Domestic violence: A legacy of guilt

A young woman who was violent towards her mother after drinking has said an Essex charity helped her change her behaviour and urges others to get help.

Speaking in a video posted to Essex Police’s YouTube channel, Louise, who’s last name was not revealed, said she would sometimes lash out at her mum.

But after being referred by an agency to The Change Project, a domestic abuse and counselling charity which aims to change perpetrators’ behaviour, she now has a better relationship with her parents.

Louise, 24, said: “My anger towards my mum started when I was living at home. I wouldn’t lash out all the time, but when I’ve been drinking I would sometimes hit her.

“At the time I would feel angry, but afterwards I would feel guilty. I would try to make things right by buying my mum flowers. There would be a time when everything would be okay, and then something my mum would say or do would trigger me off and I would lash out again.

“I’m working hard on myself to change my behaviour, which will be positive for both of us. Although I don’t have contact with my mum at the moment, I know that our relationship will repair and be better in the future.”

She later said: “They [The Change Project] have taught me how to recognise my emotions, how to recognise my triggers and how to remove myself and get time out so I can de-escalate my anger.”

In a new campaign called Reflect, the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board is encouraging those who are abusive in their relationships and want to change to refer themselves to the charity.

It aims to break the cycle of abuse by stopping it from happening in the first place.

According to a second video on the Essex Police YouTube channel, the support provided is tailored one-to-one.

Joe, 40 and whose last name was also not revealed, said in the video his life would be “ruined” if he had not got help.

He said: “Me and my partner were having rows and there was a bit of violence and it wasn’t fair on the children, nor my Mrs.”

According to a statement by Essex Police, domestic abuse can include controlling behaviour and stalking and harassment as well as physical violence.

It can also be between family members, in addition to intimate partners, and in LGBTQ+ relationships and older people.

Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardner said in the statement: “Domestic Abuse is the largest cause of harm in our county and accounts for 19 per cent of all recorded crime and 33 per cent of all violent crime.

“It is a devastating and abhorrent crime that destroys lives and causes significant harm to victims. Through the Southend, Essex, and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board we are committed to supporting the victims of domestic abuse and reducing the number of people who suffer from this awful crime.”

“The Change Project has proven successful in working with people whose behaviours are becoming abusive to stop them committing these offences before they escalate. Changing behaviours, preventing crime and reducing the number of people who become the victims of domestic abuse is critical in creating safe communities where we can all live without fear.”

Those wanting to seek help can contact the Change Project by visiting its website www.thechange-project.org or by calling 0845 372 7701.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter