News from Harlow Council – Niel Churchill

A new initiative providing contact points to help victims of domestic abuse has been launched in Harlow.

 Named after Janine Mundy, who was killed in Cornwall by her estranged husband while he was on police bail, the J9 national initiative sees local venues offering confidential help display pink J9 heart stickers in their windows.

j9Over 100 staff so far from more than 30 public and voluntary organisations in west Essex including Harlow Council and The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust have been trained so they can put victims in touch with professional help. The initiative is backed  and facilitated by domestic abuse charity Safer Places

 Staff at each J9 contact point have been trained to signpost advice and spot the signs of domestic abuse. Each venue has a safe place where victims can access information and use a phone.

The Safer Harlow Partnership has been providing training to raise awareness and increase understanding of domestic abuse among staff working in the public and voluntary organisations. The Partnership hopes local businesses will now join the initiative and sign up for training ahead of the wider launch of the initiative as part of domestic abuse awareness week in November 2016. More training will be available in October and November 2016

 Councillor Emma Toal, Harlow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Youth & Community, said: “The Partnership has seen a fantastic take up to its offer of free training to help build up a network of support for local people across the town. Many victims of domestic abuse both women and men suffer in silence and are often afraid to turn to others for support. The J9 initiative reaches out to people to provide the help they so desperately need. By training staff and setting up contact points where people can access discreet information on the support available victims will know that they are not alone. We would now like to see local businesses sign up to this initiative so we can expand this network of support even further.”

 Professor Nancy Fontaine, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Nurse at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Domestic abuse is very common and affects the lives of millions of people across the UK. The aim of J9 is the raise awareness of domestic abuse and help people to seek the help they need, which is sometimes all we can do. We have led a proactive approach to care and support those involved in domestic abuse and are proud to be part of J9 as one of the organisations that people suffering domestic abuse,  their friends or family can turn to for advice”

 Joanne Majauskis, Head of Programmes and Practice at Safer Places, said: “It is absolutely pivotal to our mission that our service, help and support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse is easily accessible within the community.  J9 provides a safe and secure opportunity for victims to disclose, having the J9 sticker on display shows the public that it is safe to talk and there are people and materials available that can offer advice, being in a J9 trained establishment victims are only one short phone call away from a full support system.  Many sufferers of domestic abuse are limited on where they can go, what they can do and who they can call. This being known it is vital to have help accessible in as many locations as possible. The training not only offers an opportunity and safe place for victims to disclose and seek help, but also busts myths and provides professionals with the correct tools to read between the lines and identify signs of abuse. J9 is an ongoing project and we wish to carry on training as many people as possible in order to raise awareness, gain access and give voices to the hidden victims that we know are out there.”

 For more information on the J9 initiative visit www.harlow.gov.uk/j9

 Businesses interesting in free training to become a J9 contact point should email contact(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)harlow.gov.uk

 If you or a man or a woman who is being hurt, threatened or controlled you can get help:

  • In an emergency always ring 999
  • Safer Places support for adults and children: 0845 0177 668
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline (for women): 0808 2000 247
  • Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
  • Victim Support: 08 08 16 89 111