What is the Freedom Programme and how does it help women who have experienced domestic abuse?
The Freedom Programme is a course run by Julian House and other organisations for women who are in, or have experienced, an abusive relationship. The aim of the programme is to help women understand the beliefs held by abusive men, identify and challenge any shared beliefs and help women come to terms with the abuse they have experienced.
The programme also aims to illustrate the effects of domestic abuse on children and assist women in recognizing potential future abusers. It also aims to give women the power to leave an abusive relationship.
Of the history of the programme, Ella Tarlton, Casework Co-ordinator at Julian House, said: “The course was developed by Pat Craven who worked as a probation officer with male perpetrators of violence against women and children. After hundreds of conversations with perpetrators she learned that abusive men use the specific tactics to control women and realised this information needs to be shared with vulnerable women. She developed the Freedom Programme to help change, and even save women’s lives and wrote a book in 2008 called “Living with the Dominator” so that the information was accessible to people who could not partake in the programme.”
The course is 12 weeks long; each session is two hours long and is currently run online due to the pandemic. It’s open to any woman aged 16 and above.
Ella added: “We have been running the Freedom Programme for over five years and each course can have up to 17 women attending, meaning that over the years we have supported hundreds of women. We can provide advice (although we never tell women to leave a relationship) and refer them to other agencies, legal aid etc.
The course teaches that knowledge is power, and our aim is to give women “Freedom Goggles”, so they can understand abusive tactics and choose healthier relationships. We also help women come to terms with the abuse they have experienced. It can be very therapeutic to talk through your past with those who have similar experiences; it is validating to hear that you are not alone in what you have suffered.”
You can listen to Ella discuss here the importance of our Domestic Abuse Services on Radio Bath.
You can read a case study of one of them women who attended our Freedom Programme here.
For more information on the programme, visit Freedom Programme and if you are interested in accessing the programme, please get in touch.