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Editor's Notes

5 Min looks at learning and hopes she

never stops.

Cartoon Rebel

- The wonderful Rebel Studio has drawn

some more cartoons for CCChat.

One Woman Act

6 Ann Brown talks about how she turned

her lived experience into a play.

Women Who Use Violence

14 Natalie Talbot of Care2Talk talks about

female perpetrators.

The 10,000 Moves Master

22 Emma Hamilton is a breakdancer who

has choreographed a dance around

coercive control.

Injunction Junction

31 Sharon Bryan of NCDV talks about their

emergency injunction service.

Performing Poet

40 Carol Ellis has written a poem on

coercive control.

Making The Invisible Visible

Editor's Notes



Min Grob started

Conference on Coercive

Control in June 2015,

following the end of a

relationship that was

both coercive and

controlling. Since then

there have been 6

national conferences as

well as smaller events.

CCChat magazine

originally started out as

a newletter and has

been going since 2017.

Min’s interest lies in

recognising coercive

control in its initial

stages, understanding

how to identify the ‘red

flags’ of abusive

behaviour before

someone becomes

more invested in the

relationship, as that is

when it will be much

more difficult to leave.

Min is also a public

speaker and speaks on

both her personal

experience of coercive

control as well as more

generally of abuse that

is hidden in plain


Let's Grow The


To contact Min:



"Once you stop learning,

you start dying."

Hello Readers!

The above quote, by Albert Einstein really resonates with

me and I have to admit, I find it a real struggle to

understand why anyone would think they have nothing

left to learn, believing to have reached the apex of their

understanding. I find this especially troubling of services

and organisations who are reluctant to develop their

thinking and elect to stick with what they have always

done, because it is how they have always done it. I know,

for myself, that my thinking and understanding has

evolved dramatically and continues to do so as I grow my

knowledge and I hope that the desire to continue learning

never leaves me.

This issue will probably be one of many looking at new

learning because there is so much out there. I have

focused on raising awareness through the Arts, through

drama and poetry, breakdancing and cartoons. There is

also an interview with Natalie Talbot who has one of the

few organisations, in the UK, that works with women

who use violence. as well as a look at NCDV and their

work in getting emergency injunctions for victims of

abuse. The magazine is peppered with absolutely

wonderful cartoons by the fabulous Rebel Studio. Give

her a follow on Instagram at rebel_studio_arts.

Min x

Making The Invisible Visible

Ann Brown-

A One Woman Show



Brown is a writer and performer who turned her lived

experience of domestic abuse into a sixty minute monologue,

Green Door. CChat was thrilled to have the opportunity of

interviewing Ann to find out more about both Ann and her play...

“I am a domestic abuse survivor and I’ve been using

my experiences to raise awareness of the subject

via the medium of theatre."

M: Tell me a little bit about what you do.

A: I do a few things. To earn a living, and also because I love doing it, I am a

funeral celebrant. On days when I’m not conducting a service I am at home,

writing. I have a few projects on the go and one of those is keeping an eye out

for public speaking opportunities. I am a domestic abuse survivor and I’ve

been using my experiences to raise awareness of the subject via the medium of

theatre. This all seems to have come about accidentally, although I don’t really

believe in accidents, I’m more of a destiny sort of person. So, here’s what

happened, whenever I told people a little bit about the things that were done

to me during my second marriage, I kept getting the response ‘wow, you

should write a book’! That sounded so weird to me but eventually I found

myself joining a creative writing class, just to see if there was any mileage in

this book idea that kept being pushed at me.

The classes caused me to start letting out some of the pain of that relationship

via pages and pages and pages of story, but it didn’t formulate, it was almost

like throwing up on the page if you like. So, I put it away in a drawer, where it

stayed for a couple of years. I’m involved in theatre - a little bit of acting, a

little bit of backstage work - and somebody asked me to make an appearance

in a showcase they were doing, to raise money for MIND, the mental health

charity. They were asking performers to talk about things that had happened

to them in relation to their mental health and so I took out the pages I had

written, put two or three of them together and realised that I had got the

makings of a short play – about twenty minutes - and so that was what I

showed. I didn’t want to just stand there and read it, so I ended up getting a

Making The Invisible Visible

director on board who helped me to

create a play as opposed to a speech.

Amazingly, it went down an absolute

storm. What took me completely by

surprise was that after each of the four

performances, I was there for another

2 to 3 hours with people coming up to

me and telling me about their

experiences, the experiences of people

that they knew or asking questions.

Most importantly, the questions they

were asking were clearly less about

simply being curious, and more to do

with educating themselves about this

distressing subject. Over a period of 2

years the play, entitled Green Door,

expanded to 40 minutes and then to a

60 minute full blown one act, one

the live shows. So, in order to keep

getting it out there we did a live stream

on Facebook instead. That was back in

May or June and we raised money for

two charities at the same time, which

was wonderful. Because it was a live

stream, it was kind of rough, in my

eyes anyway, so I thought I would like

to get it filmed properly when Covid

rules relaxed but finding the money to

do that has proved way too hard to

achieve. So, I’ve decided to simply

leave the live stream on the internet

and allow it to find its own audience.

Again, I come back to my belief in


"Most importantly, the questions they were asking were clearly less

about simply being curious, and more to do with educating

themselves about this distressing subject. "

woman show.

M: Oh wow.

A: Before Covid, I was touring in the

north-west and by then I had added a

question and answer session to the end

of the play. I don’t know if you’ve ever

been in a situation where you’ve been

in a theatre and someone has invited

you to stay behind for a Q & A? What

normally happens is that everybody

disappears, but amazingly pretty much

everybody stayed, and we ended up

having to cut short the Q&A because it

could have gone on all night. The

reviews that came out of it were

fantastic, and the respect shown for

each other in the room, it was

incredible, and so I realised I needed

to do something with this. But then

Covid came and we had to cancel all

One of the charities who benefitted

from the live stream went on to use the

donation they received to pilot a

scheme to help children who live in

households where domestic abuse

happens. The pilot was successful and

that work is now ongoing in some

schools in my local area. Fighting to

raise the money to make the film was

draining me and in the end I moved on

to other projects. I feel that my story is

doing good in a way I hadn’t

envisaged, and also in a way that

means I don’t have to keep reliving my

experiences by telling the story myself

too often.

