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Cheque received from Weston Favell Village Show

Thank you so much to everyone involved in the Annual Weston Favell Village Show this year. They raised a fantastic

£750 for Eve, with many prize winners on the day donating their financial winnings to us. We are very grateful for these funds and very much appreciate all the hard work that went into raising them for us. We will use this money to provide educational, therapeutic and wellbeing activities for service users attending our Restored Programme.

If you would like to invest in our work to Transform Lives Affected by Domestic Abuse, please click on the Donate Tab and follow the links.


Afternoon Tea


Prepared, ready and waiting!


The cherry on the cake!

A massive THANK YOU to Broadmead Church for the wonderful tea they provided for our families last Thursday.

We have had a lot of positive feedback, included comments as follows:

“Really had a wonderful time, thank you”

Our staff felt that a wonderful atmosphere was created and the food provided was lovely and really appreciated. Our clients really enjoyed tea being served in cups and saucers as it was ‘a posh treat’ and they loved it. They also appreciated the individual bunches of flowers which were given to every woman to take away.

Amelia’s Story: A real-life story of coercive control and domestic abuse

Perhaps my story will surprise you…  I didn’t live with the man that abused me, I wasn’t subjected to regular physical abuse and I never went into refuge.  I continued to work and many people that know me never knew what I was going through.

I was 22 years old and my daughter was 5.  I had not been in a relationship since she was born and I was lonely.  He showed me what I thought was genuine interest, he was kind, he said that he understood why I still felt vulnerable and that he wanted to be in my life.

Now that I look back I can see that it was never a ‘normal’ relationship.  He was always in control and he expected me to be grateful and appreciative for everything he did for me, but there was always an ulterior motive.  On our first date he stormed off because he said that I hadn’t spoken to him enough.  I assured him that I had just felt a little shy, that I wanted to talk more and get to know each other.

Everything past that point seems to blur into a huge, overwhelming mess of confusion.  There was no clear point that I could put my finger on, to say there, then, that was when I should have walked.  Things just built up, steadily escalating over the weeks, months and years.  I made excuses for him when he didn’t want to do things that I suggested, didn’t want to see my friends or wouldn’t listen to what I had to say.  I forgave him when he called me names, put me down and caused arguments.  He would blow up so quickly, one minute everything was fine, the next he was angry, questioning me about everything; why was I late home from work?  Why was I wearing that dress?  Why did I want to meet a friend?  Why, why, why!  He criticised me constantly about everything, for wearing high heels – he didn’t like the noise they made, for the way that I did the shopping – it wasn’t efficient, for talking to my friends – I was obviously talking about him, for not calling him enough, for calling him too much.  The list goes on and on and on.

He would flare up over something that had just happened or had happened two weeks ago.  I couldn’t predict what would upset him or why.  I tried to understand why he was angry but he would add more and more issues, working himself up into a real rage.  They were always such small, insignificant things, just picking away at every bit of me.  I would try to respond, but if he felt that I had interrupted him, he would be furious.

He made me put my hand up if I wanted to speak.  When I did say anything he said that I thought I was always right. He called me names, disgusting names.  He wouldn’t let me sleep, calling or coming back all night.

One of the biggest messages I want to convey is how he controlled my mind.  How he managed to change my actions and reactions to things.  My behaviour and whole demeanour changed.  When I look back I don’t recognise the person I had become at all, he conditioned me to behave in the way that he wanted.  I now know that this was ‘Coercive Control’ and it is the very heart of domestic abuse.

I thought that I could manage him, manage to keep things calm by staying one step ahead so he wouldn’t get angry. He controlled me so much that I began to make the choices for him, not to see my friends, to make sure I was never late home from work, never to make plans with friends or family.  I made myself available to him 24/7; I was at his disposal.  I was walking on egg shells.

As I said he didn’t hurt me physically but that wasn’t a good thing.  He didn’t need to hit or beat me, he had control over me by shouting, intimidating, pushing his finger in my face and threatening me.  He would smash household objects close to me or raise his fist and then drop it, laughing as I flinched or cowered.

