, described the conduct as

morally reprehensible.

The Symposium heard from vulnerable

individuals who had been exploited

and put in fear by some who had

managed to 'game' the system whilst

simultaneously avoiding being held to


The Symposium looked at various

case studies and discussed desired

outcomes and ways in which

vulnerable people could be better

protected from these types of


One this is clear. Whilst they seem to

have escaped scrutiny, victims who

have been failed are speaking out to

ensure others do not meet the same

fate as has befallen them.

Watch this space for more


The Empower Issue

Dr Emma Katz

In June 2018, Dr

Emma Katz gave a

talk at the 4th

Conference on

Coercive Control at

the University of


So many people

wanted to have a copy

of Emma's slides, they

are reproduced here.

Emma will also be the

Keynote Speaker at

Conference on

Coercive Control 2019

in Liverpool.

To get in touch with


The Empower Issue

Freedom Flowers

by Pat Craven

Pat Craven created the

Freedom Programme in

1998, after working in

nthe Probation Service



Since then, Pat has

heard from hundreds of

firsthand accountfrom

women who have

escaped from abusive

relationships because

they have attended the

Freedom programme.

Pat has also written

several books and

manuals including:

Living with the

Dominator, Freedom

Programme Home

Study Course and

Freedom Flowers.

Fredom Flowers has

been reproduced with

kind permission from

Pat Craven.


hapter 3 - The


Dominators dictate how we give birth. If they are surgeons or consultants they

may insist that we have caesarean sections even though there is no medical

reason for it.

They prevent us from breastfeeding or force us to do so against our will.

They cut or break stitches to force us to have sex.

They lock us out of the room when the baby is crying to be fed or changed.

They say that this teaches the baby discipline.

Daffodil ..I would wake up hearing my son scream and cry, and when I

opened the bedroom door to get to him (we lived in a bungalow), my ex would

suddenly appear from a different room as fast as lightning and not allow me to

get into my son’s room, or he would be in there and at the bedroom door

blocking my way... They use violence if we pick up the baby to play with it or

cuddle it. This means that, to protect the baby, we ignore it. We agreed to

split, but agreed to stay in the same house to look after our disabled child. I

was totally controlled, emotionally, but didn't know it. I felt it but didn't

understand. I kept repeating in my head, he's a good father. I was trying to

make it true because the other option was unthinkable. If I didn't play by his

rules, his punishment to me was to stop me seeing my child.

When we were together, it was not being allowed to say goodnight or put him

to bed.

Even if my son was crying for me, I used to just sit there, as the last time I

tried to get to him, my ex dropped my child on the floor, at no older than six

months, and wouldn't pick him up until I left to sit down in the lounge.

I carried that guilt, and saw him use that threat, time and time again. My son

learnt to be quiet and to crawl into a space that only I could get to him and his

father could not. It is only now that I am putting together some of my child's

behaviours and where they originate from...

This can have a dreadful effect on the rest of this child’s life.If they are never

picked up, cuddled and hear loving words they do not know that they are

lovable or even likeable. They may go through life without even knowing this

is missing, but having no sense of self worth. How can they?

For more details on




Rose remembers, after Freedom ....He controls and keeps the money. I can’t

afford to buy a pram or clothes or nappies. I can’t ask anyone because I don’t

want anyone to think badly of him. My baby will just have to make do with the

little I have. The baby is so fretful and cries all the time. I have to keep him

close to me all the time. He won’t let me attend to the baby when he cries.

When I try to be with him, he says the baby must learn.

The Empower Issue

My baby is feeling insecure and unsettled. I can’t

breastfeed my baby because he says they are his

boobs. He wakes the baby up once I have finally

settled him. Baby is confused and frightened. There is

no routine for the baby.

I spend all my time running after his father and I just

can’t manage it all. I find it hard to bond with my baby

because he spends time with my mother to keep him

safe. I want my baby in bed with me but I’m not

allowed. I do everything for the baby and the other

children. He does nothing at all.

He has never changed one nappy.I am shattered and

the baby does not get the stimulation he needs. I am

so scared when he is mad that I panic and try

everything to get my baby to sleep, but my baby panics


I have no money for the gas card for hot water so I

can’t bath my baby. The only toys my baby has are

from his grandparents. Most get broken...