M: That sounds fantastic and with

everything moving online, it sounds as

though you haven’t hung about and

quickly adapted to the changing


Making The Invisible Visible

A: Yes, definitely. I think sometimes

we try to force things to go in a

direction that we think they should go,

when actually it’s better to let them

find their own path. If the film is

meant to be, it will find its own way to

be born. I have been asked to do a talk

for a local Rotary Club once we are

able to get together indoors again and I

am open to doing more of these if I’m

asked. In the meantime I am

continuing my work as a funeral

celebrant. I only do four or five

funerals a month because, emotionally,

more than that is too much for me.

Every service I do is bespoke and when

we went through covid, the first stages

of it, I was much, much busier and the

levels of grief were sometimes

unbearable. Of course, there’s

normally grief when somebody dies

but under covid, and even if people

didn’t actually die of the virus, the grief

was ten-fold, so it was really hard

doing all these extra services and

seeing the extra pain that was caused

to people. I don’t envisage performing

Green Door again but I’d happily talk

to anyone who had any ideas for

keeping the message going. Maybe that

would be another actor or theatre

company who would like to take on the

role on my behalf. Perhaps I could just

do the Q&A session at the end. It’ll be

interesting to see where the dice falls.

M: Well I do know that there are

companies out there who perform

domestic abuse plays and one

specifically that charges

£2,000-£5,000 for a performance with

a Q & A at the end, so it’s possible to

make a living from it and you have the

added advantage of lived experience,

so you know what it was like to be in


A: Wow.

Making The Invisible Visible

M: They don’t all charge that much

though! I think those figures are

extreme, especially for the domestic

abuse sector which is notoriously

strapped for cash.

A: I once got a 4 month long job doing

corporate role play work where we

would teach things to companies,

things that could be fairly dull like

health and safety. I would travel

around the country with 2 other actors

and we would teach things through the

means of theatre, so we’d be characters

and we would play out a scenario and

the reaction that you get is so much

better than anything I’ve ever seen

because people are really engaged. As

my story is true - it’s not ‘based on

fact’, it is fact - every conversation that

I recount in Green Door is true so,

from that point of view, I think it’s

quite powerful, and it won’t be unique,

but it’s quite rare to have a survivor tell

her own actual story in that way.

M: Yes, I’d agree that it is quite rare. I

think it’s probably more usual for a

drama company to have consulted

with a charity and as a result of that,

something has been produced, but it’s

not an area I’m all that familiar with.

Now that the lockdown restrictions are

being reduced, what will you do and

how might someone get hold of you, if

they wanted to find out more or to

commission you for their event or


A: I’m continuing my funeral work, am

working on a novel which is based on

the Green Door play and am taking

courses in screenwriting as I have a

very strong vision of this story, with

Making The Invisible Visible

"I would also like to tell the story of the incredible changes that

have come about in my life since speaking openly about what

happened to me."

some degree of artistic licence

included, as a film or TV drama. I feel

that now, instead of simply telling the

story of the domestic abuse, I would

also like to tell the story of the

incredible changes that have come

about in my life since speaking openly

about what happened to me. A

motivational speaker by the name of

Mike Dooley inspired me to conquer

my fear of public speaking and this led

directly to me being able to help others

by telling my story and by becoming a

funeral celebrant. I’d like to think I

could be an inspiration to someone

else, pass the Mike Dooley torch on if

you like.

For more information and to

contact Ann Brown:

Email: madeittheatre@gmail.com.

Website: www.madeittheatre.co.uk



Making The Invisible Visible

Natalie Talbot

on women who use violence



Talbot is the founder of Care2Talk, who have

been running a Change Behaviour Programme and

Partner Support Service since 2011. They are a nonfunded

community service offering support to men,

women and children in the community.

M: You are the founder of Care2talk, could you tell the readers a little bit

about what you do and who you provide a service for?

N: We are quite a unique service, we are, primarily, a behaviour change

programme and I have been working with perpetrators since 1999 and with

victims since 1996. In 2011, I decided to set up and start my own behaviour

change programme because there was nothing around in the London Borough

of Hillingdon where I had wanted to set up the programme. I started by

renting a little office by the hour. I was still working full time at that point and

then decided to go part-time building up the service until I went full time

running Care2talk. It is always important to have a partner support service

attached to a change behaviour programme and so I looked at some of my

friends who were doing similar things and advertised out for volunteer

counsellors I trained the counsellors up in support work, so they could work

with the victims. I then moved into our own office in Uxbridge (in the London

Borough of Hillingdon).

After a few years, we noticed there was a lot of demand and not enough

services for women victims of abuse at that point and so we started recruiting

more student counsellors to work in the counselling service. We get referrals

from police, IDVAs, self referrals and some local services. Most of the men

who were using intimate partner violence and abuse were self- referrals who

wanted to make changes to their behaviours and stop using violence and

abuse. They were either using abusive behaviours or were told they were using

abusive behaviours and wanted to make changes. After a while I started

engaging with social services and local agencies and started getting referrals

from local agencies.

We also started to expand our counselling service and at the moment we have

15 volunteer counsellors. Some have been with me for several years and they

do an amazing job counselling victims I am very proud of the work we do with

victims. The victims men and women come to us via the police, social services,

men’s helplines and women’s organisations.

