“I hadn’t heard of the change project. My sister told me about them and said I should give them a call.”

In the last year, Essex Police has partnered with The Change Project to break the cycle of domestic abuse by asking perpetrators to #Reflect on their behaviour and encourage them to self-refer to get help.

Mark, a young man from Essex did just that. He could see his anger was having an impact on his family and wanted to break the cycle.

This is his story.

“My sister, and probably looking back other people in my family, knew I needed help, but it took me ages to see it myself. My partner and I have been together since we were 17, we always argued but things got really bad after we had our son.

“I lost my job a little while before he was born and one by one things started to go wrong. Little things used to wind me up and I knew I didn’t want to be like that around my son.

“The police were called once because we were arguing. To be honest, it was a wake-up call.  I didn’t want things to get any worse because I wanted to be with my partner and be a good dad.

“I started to get back on my feet, I got a new job and things were better for a while. But pressure started to build up and we started arguing again.

“I had a look online and found The Change Project. I didn’t get in touch with them straight away but when I did, they said they might be able to help. They called me a couple of days later and asked if I would like to meet someone from the team. We met in a library near where I work, and they explained what they did.”

Through support, The Change Project aim to break the cycle of domestic abuse. By helping perpetrators to recognise their abusive behaviour and to prevent it in the future.

Not only does this make victims safer it means that some people never become victims. They help people to make real, lasting change.

Mark said: “They told me they would also speak to my partner and offer her support if she wanted. I was okay with this because we both just wanted things to get better and I thought this might help.

“I saw my worker every other week. In between sessions, they called me to check in and I knew I could call them if I needed to.

“My partner chose to get support as well. I don’t know what she talked about, but I know it helped for her to talk about what was going on between us.

“I did about 12 sessions, covering things like how to stop myself from getting wound up and what to do if I did. We talked about how I think about things and what a better approach might be. I learned ways to relax and let go, to focus on what’s important. I think this has helped me change the most.

“I’m not saying I’m perfect now but I’m dealing with things better than I was. Me and my partner are getting on better. We’re doing more things as a family, and I know I need to keep it up, so we can all have a future together.

“When I finished with the change hub, they told me I can come back to them if I need to. I was given a list of local services as well. I haven’t needed to contact them but it’s good to know I can if I need to.”

If you recognise any of the behaviour mentioned in this article and have been reflecting on your actions, it’s not too late to make a change.

Please visit www.thechange-project.org for advice on how to make a difference to you, your family, and your partners in the future.

Or call them on 0845 372 7701