I learned that I could’t make a phone call in the evening because I would be in trouble if he tried to call and couldn’t get through.  I learned that if I called him after he had finished work and he didn’t answer, it was because he was on his way – and the panic would set in!  I would rush round the house, panicking that it wasn’t tidy or clean enough.  I couldn’t go to bed or simply not answer the door because that would be being ‘rude’ to him, something that was completely unacceptable.

The sexual abuse is the hardest part for me to think or talk about but I know that I shouldn’t carry the feeling of shame.  He raped me.  Yes, we were in a relationship but No means No – even when a person can’t actually say no through fear, because they have frozen, because they are terrified.

I did my very best to cope, to be strong, to fulfil my roles of mother, daughter, friend and colleague but this left me even more drained and my feelings of isolation intensified.

My daughter was a huge concern for me.  I spent so much time telling her to be a good girl, making sure that she only ever asked me for things and never him so that he wouldn’t get angry with her.  I could never tell how he was going to behave towards her, sometimes bring her treats and others blaming her for everything.

People ask me why I didn’t end the relationship.  Simple, because I couldn’t.  He would tell me in great detail what he would do if I ever left him.  He told me that I was nothing without him.  He told me I needed him to function, to tell me what to do.  He criticised everything I did and said until I believed him.  I believed I was a bad mother, that no-one else would put up with me and my bad habits.  I felt totally powerless.  There was never any respite.  I stood for absolutely nothing and he had worn me down so much that I really did feel like nothing, so small and insignificant, completely hopeless.

Then I found out I was pregnant.  My initial reaction was fear, I felt total and utter despair.  I did not want this baby with him but I couldn’t contemplate a termination either.  I remember crying my eyes out when I felt my baby move for the first time.  I didn’t want to share this pregnancy with him at all.  I was spending all my time crying for my baby, knowing that I would spend my days trying to protect him and keep him safe.  I questioned myself continually, had I made the right decision to keep him?  What would his life be like?  How could I keep him safe when I couldn’t keep myself safe?

He didn’t want me to have the baby but when I did he used him to control me even more.  He would turn up at any time of night and set rules which I was not allowed to break.  For example; I couldn’t have friends to visit, if people did visit me they were not allowed to touch the baby – that included my daughter.

I went from being someone who prided herself on being a strong, capable person, managing work, university, taking care of my daughter, being there for my friends and dealing with my past – to being someone who couldn’t leave the house.  I was signed off work and would sit on the sofa all day doing absolutely nothing.  It was totally soul-destroying.  I kept telling myself, ‘get up, go and make a cup of tea, pull yourself together’ but I just couldn’t.

I finally got help from my doctor.  My family and friends, who never gave up on me and could see what I couldn’t, helped me too.  They put me in touch with Eve, professionals who understood and helped me to break free and stay free.  Eve supported me with group work, 1:1 support and advocacy with my solicitor and court case.

The court battles around child contact are still ongoing and are still vicious, designed to drag me back down and re-instate his control.  But with help I’m still standing!  I have completed my degree and have set up my own business as well as caring for my two wonderful children.

It is hard to see the consequences of the abusive relationship on my children, but I am determined to ensure that they grow up to know what healthy relationships look like.  I am also determined to move on from what was a dark time in my life and build healthy relationships that are an example to my children.


If you recognise your relationship in Amelia’s story you can get help by calling 01604 230311 or any of the other useful numbers on our Need our Help? page.

Intrepid pair raise funds for eve

Sally-Ann and Graham have been at it again, raising funds for eve that is.  This time the couple climbed over the O2 Arena; a massive 52 metres at it’s highest point.  Up at The O2 is an exhilarating 90 minute experience that takes climbers on a guided expedition over the roof of The O2 via a fabric walkway.  Sally-Ann and Graham were suspended 2m above the surface of The O2 roof, the walkway is 380m long.  At its steepest point the walkway has an incline of 28° on the way up and 30° on the way back down and has a slight bounce to it to mirror the surface of the tent, Sally-Ann said it was like being on a trampoline.  Sally-Ann really loved the experience, especially the spectacular views at the summit, where there is an observation platform.

Sally-Ann and Graham have persuaded colleagues, friends and family to sponsor their adventure.  It’s not too late to sponsor them, just click on the link and follow the instructions.