Dominators also kill and injure babies.

The worst possible time is when we are pregnant,

giving birth or in poor health. They never give any

reason. My ex did all this but before I joined the

Freedom Programme Forum it would never had

occurred to me that this was abuse.

Hubby Number Two was the love of my life and he was

the one who played with my head. We were friends for

two years before we got together. He was sweet, kind

and lovely. We both lived up North and I was moving to

Essex. We had got together and he moved in with me.

The signs were there but I didn't realise. He went to

work one day and phoned me up and said we were

finished. He changed his mind that evening and I put it

down to a wobble.

Around this time I discovered I was pregnant. He

proposed and talked me into going back up North,

which I did. I remember him not letting me read a

magazine, he'd always read over my shoulder, I

couldn't roll over in bed without him thinking I had the

hump with him. We got married and when I had the

baby it got worse. He left two weeks after I had a c-

section because I'd ask him to help me feed the baby.

He came back after eight days. He left five times in

four months.

"He left two weeks after I had a c-section because I'd ask him to

help me feed the baby. He came back after eight days.

He left five times in four months."

Serious Case Review – Baby Peter

In spite of efforts by ambulance and hospital staff to

revive him, Peter was pronounced dead at 12.10 pm.

On initial examination, he was seen to have bruising to

his body, a tooth missing, a torn frenum and marks to

his head. The Police Individual Management Review

(IMR) referred to a post mortem completed on 6th

August 2007 which revealed further injuries (a tooth

was found in Peter’s colon and eight fractured ribs on

the left side and a fractured spine were detected).

The provisional cause of death was described as a

fracture / dislocation of the thoraco-lumbar spine. A

significant deficit in the first intervention with the family,

which was then perpetuated, was the failure to

establish the identity of Mr H, interview him and

conduct checks on his background. He was the friend

that Ms A claimed was peripheral to the family and had

no involvement with the children. One of the most

potentially dangerous scenarios in child protection is

an unrelated man joining a vulnerable single parent


Orchid says ...Can you please also include something

about a partner who always leaves a relationship and

returns when he feels like it? He is using emotional

abuse. A lot of us on the forum have been repeatedly

subjected to this tactic. It makes us vulnerable which

also hurts the kids.

At the time, my older children were five and six and he

was damaging them. He tried to remove the baby from

my care, so I had to call the police. The signs were

there but I didn't realise. He also threw me on the sofa

in front of the girls. On one occasion, he drove round

the roundabout eight times. He had been shouting and

I told him I wasn't going to respond if he was shouting.

He pulled over on the dual carriageway, took the baby

in her car seat, abandoned me, and the car, and

walked off with her. I was shocked. I had no phone,

keys or money and couldn't drive at the time. I had to

wait 20 minutes for him to come back. Then, one day,

he'd asked my girls to put their pram away. They didn't

respond quickly enough so he hit them round their

heads. I didn't know until the next day. I'd slept on the

sofa as I was restless.

He came in the next morning and started shouting,

‘Why didn't I want to sleep with him etc?’ Then the kids

told me about him hitting them. He spent the whole of

that day shouting, and I ended up telling him to leave.

He'd previously left me for silly reasons, from the

wrong shopping to him not taking me to the doctors

after the baby’s birth. I'd had enough, and was isolated

where we were because it was a little village where I

didn't know anyone. I phoned a refuge and they got me

a place back where I was, before, in Essex. I then filed

for divorce. He refused to see the baby. He and his

mother cut contact and he refused to answer his

phone... Social workers and police can become

involved and babies can be removed.

The Empower Issue

Orchid (continued) ..

I then lost custody of the kids, as my eldest, who I was

carrying when I was assaulted in pregnancy, has

extreme behavioural problems. I couldn't obtain help

and she was placed in residential specialist home. I

fought to get the other two back.

I went through all the assessments and he (Orchid’s

husband) decided he wanted custody of the baby. It

had already been decided that she was coming to me

and was only a week away from being home full-time.

