About Changing Pathways and Domestic Abuse
We provide free and confidential services for people who are currently experiencing, or have previously experienced domestic abuse and other forms of inter-personal violence including stalking, harassment, ‘honour-based’ abuse and forced marriage. We focus on listening to survivors and together decide the support required to enable them to take their first step on a pathway to rebuilding their lives.
Working across the areas of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Epping Forest, Harlow, Rochford and Thurrock, we provide a range of accessible services, helping those affected by domestic abuse to be safer:
Safe, temporary refuge accommodation for women and their children.
Outreach support for individuals experiencing domestic abuse living in the local community.
IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) for high-risk individuals experiencing domestic abuse living in the local community.
Dedicated support and advocacy for individuals experiencing stalking and harassment.
Parenting education and one to one support for Thurrock residents.
Specialist support for survivors from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities experiencing ‘honour-based abuse and forced marriage or who have no recourse to public funds.
Individual and group counselling and therapy to help survivors recover from trauma.
Play therapy and counselling for children who have experienced domestic abuse in their home environment.
Support and advocacy for hospital patients who are experiencing domestic abuse.
Do you feel unsafe?
Domestic abuse impacts on all communities. If you are suffering from physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and/or financial/economic abuse, or are being threatened, intimidated or stalked by a current or previous partner or close family member, you could be a survivor of domestic abuse.
You may be feeling frightened, isolated, ashamed and confused. If you have children, you may be concerned about how the domestic abuse is impacting upon them too.
You do not have to face this situation on your own. Changing Pathways will support you through your decision to reclaim your right to a safe, happy and abuse free life. You will not be judged in any way and we will ensure that we only ever move at the pace you want to go. Please get in touch if you think we can help you.
Our Helpline: 24hr helpline 0330 333 7 444 or call 999. You can also come into school and speak to Mrs Westrop.
If someone deliberately hurts or injures you or another person, it’s physical abuse. You might be told that it’s your fault, or that they’re punishing you. But nothing makes it okay for someone to hurt you. Abuse is never your fault.
Physical abuse is when someone is hurting you. This could be hurting you with their hands, their feet, or an object. Some examples of physical abuse are:
- hitting, smacking and slapping
- punching and kicking
- pinching, scratching and biting
- shaking or suffocating you
- scalding or burning you
- hair pulling
- spitting or throwing things at you
- making you swallow something that hurts or makes you feel ill, including giving you medicine when you're not ill or don't need it.
5 things to remember:
- no matter what the reason, physical abuse is always wrong
- being abused is not your fault
- it might feel like telling someone could make it worse, but getting help can keep you safe
- physical abuse can make you feel powerless. Being hurt is never your fault and the adults at school are always here to help
- if you’re in immediate danger, you can call the police on 999 and they will come to help you.
Always being put down? Ignored? Or made to feel bad about yourself?
Emotional abuse is never your fault and it’s not ok. If this is happening to you, you can talk to any adult at school.
Whether it’s words, constant criticism, or even a silence, if you hear it often enough you might start to believe it. This is emotional abuse. If it’s happening to you, don’t ignore it.
Emotional abuse includes when someone:
- calls you names
- keeps shouting at you, even if you haven't done anything wrong
- puts you down
- ignores you or leaves you out of things
- says or does things that make you feel bad about yourself
- makes you feel like you don’t belong
- makes you take responsibility for things you shouldn’t have to do until you’re older
- tries to control you or put pressure on you to do things you’re not ready to do
- treats you differently from your brothers or sisters
- puts you in dangerous situations
- is aggressive and violent to other people in your family and you keep seeing it
- stops you from having friends.
There are lots of different reasons why a person might abuse you emotionally.
They might be taking their own stress out on you. Or they might feel a need to control other people, especially if they’re struggling to control their own life.
Only the person doing this would know why they're behaving in this way. But whatever their reasons, it’s not okay. And it's not your fault.
Every child and young person has the right to be looked after properly. If you’re not getting the important things you need at home, you could be being neglected.
WHAT NEGLECT MEANS
There’s a difference between things we want and things we need. Some people might want a new games console. Or a new phone.
But these aren’t things you need. You need things like enough to eat and drink. And protection from danger. And clean clothes. Your parents or carers should make sure you have these things.
You also shouldn't have to spend a lot of time looking after other people in your family without getting any support from an adult.
Every young person needs:
- clothes that are clean and warm and shoes that fit and keep you dry
- enough to eat and drink
- protection from dangerous situations
- somewhere warm, dry and comfortable to sleep
- help when you're ill or you've been hurt
- love and care from your parents or carers
- support with your education
- access and help with medication if needed.
HOW CAN I TELL IF SOMEONE I KNOW IS BEING NEGLECTED?
If you think a friend is being neglected, there are things you can do to help them. But it’s not always clear if someone’s experiencing neglect or not.
If you’re worried about someone, you could see if you notice any of these things:
- they seem like they haven’t washed, are dirty or smelly, or their clothes seem dirty
- they are hungry or asking for other people’s food
- they often come to school with no lunch money or packed lunch
- their parents don’t seem to know where they are or what they are doing
- they often don’t turn up for school, or they often arrive late
- they don’t seem to have many friends
- they get sent to school even when they are really unwell
It can be hard to decide how to support your friend if you notice any of these things. Maybe you could start by talking to an adult that you trust. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your friend about it you can always talk to Mrs Westrop or contact Childline.