Going Over the Edge – Abseiling Fundraiser


The thought of going over the edge of Britain’s tallest lift tower standing at 400ft, on the 1st August 2015, won’t stop Sally-Ann who is determined to abseil down the structure in St. James’ square, Northampton in aid of EVE (formerly known as Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge).

Eve exists to help women and families caught up in domestic violence and abuse. Domestic abuse is still an issue in 21st Century Britain, and we are here to help. From raising awareness of domestic abuse and how to spot it, to running a women’s and family refuge in Northamptonshire or training professionals to work with victims and survivors, we are a multifaceted organisation determined to make a difference in the lives of thousands of women.

Sally-Ann, hopes that in taking on this challenge, with the support of her colleagues, friends and family, she will gain the sense of achievement that comes with doing something new and this great. More importantly, she hopes to raise valuable funds for the life changing work at Eve.

Another one of the participants, Stefanie, said, “I am participating as I think it will raise much needed money for a very worthy local cause, I don’t believe we can do enough to help a charity like yours. I bumped into your CEO at a networking breakfast a few weeks ago where she mentioned the event and I was inspired to sign up and take part.”

“For me this will be an exhilarating experience something my family will enjoy supporting me do. I am aiming to achieve £500 in sponsorship and will load my online giving site in the next couple of days.”

To support both Sally-Ann and Stefanie’s challenge, please visit and click ‘donate’ next to their names.

Further Information:

Eve’s abseiling event will be on the 1st of August 2015 at the National Lift Tower, Tower Square, Northampton NN5 5FH. We will also be running a family fun day in conjunction with the abseiling for supporting families and anyone else who would like to be part of a fun filled summer afternoon.

‘Thank You’ to our volunteers.

It’s National Volunteers Week and a great opportunity to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to all the amazing people who volunteer for Eve. Our volunteers do incredible things such as supporting in our Creche, maintenance, driving, supporting our events, supporting service users to take part in our activities, leading activities, admin and much, much more. We also have many volunteers across the county who collect donations of goods and bring them to us. So thank you all for all you do, we appreciate it.

We are seeking more volunteers to join our merry band, and are currently advertising for Trustees, Mentors, Befrienders and people who could help in our Charity and Vintage shops – there are lots of opportunities here, from sorting donations to on-line selling and even supervising. So if you have great interpersonal skills and are looking for something interesting to do with a great bunch of people for something that really matters, get in touch!

Why EVE?

On Friday 15th May, 2015 Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge became Eve, but, “Why?” I hear you ask.  Christine Morgan, CEO explains more.

In the 8 months I have been CEO of Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge, I have learned so much about the effects of domestic violence and abuse on individuals and society. One thing I have learned is that domestic abuse is dynamic, it evolves, develops and progresses, and therefore our approach to it must be dynamic too, we must evolve, develop and progress our services and our responses to domestic violence and abuse to be able to meet its challenges and the needs of victims and survivors.

Part of our evolving is the Launch of Eve – Rebranding Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge.  We have been listening. Listening to people who tell us that the name Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge is cumbersome, confusing and does not say what we do. A few months ago I came into contact with a number of marketing and branding professionals who said they would work with us to help us rebrand. So, never an organisation to look a gift horse in the mouth, we came to the decision that ‘now’ is time to revitalise our image and brand. And so we are launching our new name, mission and brand. From now onwards we will be known as Eve, and will be known for Transforming Lives Affected by Domestic Abuse. Eve will be our working name; our legal name will continue to be Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge.

But why Eve?  Eve was the first woman. She was created by God out of Adam’s rib, next to his heart to be protected by him. She was created equal to Adam. Eve was the first daughter of the living God, she was the first wife and the first mother, and hers was the first family on earth.

Eve is ‘every woman’ and in fact, every human. Eve’s DNA exists in a direct, unbroken, maternal line, of all currently living humans, This is the most recent woman from whom all living humans today descend, in an unbroken line, on their mother’s side, and through the mothers of those mothers, and so on, back until all lines converge on one person.

The name Eve means ‘To breathe life’. As an organisation we want to breathe new life into lives affected by domestic abuse, so transforming those lives by engaging them in educational and therapeutic activities and interventions, helping survivors and their families to regain hope and develop the resilience and transformative skills they need to maintain their freedom and security.

