“I went out for the first time in 18 years.”
How do I know this is the appropriate course?
The Freedom Programme is designed to empower women who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse to make positive choices about their own lives as well as the lives of their children through participating in group work.
We are not crisis intervention, counselling, advocacy or 1:1 support.
If the woman is at risk you do have to follow your organisation’s safeguarding procedure.
How can I encourage someone to come to the Freedom Programme?
Many women we have worked with do not initially recognise they are living with domestic abuse or recognise the extent of harm to them and their children. Often they minimise or deny their experiences. Therefore, sometimes describing their relationship as domestic abuse may close down any exploration of their situation.
You can phone us to discuss whether this is right course at the right time. We can help by talking to the woman you are working with.
We understand it is difficult to ask about abuse. We certainly don’t want to tell you how to do your job. However, if you need a bit of help below are some suggestions about how to start the conversation.
- Is everything alright at home
- Are there problems that you would like to talk about
- Are you getting support at home
- Has something happened that you want to talk about
More direct questions
- Many women live with partners who make them afraid/feel bad – is this an issue for you
- I’m not an expert about domestic abuse but I will listen
- Are you frightened at home. Are the children frightened
- If you have experienced domestic abuse, it might help to talk about it
And sometimes it is best just to ask straight out
- Are you being abused
Women have told us they generally are alright about being asked the above questions. Think about what is the worst that can happen if you ask.
- She will be offended or annoyed
- She may stop engaging with you for a while
- She will continue to live with domestic abuse if you don’t ask
Women in the groups have told us that they would like workers to know:
- That being asked lets them know that you are open to discuss domestic abuse and are willing to help (they may not accept immediately but they know you are there)
- Please don’t judge them, they want empathy and patience
- Something about domestic abuse or keen to learn
- Consulted them and reach joint decisions; not to do ‘things’ to them
- Believe them, not blame them or make them feel ashamed; have genuine interest in them
- Just listen and not treat them like ‘a hot potato’
How do I refer someone to Saje Scotland to join the Freedom Programme?
Support for you and your organisation
You can phone us anytime. Or we can come along and speak to your team about what we do and the difference the programmes can make to the women you work with.
We can provide a more formal training session outlining how the Freedom Programme will help women. Often a volunteer will come along and speak about their experience of abuse and how the programmes has changed their life.
The Fife Domestic and Sexual Abuse Partnership provides a comprehensive programme of training about gender violence
What you can do
Being open to the possibility of domestic abuse also means having posters, leaflets and group information around your place of work; anything that could make it easier for women to identify themselves. Please contact us for leaflets and posters.
In an emergency, always call the police on 999.
Become a Volunteer
Call us: 01592 786701