Chairman's Column - 15 February 2021
Published on Monday, 15th February 2021
What is the J9 Initiative?
"I want to touch upon the difficult subject of Domestic Abuse which consists of ‘Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members.
"This sadly seems to be in the news at the moment, so I will start by telling you that all contractors wishing to do business with Maldon District Council, all volunteers, community groups or persons providing services for MDC must agree to comply with our Safeguarding Policy and have appropriate child protection and vulnerable adult policies in place.
"Recently training was offered to Councillors so with the Deputy Leader, Cllr Nunn, I attended one of the virtual training sessions where we were told about an initiative called ‘J9’. Named in memory of Janine Mundy, who was killed in Cornwall in 2003 by her estranged husband whilst he was on police bail, the J9 project involves businesses and offices displaying stickers in their windows to act as an indicator to victims that staff members are trained, and it is a safe space. Janine used to sign her text messages J9 (Ja-nine) hence the name of this initiative.
"As part of this initiative, staff from, Maldon District Council, One Support, Moat Housing, Citizens Advice Bureau, Job Centre Plus and Open Road have been trained to become contact points for those suffering domestic abuse. Victims can then speak to someone, who will put them in touch with professional help at Safer Places, a local domestic abuse charity.
"A phrase used by the trainer during the session really stuck with me when she spoke of victims living in ‘a world of everyday terror’ and I felt I had to do something to further raise awareness of this ‘taboo”’ subject. In March 2020 This was brought more into the open for discussion by Camilla - Duchess of Cornwall. She said “I find it almost impossible to think that any friend of mine might be living under that horrific threat, without my knowing it, but that is the power of coercive control and violence in the home.
"I totally agree because this behaviour is characterised by silence – silence from those that suffer – silence from those around them, and silence from those who perpetrate abuse. This silence is corrosive; it leaves women, children and men carrying the burden of shame. It prevents them from speaking out about the abuse and it prevents them from getting help. And at its worst it can be fatal.
Cllr Mark S Heard
Chairman of Maldon District Council