Making The Invisible Visible

We are always in demand and, with

Covid, we have had a waiting list,

which I really hate having. So, apart

from the perpetrator programme we

also provide a You Me and Mum

programme, which is a programme

that Women’s Aid in Northern Ireland

developed some years ago and it’s a

10-week programme for mums to

support mums in what they are going

through and also supports them in

managing their children’s trauma as

well as supporting themselves in

making safer decisions whether it’s to

leave or to stay and it’s a great way for

women to share in a group. We work

with children of the mums who attend

the YMM programme.

your training as a counsellor and so

then counsellors go off and aren’t

really sure what to do sometimes. We

also run a general low cost counselling

service for people in the area, although

we are doing all of our work, at the

moment, via zoom or skype and our

low cost clients contact us and we

speak to them about what they can

afford – it can be as little as £5 a

session. In the London areas,

counselling can be hugely expensive, it

can start from £60 to £150 a session

and that service is very well used as


M: I had no idea you did all this and

that you had so many volunteer

“I think it’s really important, if we are doing specialist domestic violence

training that our counsellors know what they are doing because there is

very little training on domestic abuse when you are doing your training."

We also provide, as a separate, training

around domestic abuse so all of our

counsellors and volunteers are trained

before they start working with us. They

have to have 8 sessions of training –

what is domestic abuse? Introduction

to working with perpetrators even

though we don’t counsel perpetrators,

they also get four sessions of working

with women who have suffered from

domestic abuse and working with male

victims. The ongoing training can

include mindfulness for professionals

and whatever else comes up, trauma

that kind of thing, so counsellors are

all trained before they are able to work

with our clients. I think it’s really

important, if we are doing specialist

domestic violence training that our

counsellors know what they are doing

because there is very little training on

domestic abuse when you are doing

counsellors. That's really quite


N: Yes, it’s really good. Obviously

counsellors are always looking for

placements but it’s no easy placement,

counselling survivors and men and

women who are still living with their

perpetrator, it’s really hard going and

I’m really proud of my counsellors,

they are amazing.

M: I’m interested to hear about the

work you are doing with female

perpetrators and how that came


N: when I worked for DVIP in London

we had some women attend the service

who had used intimate partner

violence and abuse and when I moved

to Respect, I was on the phone lines for

Making The Invisible Visible

eight years. I noticed that there were a

lot of male victims calling the Men’s

Advice Line and a number of women

calling the Respect Phoneline. I also

noticed that there were very few

services in the UK offering

perpetrators programmes for women

who use intimate partner violence.

M: So, where do you think social

services refer women who have used


N: They generally don’t refer them

anywhere! Ellen Pence came to train at

Respect and I was really keen and

interested in doing the work and went

to a few of her trainings and decided

I have developed the programme

further and went to the United States

in 2019 to train with Stephanie

Covington and her team on women

using intimate partner violence which

was amazingly fantastic and so I have

been using what I learnt there and

from Ellen Pence in the past. I have

two courses coming up in April a 2 day

Understanding and assessing women

who use IPV and a 3 day course on

facilitating one to one and group work

with women who use IPV with dates

in June and July - before the summer

holidays begin. I really enjoy sharing

what I’ve learnt and hopefully we’ll be

able to get more services working with

women as there are still very few.

"I also noticed that there were very few services in the UK

offering perpetrators programmes for women

who use intimate partner violence."

that I would set up working with

women who use partner violence and

it’s been very successful. It’s mainly

self-referrals and very few referrals

from social services, there’s a huge lack

of understanding of how female

perpetrators present and how to work

with them. In the beginning, everyone

was basically just using American

programmes or swapping over the old

perpetrator programmes we were

using in the UK. I developed, along

with Clare at Respect, the first training

for women who use intimate partner

violence. It was called Women Using

Violence and Abuse and I facilitated

the training at Respect during the time

I was there and after I left, I continued

to be an accredited Respect trainer for


M: I’m curious, what made your trip to

the US amazingly fantastic? That’s

seriously high praise.

N: The knowledge of the delegates,

sharing of information from all over

the world from Japan, Australia, New

Zealand, Canada, USA, South Africa,

Zimbabwe and all over the USA – my

colleague and I were the only people

from the UK – it was amazing. I’m a

great fan of Stephanie Covington and

her work making changes to women

who use intimate partner violence. She

also works a lot with the criminal

justice system in the USA but I didn’t

do that part, as well as the speakers

who spoke, the workshops were

amazing. Stephanie Covington has

written a programme called Beyond

Anger and Violence.

Making The Invisible Visible

There’s some bits we can’t use here

because it is about their criminal

justice system and I also don’t use

their case studies, I use the ones we

have. There are few people that inspire

me in my work, one is Ellen Pence and

the other Stephanie Covington – she

has a lovely way of explaining and

exploring. It’s a 3-day course and the

facilitators that trained us were

incredibly knowledgeable – the room

was buzzing with different ideas and

suggestions of what people have

worked with, what people have found

that they were doing that they have

changed. I sat at a table with a

Canadian, two New Zealanders, an

Australian, someone from Germany

N: I think that generally when

perpetrator work was started in the

UK, that it was always looked at that it

was men were primarily violent and I

think people were funded differently

so it’s been a difficult transition for

some colleagues who had been

working with men for years and years

and years to suddenly be working with

female perpetrators has been quite a

challenge. We had a good forum where

groups who were doing the work

would talk every 3 or so months but

that fell apart and I’d really like to get

that going again so that we can share

ideas, I think there’s probably only

around 20 services that I am aware of,

although there must be others around

"To suddenly be working with female perpetrator

s has been quite a challenge."

and a bunch of women from the USA

and I learnt huge amounts of stuff. I

also went on an amazing trauma

workshop facilitated by Roberto

Rodriguez – Exploring trauma and a

brief intervention for men - it has

informed quite a lot of the way I am

working with male victims. I would

like to go again when we are Covid

free. The other thing that I really liked

was that it was full of mindfulness

techniques dotted about throughout

the day – looking at working

differently with trauma and this was

specifically for women using intimate

partner violence.

M: Why do you think there hasn’t been

this focus on female perpetrators in

the UK?

the UK. Some do some amazing work

but it’s very sporadic around the

country – you’ll find a pocket here, a

pocket there. I often get people calling

me saying there’s nothing in the area

which is why we started, before covid

actually, a nationwide programme via

Skype and Zoom because so many

women I work with are from parts of

the UK where there are no

programmes at all – up north

particularly. Currently all of my

clients, including one who is abroad,

come from outside the London area.