He'd also had a child with someone else and they got

back together to try to get my child.

During the court process, he didn't know my address at

all. I had only been in the refuge three months and got

a council house. He had no clue where it was. My

solicitor raised it with the judge for my address to be

withheld and it was agreed but they still included it in a

court bundle, yet denied doing it. My legal team was


He was awarded three hours per month access,

minimum, and to be at my discretion where and when I

got a residency order as he tried to take her. We got

back together and, after three months, he left again,

just before I had major spinal surgery.

He kept leaving and coming back. Through

counselling, I started to realise I had to stop this, or I

was going to lose the kids. He left me up the pub and

drove off and I had to make my own way home. I then

found him packing, and this time I’d had enough.

We got back together when I was 26 weeks pregnant

as he had been coming down once a month, and had

been putting on the charm, trying to get his feet back

under. I was ill and just went with it. He was OK until

the baby was three days old, then the shouting started.

I was ill and he refused to take me to the hospital.

When she was 10 weeks old, he went again. All these

times he left he never gave much notice.

On one occasion, the kids and I were upstairs and

hadn't known. I thought, at the time, that for a six-yearold

to wake up and find her dad gone is heartbreaking.

Now she says he's mean and asked if she could have

a new dad!...

Dominators also use the legal system and other

agencies to abuse us and damage their children.

Lavender ...When people consider abuse, and its

effect on children, they are probably thinking about kids

between the ages of three and 15. I think babies are

the ‘forgotten victims’ in these situations due to their

perceived lack of understanding.

The Empower Issue

My experience has taught me that, although

babies do not have the intellectual capacity to

process the events going on around them, they

are definitely affected by the atmosphere.

When my daughter was born she was a VERY

discontented baby. She would constantly cry and

was always unsettled. Being a first time mother, I

simply just put her behaviour down to lack of

routine. I thought she was hungry, colicky,

teething or just being a newborn.

Not once did it occur to me that she was picking

up on the horrific vibes between her father and

me. When she would cry my first instinct was to

give her my breast, then check her nappy and

then give her a cuddle

I became frustrated and felt inadequate as a

mother when, at times, none of these things

worked. I just could not work her out and would

look at her in absolute desperation thinking, "What

do you want from me?" “What am I doing wrong?

Now I can provide her with the loving home

environment she deserves. The reason I left my

ex-partner was because I did not ever want my

child to bear witness to his despicable behaviour,

I never ever wanted her to feel scared or

confused in the crossfire of any violence. I am the

product of a violent home and witnessed horrible

things that are etched in my memory permanently.

I wanted better for my daughter, which is why I got

out when I did.

That dream has been shattered by the legal

system, as my daughter has been emotionally

abused as a result of being caught in the middle

of an attack on me by my ex-partner. Her father

attacked me during an ordered visit, and my

daughter wet herself in fear. He marked my face

and, as a result, my two-year-old baby was scared

of me and would not cuddle me for a week. She

would reject my affections and would just stare

and point at my face.

"My baby is feeling insecure and unsettled. I can’t breastfeed

my baby because he says they are his boobs."

Why can’t I make you happy?” Ironically, these

are the very questions I would often ask her

father! I left my ex-partner when my baby was just

13 weeks old after he attacked me whilst I held

her in my arms.

I left the flat we shared in the heavy snow, with no

money, the clothes on my back and just her

changing bag, but it was the best decision I have

ever made. My daughter was like a different baby

when we left. She was so happy and content. The

crying stopped and she was no longer jumpy.

When we lived with her father, his mother

remarked on how jumpy she was all the time.

Admittedly, I do feel guilty that her first three

months in the world were so unhappy, but I truly

underestimated the effect it was having on her. I

never understood properly until I witnessed the

positive change in her behaviour once we had left.

I’m just glad I made the break for both our sakes.

We have an exceptionally close bond, so this was

a shattering experience for us both.It turned our

world upside down for weeks whilst my daughter

tried to process the trauma she witnessed in her

poor little confused mind. I will never get back

those precious moments that we lost, and I hold

the courts accountable for us being forced into

harm’s way in the first place. My father was violent

towards my mother, and she ended the

relationship when I was four years old. I am now

27 and have vivid memories of the chaos I

witnessed as a child.

