"When I started the programme, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I should have been there. I blamed my ex for everything, but then I learned how much it was about me, how I acted, how I would control everything and what damage I had done. It was at that point I realised, I really do need to be here. I am no different to the others, I don’t want to do that anymore."
Anonymous"I am thrilled to say that after many years of sadness and controlling we are in a good place and I cannot tell you how much happier we both are because his shouting screaming and controlling is no longer part of our relationship and it looks like we are going to make that 30th wedding anniversary next year!"
"As an individual who’s partner left me because of domestic abuse, I quickly realised that I had to take responsibility for my actions. At first, I thought that perhaps it would save our relationship, but quickly realised as I began the course that this wasn’t the most important issue. The real issue was dealing with my behaviour, for myself, and for the long term, whether it could save our relationship or not.
During my time with the Essex change programme, I went through an awful lot of experiences, ranging from realising what I had been doing wrong and why, to understanding the deeper issues behind domestic abuse, and the real effects of such behaviour on those you love. This at times, was a real emotional roller coaster of a ride for me.
There are a lot of key areas covered on the course, including how/why you became abusive, the effects of such abuse, women’s anger, to name but a few, and each session began with key questions for each person to cover (partner and spouse(s) names, any abusive behaviour, most abusive behaviour etc., similarly, there were also questions to be answered at the end of each session, which helped to focus on what we had learned/understood for that particular session.
Key topics were covered by both discussion and (very powerful) roleplay, in which we all took part at some point, which served to reinforce the outcomes of each topic covered.
Towards the end of the course it began to dawn on me that I was making real and positive progress on a personal level, culminating in an almost Eureka’ moment of realisation around week 26. This also quickly led to a breakthrough moment in terms of communicating with my ex partner, and being able to see our children.
Given that the course is designed to really deal with the issues at the heart of domestic abuse, and is not a ‘quick fix’, it was both long and often very challenging. These ‘challenges’ regarding our comments and discussions on domestic abuse came mainly from other people on the course, which initially was uncomfortable, but later on enabled each of us to realise where we were in understanding and overcoming our behaviour.
The outcome for me is firstly that I really do know how to deal with anger now, in an appropriate way. Secondly, although I am definitely going through a divorce (not through choice), I can communicate effectively with my ex partner, to the extent that I now see my children every weekend, outside of the need for a contact centre, and that my children have overnight stays with me (something which seemed an impossibility at the time of the course).
Finally, I deeply regret not having found the Essex Change course at an earlier point in my relationship, and really feel that this course should be supported to be made more widely available to more people.
It really is a ‘change for life’ course, and although a great deal of commitment and soul searching is needed, the question has to be ‘If I really want to change for life, then I have to be committed to that change, for life’.
I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this course to ANYONE who is seeking to deal with their abusive behaviour towards their loved ones."
"I personally found the course to be intrinsic to my own development from a perpetrator of violence to a person that could look inward at the effects my violence had on my family. The course was developed in such a way that the individual was not seen as a criminal although they were made aware that the violence was their responsibility. The interaction between the two facilitators and the group grew stronger as the course progressed and the methodology used to bring out the feelings and emotions felt by perpetrator and victim was a revelation to all involved. It is a course that should be provided to far more perpetrators of violence than it is at present and I do hope that anyone who has ever physically or mentally abused their partner with or without taking responsibility for their actions uses Essex change as a conduit to change and progress in their own life and future happiness."