CCChat t Magazine
The Magazine on Coercive Control
WHEN IT GOES WRONG, WHAT THEN?
EMPOWER HUB - The Launch
CCChat's WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Talking about her petition PLUS a chance to win her book.
Countdown to Conference on
Coercive Control- LONDON
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
21 Jennifer Gilmour updates on the Book
Club, the forum and Abuse Talk
26 Chapter 3 - The Newborn
The Empower Issue
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
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
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
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
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
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
HOW TO BUY TICKETS:
1. Visit www.coercivecontrol.co.uk
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:
TRADE STAND AND SPONSORSHIP
for further information.
The Empower Issue
A Woman on A Mission
In August 2011,
escaped with her life
after her ex husband
burst into a salon
with a doublebarrelled
and shot her, before
he fled then hanged
her 16 year old son
Rachel wrote a book
The Devil at Home
which looked at the
coercive control her
subjected her to.
Rachel is a
campaigner, as well
as an ambassador
and is CCChat's
WOMAN OF THE
YEAR 2018. .
year, Rachel Williams started a petition
TAKE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
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
WIN A SIGNED COPY OF RACHEL'S
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
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
“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
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.
WHO IS EMPOWER FOR?
- 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
-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
-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
Prior to this Alsion
was the Manager at
Paladin, a national
and lecturer on
member of National
played a role in the
Living in Fear,
looking at how CPS
& police are
Alison was also a
critical reader for
Alison is the
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
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
interchangeably with “stalking”
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
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
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
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.
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/
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
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Ruggles Trust - http://alicerugglestrust.org/
The Empower Issue
The CCChat Interview
Clare Walker is a
Consultant with more than
25 years’ experience.
Clare has a unique indepth
360 degree view
and understanding of
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
In 2011 Clare successfully
set up her own company
delivering domestic abuse
training & Consultancy to
individuals, private or
professional UK wide
under the banner of Clare
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?
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
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
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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT CLARE
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- https://www.youtube.com/
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- https://jennifergilmour.com/abuse-talk-twitter
If you have any questions or want to get in touch regarding sponsorship of the forum then please
email me on email@example.com
The Empower Issue
For more on Jennifer Gilmour
The Empower Issue
Jennifer Gilmour Interviews:
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
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
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
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
Coercive Control 2019
To get in touch with
The Empower Issue
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
women who have
escaped from abusive
they have attended the
Pat has also written
several books and
Living with the
Study Course and
Fredom Flowers has
been reproduced with
kind permission from
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
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
"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
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
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