Healthwatch Essex Becomes a Domestic Abuse Reporting Centre

Healthwatch Essex has become an official J9 Domestic Abuse Reporting Centre, with trained staff members able to take calls from those requiring support and information.

Our Information Service team are now fully trained to provide the service, which allows people at risk of, or experiencing, domestic abuse to access information in a safe and confidential way. Our team can also signpost individuals to services and specialist organisations offering additional support in relation to domestic abuse.

The team has undertaken in-depth training provided by Safer Places to upskill staff with knowledge and greater understanding of domestic abuse and the services available to support people experiencing it, or still living with the effects. The J9 Domestic Abuse Initiative aims to raise awareness of domestic abuse and assist survivors to access support safely by training professionals and members of the community to recognise domestic abuse and respond to survivors. Now that our Information Service is J9 trained, we will display the J9 logo on our website and social media channels, letting survivors know that they have a safe place to access information and to contact support services.

So many survivors say that they never got the chance to tell someone because it wasn’t safe. It’s not always easy to know who to contact, where to go and what your options are. Coercive control is a factor in many abusive relationships and perpetrators of abuse will actively shut down opportunities for survivors to access support. J9 opens those doors to support and creates a network of safe places for survivors to speak out and get help.

As part of the launch of the service, we spoke with domestic abuse survivor, Denise. She told us how her abuser developed controlling traits over time, escalating to a point where she left her home: “[my abuser] came across very charming, as they do. Then he showed signs, that I’m aware of now, that I wasn’t then, of being very controlling… It just accelerated from there.

“Eventually I went into refuge, and that’s when his behaviour got bad again. Slandering me. Telling me I’m a bad mother ‘how can you take your children to a place like that’.

“There’s lots of people out there to help you, and if you get into the right organisation it accelerates it – like I did.”

You can watch Denise’s full story below.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or know somebody who is and are looking for advice, you can contact our Information Service here.