M: How do the women get to find


N: Most of the women self-refer and

most of the women tell me they think

they have been abusive or they are

abusive and they’d like some help.

Making The Invisible Visible

Now and again I get a referral from

another service, including social

services. Most of the work I get is word

of mouth. I’ve been around a long time

and I’ve done quite a lot of training for

Respect and for myself.

M: How did you get into this?

N: When I came to the United

Kingdom, 46 years ago, I wasn’t

allowed to work so I did all sorts of odd

jobs and things and was tempted by a

counselling course. I was totally

hooked and decided I was going to

move into counselling and away from

what I was doing before.

volunteering on the perpetrator groups

and after a year or so applied for a job

that came up and was then there for

many years when I left to work at

Respect. I continued to work on a

sessional basis for some time. Whilst I

was working at DVIP I would typically

do 3 nights a week on groups which

would include social service, probation

service and self referral men. I also

trained on the training that probation

developed IDAP. During the day we

would assess men and do admin,

prepare for groups. I left and went to

work for Respect on the phonelines

and thought it would be a doddle, I can

just sit in a chair and listen to people

on the phone but boy, was I in for a

"The team on the helplines are amazing, they are on the phone all

day, pretty much 7 hours call after call with a perpetrator."

My first placement I had a female

client who told me she had been using

violence and abuse towards her

partner. I had no idea what to do with

her and I still have nightmares

wondering what happened to her. I

went to work in a refuge for six months

and then started doing voluntary work

at a women’s centre and ran with a

colleague, their counselling service. I

moved onto running the women's

centre. In any given year we had

between 3k and 5k coming through the

centre but when the single

regeneration budget ran out they no

longer ran the service and it was closed

down. I went on to manage another

women’s service in London. I couldn’t

find any work with men who were

using intimate partner violence and so

I found DVIP in London and basically

talked my way into

shock when I got there. The team on

the helplines are amazing, they are on

the phone all day, pretty much 7 hours

call after call with a perpetrator saying

they are using abusive behaviour to a

female saying her partner was using

violence towards, to women requesting

help for their abusive behaviour, to a

male victim and loads and loads and

loads of calls every day. I worked on

the helplines for 8 years and during

that time I started Care2talk and one

day took the huge risk to fly on my own

and do this work I'm doing now. I have

been back a few times to help out on

the phonelines, when they have been

busy and I really have to say that the

team on the helplines are amazing.

They work like crazy. It’s not always

fun but if you have a great team behind

you, it makes a massive difference and,

yes, here I am , several years on and

Making The Invisible Visible

I’m not sure what I’ll do retire or carry

on. I’ll probably carry on.

M: What inspires you?

N: Someone asked me that the other

day, well I know I’m a workaholic. I

really should cut down now. I'm 70 but

I am passionate about my work. I

suppose what inspires me, people

make all sorts of comments about

perpetrator programmes and how bad

they are, or how good they are or how

they shouldn’t be allowed and all the

stuff I’ve heard for years and years.

Some men do change, some women do

change – that’s a given.

I suppose also, I like new things, I like

change and over the years I have

developed my work, developed my

training and that inspires me. People

on training usually teach me stuff as

well, which is fantastic.

M: If you had a magic wand, how

would you use it?

N: I would like to eradicate violence

against women, children and men – if

that was my magic wand. A lot of men

and women say to me it would be

lovely if we could just wave a wand and

it will all be better.

"Some men do change, some women do change – that’s a

given. Not as many as I would like to but some do change."

Not as many as I would like to but

some do change so what inspires me

the most is that if we can, as human

beings, can make women, men and

children who are surviving domestic

abuse safer – because I don’t think we

can ever make anyone 100% safe, but

if we can make them safer, that is what

inspires me. I speak to clients who I

worked with years ago, in fact one

woman I worked with at a woman’s

centre in 1998 calls me every summer

to tell me how she’s doing. We try and

do a follow up every 6 months to see if

the people we have on the programme

stop using violence, some do, some

don’t. If a person using intimate

partner violence can change and make

it, particularly for the children we

forget about the children quite often,

that keeps me going.

M: Do you think that, as a society, we

could ever eradicate it or do you think

that we can only ever manage it?

N: Oh my goodness, I think on some

days, how would you ever eradicate it?

We need to have so much more

education – education in the police,

the Crown Prosecution Services, the

judges, the magistrates, educating

people about domestic abuse, the

general public who would rather walk

away – understandably if you see

people in the street being hurt.

Eradicate? I would be hopeful, in my

lifetime but if we manage it a lot better

we could make a huge difference.

Prison sentences are far too low, if you

even get to Court there are still to

many NFAs. it’s a really tough

question. I would love to eradicate it

but realistically, I think we would have

Making The Invisible Visible

to manage it, and manage it better and

every year we manage it better. I

suppose that I watch things and I

watch things online, and I hear things

and I go to workshops, and I listen to

people talking and sometimes it feels,

to me, like I’m back in 1997, when it

just felt overwhelmingly powerless

about how we were going to make

things better.

M: I can’t remember who said it but

I’ve been seeing this a lot recently, the

expression ‘Everything’s changed and

yet nothing has changed’

N: Yes and we need to get the police

onboard, police who understand and

we also have to understand the

constraints of the police. Every day I

hear a perpetrator or a victim saying

that the perpetrator is innocent as they

had an NFA.

M: I've heard it a lot too and then the

perpetrator ends up thinking the law

isn't going to touch them and that's a

really demoralising place for a victim

to be in.

N: Absolutely. It feels like that.

Sometimes I think what is going on?

“I’m quite vocal and so I say things and I think we need to call it out

if it’s not right, like the family courts."

As you know, I’m quite vocal and so I

say things and I think we need to call it

out if it’s not right, like the family

courts. They are not always saving the

best interests of the victim and this

isn’t in a small area, this is around the

country and I think that all services are

finding this and it’s heart breaking to

know that a woman’s been brave

enough to get an injunction and then it

doesn’t work because the police

haven’t got a copy of the order or there

is no further action (NFA).

Perpetrators who get no further action

from the police think that they are

innocent and will tell us, well the

police don’t believe you, why should

anyone believe you?

M: Yes, that’s something I’ve come

across time and time again. NFA is

equated with innocence

M: So, I’m going to wave MY magic

wand and transport you to your

fantasy place. Where’s your fantasy

place and what three things would you

take with you?

N: My fantasy place would be an island

on the Maldives. Can I take all my

grandchildren as one? I’d take books,

I’ve read so many amazing books. I

would take my daughters as well! I was

going to say food.

M: Well, hopefully there’ll be food


N: And then I’d love to come back to

no violence and abuse.

M: That would be amazing. It's been

wonderful talking to you. Thank you.

Making The Invisible Visible

Emma Hamilton


"Every time the theme tune came on,I found myself

choreographing, in my head, my experiences."

M: Tell me a little bit about what you


E: I’m a B-Girl, or a breakdancer. I’ve

been doing that for 23 years and I

teach dance classes and perform. This

project is the first solo piece that I have

choreographed myself and I have been

working on this for about 3 years and

am applying for funding so it’s taken

some time.

M: What made you decide to do this?

I found myself choreographing, in my

head, my experiences and by the end

of the flight I decided that I wanted to

make a piece about this.

M: Oh wow

E: Yes, that was the idea and because I

hadn’t heard about it before, it made

so much sense when I found out about

it and I’m hoping that with my skills as

a dancer, I can help to bring awareness

to the issue.

E: I was listening to the podcast ‘Real

Crime Profile’ and the episode where

they talk about Nicole Brown Simpson

and Ron Goldman, with Laura

Richards describing OJ Simpson’s

behaviour and also describing coercive

control. That was the first time I had

ever heard the term and heard it

broken down like that and I realised

that is what had happened to me in a

past relationship. I then listened to all

the episodes on a plane- I was flying to

California for a breakdancing event

and every time the theme tune came


Making The Invisible Visible

M: What is the message you’re hoping

to put out into the world, with your


E: I deliberately wanted it to be a solo

piece so that it focuses on the

experiences of a victim, so it’s told

from the victim’s point of view and I

wanted to forge an emotional

connection with the audience, so the

audience can understand how it feels

to be coercively controlled, and to

forge some empathy for how it is for

victims in that relationship.

Because it’s a solo and centred on the

victim’s experience, there’s no other

dancer in it to play the part of the

abuser, so even though the abuser isn’t

present, the effects of the behaviour is

always present.

M: How might somebody get to see

what you’re doing?

E: Before Covid, I had a team together

for the next development stage and I

was planning on touring around

theatres, schools and universities,

women’s prisons, conferences and

having an advocate or domestic abuse

expert lead a discussion on the piece so

the audience could talk about the

piece, how they felt and what they

thought was happening. I’ve also been

thinking about public performances in

unusual spaces, maybe an aisle of a

supermarket, or maybe a pub.

Exploring going to places where

victims can go, so maybe they can’t go

to work, but they can go to the

supermarket and using the fact of

lockdown so that people who won’t

understand the dynamics will now

understand what it is like to be trapped

at home because of lockdown.

For now people can read my blogs

about the development of the piece

and watch short films that document

the progress of the creation of the

piece on my website.

M: There are a lot of parallels. Not

knowing what you can or can’t do, the

ever changing rules, the heightened


E: I have a performance recorded that

I haven’t made public, I’m thinking of

putting that up on the website with a

link to support services.

Making The Invisible Visible

M: How did you come up with the


E: Before I started choreographing, I

did a lot of research. I went to two of

your Conferences on Coercive Control.

I went to the one in Bristol, at the

University and the one in London, at


Just listening to all the experts speak,

there were a lot of metaphors that

people used, that victims and survivors

use when talking about their

experiences like the frog in the water,

invisible chains, coiled spring,

eggshells- there were so many of these

very evocative metaphors and I

thought how can I translate the feeling

of that into movement? That was one

place where I started, and also the fact

that coercive control is a pattern of

behaviour. I thought I would make a

pattern of movement that would run

through the whole piece like a golden

thread and bring in elements of

coercive control tactics, to change that

pattern, to disrupt it, manipulate it

and distort it. It started off as

something very simple, the first

section is about gaslighting and

manipulation so it starts up very free

and open and takes up a lot of space

and then becomes smaller and tighter

and more confused and some parts of

my body constrict, to bring in that

limiting space for action that Professor

Liz Kelly talks about .

"There were so many of these very evocative metaphors and I

thought how can I translate the feeling of that into movement?"

Evan Stark was great in the London

one. At the one in Bristol, Dr Emma

Katz, who was speaking, mentioned

that she had a module on domestic

abuse at Liverpool Hope University. I

attended some of her lectures which

were really wonderful. She’s a great

speaker. I learned a lot from her and I

then went to one of Laura Richards’

Preventing Murder in Slow Motion

training sessions which was excellent

and she actually talks about OJ

Simpson in that session as well.

In the next section, there’s a focus on

rules and regulation and the

hypervigilance and the walking on

eggshells so the movement becomes

very slow and precise and the music is

pumping techno, fast dance music but

my movement is really slow, trying to

stay invisible and not be noticed, so

the walking on eggshells bit, doing that

kind of movement and living like that

is exhausting, so although it’s very

slow it’s very tense.

Making The Invisible Visible

"Because the music is so fast and I’m moving so

slowly you can feel the tension from the contrast, to

bring out that effect."

M: The music is replicating the

heartbeat, isn’t it? Of being in fight or

flight mode.

E: Yes and because the music is so fast

and I’m moving so slowly you can feel

the tension from the contrast, to bring

out that effect. The final section is

about the threats and intimidation.

There’s a lot of use of arms, using them

to cover my eyes and ears and to shield

myself from the hard stare or the nasty

words and it becomes really frantic

towards the end until I collapse. The

piece then starts from the beginning

again, it repeats to denote the cycle of

abuse but for the second time I do it in

a different place to where I was at the

beginning of the piece.