County lines is not a new thing. You may have heard about it on the news or in TV shows like Hollyoaks. But beyond the headlines and scripts, it's a stark reality for many young people. Here we unpack the truth about county lines and how we work to restore the hopes of children being forced to carry drugs across the country.
What does county lines mean?
County lines is a form of criminal exploitation. It is when criminals befriend children, either online of offline, and then manipulate them into drug dealing. The 'lines' refer to mobile phones that are used to control a young person who is delivering drugs, often to towns outside their home county.
Here are some things you might not know about county lines exploitation:
Children as young as seven are targeted
Young people aged 14-17 are most likely to be targeted by criminal groups but there are reports of seven year olds being groomed into county lines.
Primary school children are seen as easy targets because they're less likely to get caught. The grooming might start with them being asked to 'keep watch' but it soon escalates to them being forced to stash weapons, money, or become drug couriers.
County lines is everywhere. Just because county lines may not get the coverage of other societal issues, it doesn’t mean it’s a small problem. In fact, most police forces across the country have reported county lines activity in their area and they say the violence is getting worse. It’s not just a ‘big city’ problem’. County lines is far reaching, with many smaller towns being affected.
Children are taught about County Lines, Drugs and Gangs as part of our PSHE curriculum in an age-appropriate manner.
Children should not go out alone until they are old enough to know the Green Cross Code and use it properly. The age is different for all children but it is generally not before they are eight years old.
To follow the code, they must:
- find a safe place to cross
- stand on the pavement near the kerb
- look all round for traffic and listen
- if traffic is coming – let it pass then look all round again
when there is no traffic near, walk straight across the road
- keep looking and listening for traffic while crossing
When walking along the road
Walking is healthier than going by car. But your child can't always see what you can see and drivers can't always see your child, where they can see you. You could teach your child to:
- always walk on the pavement or path if there is one - never stray on to the road
- walk as far away from the kerb as possible
- walk in single file on the right side of the road facing the traffic if there's no pavement
- When you are out and about
- Always be sure to:
- explain road safety rules
- use the Green Cross Code
- talk about what's going on in the street
- encourage your child to talk about what they see on the roads and whether it's safe or not
- let your child make decisions with you, so that they learn through activity
- help your child plan the safest route whenever they are going somewhere
Home is a human right. It's our foundation and it's where we thrive. Yet, everyday millions of people are being devastated by the housing emergency.
SHELTER exist to defend the right to a safe home. Because home is everything.
Got a housing problem? SHELTER can help:
Our advice and support services offer one-to-one, personalised help with housing issues and homelessness.
On our website, find expert information about everything from reclaiming your deposit to applying as homeless, or speak to an adviser over webchat.
Over the phone
Our free emergency helpline is open 365 days a year to answer calls from anyone struggling with a housing issue or homelessness.
Our solicitors provide free legal advice and attend court to help people who’ve lost their homes or are facing eviction.
https://england.shelter.org.uk/ or speak to Mrs Westrop for further information.
Key internet safety issues
The internet is a fantastic place for children to learn, create and have fun, but they may occasionally have to deal with a variety of sometimes challenging issues.
These might include cyberbullying, the pressure to take part in sexting, encouragement to self-harm, viewing pornography, along with various others. But there are positive things you can do to equip yourself and your child, support them in resolving any issue they may face.
Internet Matters have created a number of advice hubs to help you learn more and deal with these issues with your child.
Equip yourself and your child online
In each advice hub you’ll find specific information about the issue, tips on how to talk about the issue with your child, recommended expert resources, and practical advice on the positive actions you can take.
Leaving your Child Home Alone
The law does not say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.
Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone, for example at home or in a car.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says:
- children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
- children under 16 should not be left alone overnight
- babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.
Learning to be independent is an important part of growing up. Between work, appointments and other family commitments – every parent will have to leave their child home alone at some point so it’s good to have a plan in place. Every child is different so build up their independence at their pace – and check in with them to make sure they feel safe.
The NSPCC website has useful information on how to check if your child is ready to be left home alone.
National Online Safety Mobile App
It's time to get #OnlineSafetySavvy.
Children are spending more time than ever online. As adults, we need to do everything we can to keep them safe in the digital world. But with new apps, games and platforms emerging every day, how can you stay in the know?
Say hello to the new National Online Safety mobile application. Created by experts, developed by us.
With all online safety knowledge available at your fingertips, the NOS app empowers parents and
teachers to understand and address online safeguarding risks – any time, anywhere.
The world’s most comprehensive online safety app, it’s packed with insightful courses, explainer
videos, webinars and guides on topics that will help you protect the kids you care about
when they’re online.
Free school meals
Every child in reception, year 1 or year 2 at school is automatically offered free school meals, without parents or carers having to apply.
If your child attends a state-funded school and you receive any of the benefits listed below, you can apply for them to get free school meals up to year 11. You don't have to apply up to year 2 but, if you do, you child's school will receive extra government funding.
Who is eligible
Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you receive either:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit – provided you're not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190
- Universal Credit – provided your total net earnings are no more than £616.67 each month
- the guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Your child must be attending a state-funded school in the Thurrock area. If your child attends a school outside of Thurrock, you must apply to the council for the area in which they attend school.
You may also be able to claim free school meals for your child if you have 'no recourse to public funds' – for example, if you cannot claim benefits.
If you would like further information or support with applying, please contact Mrs Strange in the school office or Mrs Westrop.