It is our belief that ‘Transforming lives affected by domestic abuse’ requires us to:
• Enable and empower women and children to recognise and understand what abuse is and how they can choose to live lives free from abuse.
• Enable women to recognise and understand the effects of domestic violence and abuse on them and on their children.
• Raise awareness of domestic violence and abuse in the wider community – to open the eyes of family, friends, neighbours and colleagues to what might be happening behind closed doors.
• Raise awareness of the different cultural ways that women and girls are abused so that this too can be stopped and communities can be re-educated as to the real value of women in society.

So what about men?
While Eve’s primary services are to work with and for women and children who are survivors of domestic violence and abuse, Eve wants to and will work with men in the near future. Eve believes in family and therefore we believe in men. We are not anti-men and we want the women we work with to understand that they can achieve healthy relationships with loving, caring and supportive men if that is what they want.


Now, I wake up every morning looking forward to the day….

Northamptonshire mother tells how refuge rescued her from a ‘cage of mental torture’ as husband abused their children

A mother of two has said she will “never forget” the support of a Northamptonshire family refuge that helped her to escape the “mental torture” of her marriage and her husband’s abuse of her children.

The woman, who the Chron has not named, shared her story and told how Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge gave her the support she needed to get a divorce and start her own business.

The refuge will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this weekend with a special service of thanksgiving and the launch of its new brand name.

The woman said: “I come from a Christian family and it wasn’t acceptable for me to separate from my husband, and everyone thought I was the bad person.
“At first he seemed nice and caring, but then I realised how controlling he was. He didn’t want me to go to work or university, he took complete control of all finances and demanded to know what I was doing at all times. I had no voice and could not make any decisions.”

She left her home and work with her husband, two children and step-child in the late 1990s, to move to Northampton, where she had few relatives and friends.

“Because of the money he paid my family for us to be married, he felt he owned me,” she said, “and it got worse because I didn’t have my mother there to talk to and support me.”

She explained how her husband forced her to quit her job and would check every day where she spent money and who she spoke to. When she tried to find work again, he blackmailed her by abusing their own children.

“He knew that hurting the children would hurt me, so he became violent towards them to make me behave myself,” she said. “For me it was mental torture, because I couldn’t explain it to anyone. I moved in with my sister but he manipulated my family against me.”

She came across the Nene Valley refuge three years ago while searching online in desperation for somewhere to take her children away from her husband.

“I had no-one else to turn to. When I spoke to them it was the first time anyone had ever believed in me – I couldn’t believe that someone was listening.”

Staff at the refuge arranged for temporary accommodation for her and her children in Wellingborough until there was space for them to be moved into the refuge. They offered her training, courses in finding freedom, and the legal advice which helped her settle a divorce, as well providing counselling for her children.

She has now moved into her own home, has started her own business, and works on-call for the refuge, answering the phone to women, like her, trying to escape abusive homes. She has also started a new relationship with someone who, she says, is supportive and treats her as an equal.

“The whole process helps you get away, regain confidence to build your own life, then to keep that confidence and avoid the same patterns happening again – it’s a full package. They don’t send you into the world until you can say yourself that you are ready, and even then you are always welcome back.

“I will never forget what they did for me,” she said. “There is something in their faces as if God has spoken to them, assuring you that everything will be okay. To meet other women who had been through something similar was eye-opening.

“Now I wake up every morning looking forward to the day. I’m free, and I’m not worried about anything. But without Nene Valley, I would still be locked in that cage.

“I wish the Government could realise how much places like these mean to many women and children and how, without them, the world would be a cruel place to live in. We need to stand together to get people out of these situations or they will just carry on.

“If just one person who is suffering in silence reads this and it encourages them to look for help, then it’s worth it.”

The refuge’s thanksgiving service will take place tomorrow, Friday, from 7.30pm at Abington Avenue United Reformed Church in Northampton, where past service users and staff will speak about the importance of work achieved over the last 30 years.

Earlier in the year, the refuge, which works in conjunction with Northampton Women’s Aid, benefitted from a share of £10 million extra funding supplied by the Government for women’s refuges, but no further support is guaranteed after March 2016.

By Francesca Gosling published 07:30 Wednesday 13th May 2015