So, for our ’12 days of Christmas’ style blogs, we thought it only fitting to look at some of our successes! I have only been a part of the Next Chapter Team since August – and wow has that gone quickly! The team have made me feel so welcome and supported, giving me the confidence to get stuck in straight away!

One of my real highs was with a client who had endured abuse for 18 years, to ensure her safety and anonymity, I will be calling her Rebecca. Rebecca’s abuse took the form of coercive control, isolation from friends and family, manipulation, and physical abuse. She had already taken a major step in her journey before coming into our service, by splitting up with her perpetrator. The outstanding abuse and issues that needed to be resolved mainly occurred through child contact, which is sadly the case for many of our clients.

Through Rebecca’s own resilience and strength, and with the support of Next Chapter, Rebecca has really transformed her situation. When we starting working with Rebecca, she still felt controlled and consumed by her perpetrator, she was being manipulated, was experiencing a trauma bond, and was struggling to deal with having to come face to face with her ex-husband. Moreover, she was dealing with the emotions of seeing him already moved on with another family, whilst figuring out how their child fitted into that. A lot to handle for sure! It was understandable that Rebecca was emotional at times – I think it’s safe to say we all would be!

We were able to work through the Power and Control Wheel (see picture below) and Healthy Relationships Worksheets to make Rebecca more aware of the dynamics of domestic abuse - power through knowledge if you like! After many conversations about the ongoing fears and emotions Rebecca had about contact arrangements with their child, I was able to validate how she was feeling, and reassure her. The emotional support in this case was a huge part of the support she needed to build confidence and develop empowerment through being there to listen to her worries and work through them together, Rebecca has come so far – and no long feels as intimidated as she once did.

I truly believe that understanding the abuse cycle and understanding a little more about perpetrator psychology can work wonders in moving clients forwards to a place of recovery.

Rebecca was also referred to our fabulous Children and Young Person’s Team. Through their support she was able to attend the You and Me Mum Programme which gave her and little one the chance to explore recovering together.

As a result of Rebecca’s own strength and with a little help from Next Chapter, she is in a much happier place and feels more confident than ever!

From myself and Next Chapter, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas – and if you ever need us, do not hesitate to call or email us!

Connie