I’m much more broken down and

exhausted, I’m not the same person

anymore. I definitely wanted to get the

cyclical nature of the wheel of abuse,

the Duluth model across. All of the

research I did created the

choreography, the emotion, everything

so I think the piece is really led by the

emotion of it.

M: What have you called it?

E: Second Guessing.

M: That's a great name. Thank you so

much for agreeing to this interview.

[See over the page for some of

Emma's thoughts on Second


For more information:


Instagram @emmaready

or by email


All photographs are

from Emma's website.

Making The Invisible Visible

CCChat Interview

Sharon Bryan of NCDV


NCDV started in

2002. Originally it

was known as the

London Centre for

Domestic Violence

before changing its

name, in 2006, to

the National Centre

for Domestic



Before the centre

was operational,

victims had to

either be eligible for

public funding or

else have the means

to pay, in order to

get an emergency

court injunction.

This left a lot of

people with no

access to funds

unable to pay..




Bryan joined NCDV ( National

Centre for Domestic Violence) in

January 2021, to develop the new role

of Head of Partnerships and

Development. I spoke to her to learn

more about what NCDV are doing.

M: Tell me about what it is you do?

S: I am the Head of Partnerships and Development of

Domestic Abuse Services for NCDV which is the

National Centre for Domestic Violence – not to be

mixed up with the National Helpline – we’re nothing to

do with that and we don’t have a helpline. There’s often

quite a lot of confusion between the two. We specialise

in getting victims and survivors of domestic abuse civil

protective orders such as non-molestation orders,

occupation orders and prohibitive steps orders but we

do mainly non-molestation orders.

M: So, if someone wanted to get a non-molestation

order from NCDV, how would they go about it?

S: There are several ways you can do it, there is an app

you can download to your phone or tablet, there is a

referral contact form on our website and there are

several different ways of referring somebody or


M: Who is the service aimed at?

S: It’s aimed at anyone who is experiencing domestic

abuse, both men and women and it is a free service.

M: Is that for over 18? Or can teenagers apply? Some

teenagers leave home before they are 18 and also, if

they need an injunction against a member of their

family. This can often be a grey area.

S: Yes, we do take referrals from anyone aged 16 and


Making The Invisible Visible

"This was the 1980’s and everyone, even my solicitor didn’t think

he’d get a prison sentence."

M: What made you go into this line of


S: I’m a survivor of domestic abuse

myself, albeit a long time ago, with my

first husband, back in the 1980’s. He is

the father of my eldest daughter who is

now 35 and has 2 children of her own

and I went through that experience for

about five years and managed to leave.

I wasn’t aware of any help or any

support I could get, I guess there was,

but I didn’t know about them. My exhusband

was convicted of GBH with

intent, ABH and rape to me. His trial

was in the Old Bailey and he got six

and a half years.

I got a non-molestation order, before I

left him, I guess it was my way of

hoping that he would take notice and

stop being abusive but that isn’t what


While I had the injunction, he actually

broke my nose so, just after Christmas

in 1987, I left and reported him to the

police and they arrested him. He was

in court the next day for breaching the

injunction and he received a 2 month

prison sentence. This was the 1980’s

and everyone, even my solicitor didn’t

think he’d get a prison sentence and I

kind of knew that he was really going

to be angry when he got out of prison.

He came out after a month and one

night he broke into my flat, whilst I

was out with my daughter.

Making The Invisible Visible

After about a year of volunteering, a

paid position came up within that

same refuge and I applied and I got it.

The rest, as they say is history!

M: Did you ever hear back from him,

after his prison sentence?

He was hiding in the wardrobe in the

bedroom and when I came back, he

jumped out. He had a knife and

stabbed me and this all happened in

front of our daughter who was two and

a half at the time. Luckily, it went

through my hand, as I put my hand out

to protect myself, but it severed the

nerves in my hand and I had to go to a

hospital in London which specialised

in micro surgery. After that, he was

obviously arrested. The trial was at the

Old Bailey in 1988 and he received 6

and a half year sentence and that kind

of gave me the time to get myself

sorted out. I was moved by the council,

to the house I am in now, before he

came out of prison. About 10 years

later, I saw an advertisement in a local

paper, for a refuge worker and I

thought, very naively, that I could do

this, because I’d been through

domestic violence, so I applied for the

job. I didn’t get it but the manager of

the refuge called me and said that I

should volunteer at my local refuge

and get to know everything about it

and so that’s what I did.

S: Oh yes, when he was in prison he

got himself a solicitor and applied for

contact with our daughter and I was

forced to take my small child into

prison to see him. Basically the court

said that if I didn’t, I would be in

breach of a court order and so I had to

take my child into prison to see her

father. He didn’t want to see her, it was

his way of getting to me, to try and

stop me from getting a divorce, to try

and get me back. He wasn’t really

interested in our daughter.

When he did come out of prison, she

was about five, because he didn’t do six

and a half years, he did about 2 ¾

because he had already served a year

on remand. She had supervised

contact with him for a while and then I

was persuaded to let it be

unsupervised. She didn’t particularly

want to go, but it happened and

contact went on and then when she

was about 11, her behaviour became

very difficult.

To cut a long story short, she told our

GP that she was experiencing

emotional and physical abuse from her

father. She would say she wanted to go

to the toilet and he would say no and

make her sit there until he let her go,

so then she would have an accident

and then he would hit her for having

the accident. At that point I went back

to court and contact was stopped but

the damage was done and she was

diagnosed with PTSD. She was 11 years


Making The Invisible Visible

She had to see a child psychologist for

a long while and whilst his contact was

then stopped, he had letterbox contact

– so he could send cards at birthdays

and Christmas. I haven’t had contact

for quite a few years now but she is an

adult and can make her own decisions.

Her decision is still to not have contact

with him. It was a very difficult time

and it went on much longer and much

further after I left him.

M: It’s not what should be happening.

