Lucy’s Update

Welcome to our Winter edition. 2023 has been another incredibly busy year for us at Alpha Vesta and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has joined us on our journey to breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.

Our Survivor and Insight Network at Alpha Vesta supports us to drive best practice in awareness, prevention and early intervention around domestic abuse and is made up of survivors, professionals and employers, all with unique skills and insight to support us in our mission to ‘break the cycle’ of domestic abuse.

It is through our Network that we have created a new portfolio of fact sheets and launched them across the 16 Days of Action for Domestic Abuse. The fact sheets have been designed to engage, educate and empower victims/survivors, friends, family members, colleagues and employers.

I encourage you to download, print, and share these resources so that we can raise awareness of domestic abuse and help build a workforce and community of understanding around it. They can be accessed from our website or by clicking on the images below:

Alpha Vesta

I Didn’t Know

Alpha Vesta

We Didn’t See It

Alpha Vesta

What Can I Do?

Thank you to our Survivor and Insight Network, Community Advocates and Ambassadors who have supported us in this project including; Fords Motor Company, Thurrock Council, ThisWeekInFM, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, NCDV, Natalie Q Inspire, DVSA, East of England Ambulance Service, Essex Business Partnerships, Reign Coaching, Kingswood Group HR, Blue Serif, KBater HR and Maldon District Council.

We will be launching a further phase of factsheets and resources in the New Year so watch this space!

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics has been released and the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 2.1 million people aged 16 and over experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2023 with a peak in December.

Lucy Whittaker

The peak in statistics recorded last year reinforces that Christmas can be a very difficult and stressful time of year for victims of domestic abuse and their families. Last year I shared with you all a blog I had written on Domestic Abuse and Christmas which includes some guidance around support and safety planning. Please read and share this with your network so that we can help raise awareness and focus on prevention and early intervention.

We hope you manage to take a well earned break with loved ones over this seasonal period and we look forward to seeing you in 2024!

Best regards

Lucy Whittaker

Founding Director and Lead Trainer of Alpha Vesta CIC

J9 Domestic Abuse Initiative

The J9 Domestic Abuse Initiative is named in memory of Janine Mundy, who was killed by her estranged husband in 2003 while he was on Police bail. The initiative was started by her family and the local police in Cambourne, Cornwall, where she lived and aims to raise awareness of domestic abuse and assist victims to seek the help they so desperately need. She used to sign her text messages off with J9, hence the initiative’s namesake.

J9 Domestic Abuse Initiative

Alpha Vesta & J9 – 2024

Epping Forest District Council started the original J9 initiative in Essex back in 2013 and Alpha Vesta are delighted to confirm that we will be be taking over the reigns to provide continued development and delivery of J9 from January 2024 across Essex.

J9 training sessions and resources are intended to raise awareness and increase knowledge and understanding of domestic abuse in local communities, groups as well as retail and hospitality outlets. Anyone can access a free 1hr training session and free resources to embed across their organisation. Those that complete the training are invited to join a network of J9 Champions across Essex who will be meet quarterly to talk about their reach into the community, receive updates and connect with other J9 Champions.

Project Minerva

Following the murder of Sarah Everard back in 2021 as she walked home alone in London, Essex Police are working with partners across Southend, Thurrock, ECC, and ECFRS to deliver Project Minerva, which is an analytical tool that looks to identify areas where VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls) is more prevalent. As a result, the Home Office has funded work to analyse every neighbourhood in Essex with the aim to create a detailed map that highlights hotspot areas in the county where there is an increased risk to women’s safety.

Similar maps have been used across the country and give women and girls the opportunity to drop a pin on a particular area that they have felt unsafe and state why.

Although the primary audience is women and girls aged 13-years-old and over, the survey welcomes and encourages feedback from anyone who has experienced gender-based violence, abuse or harassment in the county, including men and non-binary people.

Minerva is the goddess of wisdom and the data collated from this project will go on to provide insight and information on where local, bespoke interventions can be focused.

Please use their interactive map to tell them where and why you are feeling safe or unsafe and what we can all do to make Essex a safer place for everyone. By having your say you will be highlighting key areas for discussion on how the area can be improved.

Use the interactive map to share where and why you are feeling safe or unsafe in Southend, Essex and Thurrock.

Add your email address to receive an update on the next steps when the survey has closed.
Your feedback will allow the project team to better understand concerns, perceptions and experiences, and focus their collective efforts to tackle women’s safety in public spaces.

Have your say by 28 January 2024 and share widely so that everyone has the opportunity to share their views – comment on the interactive map.

Operation Minerva: Community Events

As part of Project Minerva, Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) have teamed up to deliver a series of community events which will be held to provide valuable resources and support to the public.

These events will feature crime prevention advice, distribution of personal safety leaflets, and the provision of equipment such as personal attack alarms and drink spiking prevention tools. Additionally, free self-defence classes will be offered to interested community members.


When: Thursday 11 January 2024 at 10:30am to 12:30pm
Where: St Peter’s Church, Roydon, CM19 5EF


When: Monday 15 January 2024 at 12:30pm to 2:30pm
Where: Ongar High Street


When: Monday 22 January 2024 at 10:30am to 12:30pm
Where: Brickclamps Path, Debden Broadway

Alpha Vesta and Essex Police will also be attending to offer advice and support to attendees. Our focus will be on raising awareness of domestic abuse through our work with the J9 campaign.

Long-term Impact Feedback Survey

It is important for us to continue to develop robust training which is meaningful to people from a variety of different sectors and communities. We are very grateful to all of you that take the time to complete the short questionnaire that is shared after each of our sessions.

However, it is also important to us to understand the long lasting impact of our training and how this learning is being used within the workplace and community. Therefore, for those that have completed the training within the last 6 months please can we ask you to complete this short survey link:

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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