One of my memories was of me sitting on the

edge of the sofa, staring at the sea of broken

glass that covered the living room floor. I vaguely

recall a space next to the fridge that was full of

bottles which I now know to be wine bottles. My

memory has images of the bottles suddenly not

being there one day and the carpet covered in


I also remember being in bed ad seeing shards of

glass next to me. As an adult today, if I hear a

glass smash I completely freak out. I once

dropped a glass at home and when it smashed on

the floor, I instantly burst into tears. It took me

ages to muster the courage to sweep it up.

The Empower Issue

I made the mistake of confiding in my ex-

Dominator about my childhood experiences and

he listened attentively and comforted me whilst I

poured my heart out to him about the things I


Little did I realise that, in true Dominator style, he

was storing the information for future reference,

as one day during an argument he took a glass

and dangled it in front of me, threatening to

smash it on the floor if I didn’t comply with what he

said. Recently, my mother and I were talking and I

told her about one of the other memories I have of

my father throwing a meal she had prepared

against the fridge in a rage. I told her I

remembered the gravy slowly slithering down the

front of the door. She was very shocked that I

remembered something that happened 23 years

ago when I was so young...

The next story provides a clear example of the

way an ill-informed adviser can put women and

children in danger.

I left the house to get some space between us, as

suggested by Relate Counselling, but after this

experience I knew I could never leave the house

again whilst my baby was in there. The fear of

thinking something might happen to your child is

very strong and it is a powerful way to control


Feb 28th 2009- He was shouting and then

threatened me because I answered back. Lots of

trigger points. Abigail’s comforter was missing, the

neighbour is giving him wood he now doesn’t

want, he was trying to watch rugby and, of course,

he had been drinking. I was gradually being

backed into the utility.

I asked several times for one of us to leave room

as it was escalating. He said, “You leave” so I

said, “Okay one of us needs to leave the house so

the situation calms down. I’ll do it”. I went to sit in

the car. I could see he had turned all the lights off

downstairs. I then panicked about Abigail. I

thought, “What if he went to hurt her to spite me?”

"Little did I realise that, in true Dominator style, he was storing the

information for future reference,"

Daisy was trying so hard to follow the advice from

a ‘professional’ who had no understanding of

abusive men. I hate to think how many other

women have been placed in her situation.


Here are some of my experiences about the

impact on the children. Much of the text is copied

word-for-word from my journals at the time. When

I first thought about this task I didn’t think I would

have much to contribute, then memories kept

coming back and there are pages of the stuff.

Monday 29th December 2008 -Poor Abigail, I

worry for us both. She is so precious. The other

day, he was in a mood and followed us up the

stairs and deliberately left the stair gate open. I

know he did it on purpose, how vindictive is that?

He would wish harm upon her to get at me! Why?

That is not normal. I hate being scared. I hate

being threatened. The next entry describes a very

scary night when he locked me out of the house

and I suddenly became sick with fear because my

little girl was asleep inside. I was terrified he

would harm her to get at me.

I’m sure he wouldn’t, but I was really scared. I sat

and cried in the car and, after five minutes, I tried

to get back in the house. He’d locked the back

gate and left keys in front door so I couldn’t get in

there, either.

He has done this before and I’ve gone round the

fields, climbed over a fence and got in the back

door. I looked for torch, but it was not in the usual

place. I thought, “Okay I’ll give him a chance to

open front door”. He opened it but said he

wouldn’t let me in. His face was full of anger and I

was really frightened. I’m upset now writing it

down, but he eventually let me in. We then had a

discussion where I didn’t really get a fair chance

to speak and was belittled and patronised as


Before I left the house, he had told me not to

speak, then asked me a question that required me

to answer yes. I was scared to speak, so I didn’t.

He then said, “You can nod your head”. Later in

the argument, he said my head nodding was

aggressive!!! .....

If this man had murdered Abigail while Daisy was

locked out of the house she could have ended up

in prison for failing to protect her daughter. The

worker who gave such potentially lethal advice

would not have faced any sanctions at all!

The Empower Issue

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