How did it make you feel having to go

through that?

one day and she had written, on a

whiteboard “ I want to die.” that I

realised. Obviously I was very worried

and took her to the doctor. She told the

doctor what was happening on contact

visits. It was a very difficult time and I

have always felt very let down by the

family courts in that respect. Things

have changed but in some ways things

haven’t moved on at all. I hear from

women whose ex partners have been

more abusive than my ex-husband and

they get a lesser sentence, so, in some

respects, I was very lucky and certainly

the police assigned to me really wanted

him to be convicted and given a prison

sentence, and I was lucky that I had


“He was hiding in the wardrobe in the bedroom and when I came

back, he jumped out. He had a knife and stabbed me."

S: I think with my daughter there was

a lot of guilt on my part because I felt I

should have been able to protect her

and that had been taken away from me

by the family court and the belief, at

that time, and still to a certain extent

at this time, that a child needs two

parents and has the right to know the

father and clearly, in my case and a lot

of cases I have worked with, it was and

still is the wrong thing to do.

It was a mistake to give him contact

because it has caused a lifetime of

damage to my daughter who has found

it very difficult to trust men. There’s a

lot of guilt because I felt I should have

seen the signs when she was coming

back from contact. I thought she was

being difficult, she never said anything

and it was only when she got to 11

years old and I went into her bedroom

M: I actually hear that a lot, where the

police really want a conviction for a

perpetrator and then it all goes pear

shaped in the courts so there is

something happening at the judicial or

magisterial level where harm isn’t

being recognised. Hopefully the

recommendations in the Harms report

and the appeal process of the 3

conjoined appeals will go some way

towards effecting some meaningful

progress for victims, as it’s long

overdue. Thank you so much for telling

me about your own lived experience,

I’m a bit lost for words actually and

can’t imagine what you and your

daughter had to go through and the

worry it must have caused. Now that

you’re at NCDV what are you hoping to

do both within NCDV but also out of it,

what’s the plan from hereon?

Making The Invisible Visible

S: Well, I worked in central London for

a long time, 16 years, in Westminster. I

developed the first IDVA service for

Westminster back in 2004 and the last

11 years, prior to going to NCDV, I was

co-located within Westminster

Children’s Services and so I have

worked frontline all of these years. I

still work frontline because I have my

own Community Interest Company. It

is very small, just me, and through that

I run and facilitate The Freedom

Programme. I facilitate The Freedom

Programme in my own time and I

fundraise to be able to do this.

unacceptable is more within reach,

along the same lines as drink driving,

smoking, and wearing seatbelts . How

are we going to do that? I think

education is really important, there

should be education in schools and

much more than there is now. Also, we

need to ‘name’ it! We hear everyday on

the radio and the television about

murders where the suspect is ‘known

to the victim’. There is a very good

chance that this homicide is of a

domestic nature, but the words

‘domestic abuse’ are very rarely used.

If they were, the public’s perception

would be so much higher.

"NCDV’s mission is to make domestic abuse socially unacceptable

and I share that belief. I think to eradicate it completely is a really

tall order because of the way our society is structured."

With NCDV, the role is new and so

really I’m developing that partnership

and development role. I’m contacting

other organisations, not just domestic

abuse, any organisation that comes

into contact with men or women who

experience domestic abuse, to raise

more awareness really because there

are still so many gaps in service

provision. What we see at

governmental and ministerial level –

we’re going to do this, we’re going to

do that – that’s all great but actually is

it all working on the ground level? I

know there are huge gaps, still.

NCDV’s mission is to make domestic

abuse socially unacceptable and I

share that belief. I think to eradicate it

completely is a really tall order because

of the way our society is structured. I

don’t think we will ever eradicate it

completely but to make it socially

M: If someone wanted to get an

injunction, how much would it cost?

S: Nothing. The service is free, it will

always be free. NCDV will never charge

a victim to obtain an order. NCDV

have just converted to a Community

Interest Company. At the current time,

the way we are able to offer the service

for free is that we charge solicitors to

create their bundles. Creating a bundle

for a court case, for a non-molestation

hearing is very time consuming and so

we offer that service to solicitors and to

law firms and 9 times out of 10 they

take up that offer, as it means less

work for them and that money then

goes back into the ‘community’ –

community in this case, being victims

and survivors who come to us for

assistance in obtaining protection


Making The Invisible Visible

That is how we are able to offer our

service for free. So, if someone selfrefers,

needing a non-molestation

order, they will go through to our First

Steps Team who will do an assessment

and see if they are entitled to legal aid.

Access to legal aid funding for victims

of domestic abuse is means tested, this

could mean that the legal aid agency

will request that the victim pay a

monthly contribution towards the

associated costs of having a solicitor. If

they are fully entitled, they will be

allocated a solicitor who will then

proceed to get the application to court.

If they are not entitled to legal aid or if

the legal aid agency requests that they

make a financial contribution

this then I would encourage them to

contact and discuss as we always try to

find a way to help.

M: Is this a nationwide service?

S: This service is available across

England. We don’t operate in Wales or

Scotland, the reason being the laws

around policy are different.

M: What percentage of applications

end up with a non-molestation order?

What I suppose I’m asking is how

many cases do you see where the

evidence doesn’t hit the threshold

needed to secure an injunction and

what happens then?

"The service is free, it will always be free. NCDV will never charge a

victim to obtain an order."

themselves, they will be offered the

opportunity to use our Pro Bono

team. The pro bono team will do the

paperwork for them and offer advice

but they are litigants in person, so will

effectively represent themselves in

court. We can also arrange for a

McKenzie Friend to support the person

at court, although, of course, this has

not been possible in the last year due

to COVID-19. If you are a Litigant in

Person, the only caveat in relation to

fees is that if you want to use NCDV’s

process server there can be a fixed cost

of £100, no matter how many attempts

need to be made to serve the

paperwork to the perpetrator. Whilst

the order does need to be served in line

with the courts guidance, there is no

obligation to use this service to access

our services in obtaining an order. If a

person literally has no means of paying

S: Once a case has gotten to the stage

that the court has listed it then it is

quite rare that an order is not made. In

the rare case that they refuse to make

the order the court will oftentimes seek

for the perpetrator to agree

undertakings which is a promise to the

court to cease the abusive behaviour,

breaking this promise can result in

being found in contempt of court. The

cases that are concluded without either

a Non-Molestation order or

undertakings in place are extremely


M: I’m wondering what safeguards are

in place to ensure that perpetrators

can’t use your service to try and claim

that their victim is a perpetrator and to

try and get an injunction against


Making The Invisible Visible

S: NCDV will help anyone who

contacts us claiming to have suffered

domestic abuse and wishing to apply

for a protective order, assuming there

are grounds for this application. NCDV

will ensure that the application is

prepared to a professional standard to

best allow the court to make their

judgment. It is the court who will

ultimately act as a safeguard here.

