Lucy’s Update

Welcome to our April Newsletter – I can’t believe we are over half-way through April and even Easter weekend seems like a distant memory. I actually managed a few days away in the Peak District prior to seeing a fellow colleague, Professor June Keeling, deliver her inaugural lecture at Keele University. June is a Professor of Women’s Health and passionate about creating awareness of domestic abuse across the healthcare profession.


As a former midwife, her work and research has focused on encouraging safe disclosure for patients as well as health care providers and providing supportive workforce cultures around domestic abuse. June and I are both really looking forward to conducting research and projects together going forward. It was wonderful to spend time with her and her fellow colleagues at Keele University..

This month we would also like to welcome our new Ambassador, Sharon Bryan. For Alpha Vesta, the role of an Ambassador is to champion our work and organisation while supporting both myself and members of our Survivors Symposium, ensuring both lived experience and frontline practice continue to lie at the heart of everything we do. As part of our Survivors Symposium, our Ambassadors help to oversee our ‘Survivor and Insight Network’ which you can find out more about on our website.


Sharon joins Natalie Queiroz, MBE, in her role as an Alpha Vesta Ambassador and we are incredibly fortunate to have both playing such an active role within our organisation.  Sharon herself is a Survivor and has worked within the Domestic Abuse field for over 25 years. Today, Sharon is not only a qualified IDVA, but also runs her own Domestic Abuse Consultancy, whilst also holding the role, ‘Head of Partnerships & Development’ at the NCDV (National Centre for Domestic Violence), which provides civil protective orders to victims of domestic abuse. 

This month we are also moving forward with our fully-funded Community Advocate Scheme across Essex.  The scheme aims to acknowledge and recognise those businesses and organisations demonstrating their continued commitment and support of our vision and mission to ‘break the cycle’ of domestic abuse.​

The scheme itself is funded by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) enabling Alpha Vesta to build partnerships and collaborations with Essex based businesses and organisations.  The scheme requires no financial investment, only a commitment to working together to ‘break the cycle’ of domestic abuse and to inspire others to make a difference.  To find our more visit our website here.


In November 2023, we will host an event to recognise and thank our Community Advocates for their continued work and valuable support made throughout the year.​  As Chair of the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB), we have asked Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, to present one of our Community Advocate Awards alongside representatives from Essex Police Business Crime Team and Essex Community Foundation.

We are looking forward to really embedding the Community Advocate Scheme across Essex, with many employers already signed up and working through their action plans as you will see from some of the Testimonials!

Fingers crossed the sun keeps shining for us all.

Best regards

Lucy Whittaker

Lucy Whittaker

Founding Director and Lead Trainer of Alpha Vesta CIC

Natalie Queiroz MBE

Awareness & Community Hubs @ Starbucks

Next month, we are launching our informal ‘Domestic Abuse Awareness and Learning Hubs’ in selected Starbucks Coffee Shops across Essex. The new pop-up hubs have been designed to do the following:-

  • Create awareness about domestic abuse and its impact
  • Offer advice and guidance on how you can reach out to someone you might be concerned about as well as signposting to specialist organisations. You may concerned about a friend, family member or work colleague.
  • Provide fact sheets and details of support services available in the area.
  • Provide information on our ‘Community Advocate Scheme’ and ‘Survivor and Insight Network’

Starbucks are one of our valuable Community Advocates and these new hubs funded by Essex Community Foundation at selected Essex Starbucks stores, are a great opportunity to grab a coffee and have a chat with a member of our Team. There will also be craft activities provided for the children at each hub to entertain the little ones.

Natalie Queiroz MBE

Domestic Abuse in the News – links

Emergency Alerts

There has been a lot in the news about the new ‘emergency alert’ that will be coming through to people’s mobile phones on 23rd April. This has raised concern around those that, due to domestic abuse, may have a second phone hidden within their property. It is possible to disable the alerts and the attached guidance allows you to understand a little more about these alerts as well as how to disable them.

How emergency alerts work – GOV.UK (

The Ripple Effect and Long-Term Impact of Domestic Abuse

I would like to also flag the below controversial drama based on the true story of ‘The Hunt for Raoul Moat’. Moat was a prolific perpetrator of domestic abuse as well as other crimes and 2 days after being released from Durham prison on 1 July 2010, shot his ex-girlfriend (Samantha Stobbart), her new partner (Christopher Brown) and a police officer (PC David Rathband).

This for me really highlights the ripple effect of domestic abuse which, in this case, was the death of two men as a result of Moat’s actions. It also highlights the long-term impact, whilst Samantha Stobbart survived her horrific injuries, she lives a life with her daughter away from the spotlight and in fear of any repercussions from the events. In previous news reports she talks about those really horrific conversations she will have to have with her daughter about her father and what he did. So many lives destroyed as a result of his actions. I was also incredibly surprised to see the statistic referenced at the end of the drama that ‘In England and Wales, two women are killed by a current or former partner every week’. In this particular case, no women died but 2 men lost their lives as a result of Moat’s actions. Christopher Brown – who was shot dead by Moat and PC David Rathband who took his own life 2 years after being blinded in the attack.

Manhunt: The Raoul Moat Story – ITVX

Innovative Policing

I’m also very pleased to highlight this third article as we work so closely alongside Essex Police in really looking at how we can respond better to the signs of domestic abuse at an earlier point.

As the first force in the country to adopt this new approach to managing perpetrators of domestic abuse, it really highlights a much more proactive side of policing. Most forces are reactive so it’s a breath of fresh air to be giving victims and potential victims reassurance that there is a team of people out there managing those that may pose a risk to them.

Hopefully more forces will adopt this approach. That’s exactly what we are all about at Alpha Vesta. Being proactive rather than consistently reactive. We then work with those workforces, agencies and communities to embed this approach through policies, procedure and robust training.

How brutal murder of Canadian teenager Ashley Wadsworth changed how police tackle domestic abusers | ITV News Anglia

Dates for the Diary

Essex Business Partnerships Annual Business Show

Essex Business Partnerships Annual Business Show

Tuesday 23 May 2023 we will be attending the Business Show at Greenwoods Hotel & Spa

Community Advocate Launch Event

Community Advocate Launch Event

Thursday 15 June 2023 we will be hosting our in person Community Advocate Launch Event at The Lounge, Ingatestone

National Support & Help

National 24hr Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247 For women and children experiencing domestic abuse

Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327 For men experiencing domestic abuse

RESPECT 0808 802 4040 For those concerned that they may be using abusive behaviours

NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000 If you are concerned about a child

Samaritans 116 123 For those struggling in terms of their mental health and feeling in crisis

NCDV 0800 970 2070 free, fast emergency injunction service for survivors of domestic abuse

Essex Regional Support & Help

Alpha Vesta 01245 791281 For employers and employees concerned about a staff member

Compass 0330 333 7 444 Compass is being delivered by a consortium of established domestic abuse support agencies including; Safe Steps, Changing Pathways and The Next Chapter. The aim is to provide a single point of access for callers to speak with a trained member of staff who will complete an assessment and ensure contact is made with the most appropriate support service.

The Change Project 01245 258 680 Committed to preventing conflict in relationships and working with both perpetrators, victims and their children.

Alpha Vesta’s Collated National & Regional Support Services (click here to access document)

CPD Provider
Lottery Community Fund
brentwood Chamber
Essex Partnership
Police, fire and crime commissioner for essex
Essex Community Foundation

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