Submitting an application that is

found to be vexatious can be taken

very seriously by UK courts. If a

perpetrator were to read this I would

strongly advise doing so as not only

can the court refuse the order but they

have been known to seek costs.

S: Last year there were 95,000

referrals from the police and domestic

abuse agencies and just under 10,000

non-molestation orders were secured.

We provided the free service for over

4,100 victims of domestic abuse who

couldn’t obtain legal aid or afford a

solicitor, who had obviously fallen

through the gaps.

M: You mentioned earlier that you had

a pro bono team, are they solicitors

giving their free time or are they


S: The pro bono department is headed

up by an ex-barrister and a team of

either trainee law students who are

currently completing their law degree

or former law students who have now

completed their studies and taken on a

role with us as a trainee paralegal. The

reason NCDV exists is because the

founder was practicing law at

Guildford University and a friend of

his needed to get an order but couldn’t

get legal aid. This department is the

reason why NCDV exists; to help those

that cannot get help from a solicitor

because of their financial position.

Making The Invisible Visible

The Pro Bono department provides a

number of solutions which include

helping a person represent themselves

as a Litigant in Person, they provide a

complete set of professionally drafted

documents to make the application,

help with travel costs and arrange a

McKenzie Friend. At the moment,

because of the pandemic, we have not

been able to provide McKenzie Friends

but we hope to resume this service in

due course. There is a lot that NCDV

can do for people who cannot get legal


M:How easy is it to get an injunction

when the abuse is controlling and

coercive behaviour?

We know that the perpetrator of

domestic abuse does not need to be in

the same property as the victim in

order to terrorise and threaten them.

In the 23 years of working in this field,

victims have often said that you get a

black eye and it fades, it goes away but

the things that get into your head

never go away and I think that, for a

lot of victims and survivors, emotional

abuse and coercive control has a much

longer term and damaging effect. I still

feel that there is a common

misconception around coercive control

and how dangerous that can be and it

isn’t that easy to prosecute.

"We provided the free service for over 4,100 victims of domestic

abuse who couldn’t obtain legal aid or afford a solicitor."

S: What I have seen, ever since the law

to make controlling and coercive

behaviour a crime was passed in 2015,

is that actually, on the ground level it’s

not as simple as thinking coercive

control is now a crime and you can get

an abuser arrested. Generally, the

police have to have something else to

tag on to that to get the CPS to agree a

charge, which can be quite misleading

for victims and survivors who see

posters and adverts and think they

don’t need to be physically abused and

the law will protect them.

In my experience, they can report the

perpetrator but this doesn’t always

lead to the perpetrator being charged

or remanded. More often than not,

they will get bailed and will continue to

terrorise the victim.

We are seeing more prosecutions, and

as time goes on, it will get better but at

the moment, when we hear about

coercive control, it’s generally

something else that gives the police

and the CPS enough to take it through

to prosecution. This isn’t criticising the

CPS or the police at all, it’s just that

the law is not fool proof. My advice to

anyone would always be to report the

crime as having a ‘paper trail’ is very

useful to use as evidence of the abuse

over time.

M: I know in many cases, the evidence

provided hasn’t counted as evidence

which is incredibly frustrating and

demoralising and it helps to confirm,

in the perpetrator’s mind,that there

will be no repercussions for their

behaviour. There is a real drawback

to having a public message that says

Making The Invisible Visible

all abuse will be taken seriously, but

then fails to deliver because coercive

control is only being identified if

accompanied by physical violence, and

it gets tagged on but there is a real

difficulty in identifying it on its own, at

leats that’s what I’m finding. They

can’t recognise it from the ground up,

only top down.

S: There aren’t enough services that

deal with the lower level risk. For me,

if you don’t work with low and medium

risk, it’s going to become high risk so I

think there is something about

prevention and getting early help,

helping the person understand what’s

happening to them, maybe going on a

Freedom Programme, for example, so

they can understand what is

happening to them and means that

they may not reach that level where

there is a risk of homicide. Surely

that’s what we should be trying to do?

M: I agree, if people are aware of the

early warning signs, they can get out,

before they become too invested in the

relationship. You wouldn't get

punched on the first date but red flags

are often apparent, even on that first

date, if you know what to look out for.

S: That brings me onto my pet hate

which is people saying, and I’ve had a

lot of social workers say this to me over

the years, “why does she keep going for

violent men”? It really annoys me, she

doesn’t keep going for violent men,that

myth is just ridiculous. You’re not

going to go to a bar or wherever and

see this guy and think, he looks like

he’s going to give me a good hiding so

I’ll make a move on him. No one goes

into a relationship thinking they are

going to be abused. It’s afterwards that

you get to think, hang on, that isn’t

right, it’s scaring me now.


Making The Invisible Visible

Carol Ellis writes under the pen name Mrs

Yorkshire the Baking Bard. She has

published six poetry books to date. Her poetry

has also featured in many national and local

newspapers and magazines and on TV.

Carol is a performing poet and usually performs

her observational humorous poetry in a "stand

up comedy in rhyme" style but also writes

heartwarming poetry and has written many

thought-provoking poems in order to raise

awareness of sensitive subjects such as abuse,

homelessness, Alzheimer's disease and

cancer. She was inspired to write this poem

about coercive control in order to help raise

awareness for both victims and survivors.

Carol can be found on Facebook, Instagram

and Twitter and also has a YouTube channel.

Her e-mail address is:


Making The Invisible Visible

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