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Friday, 8 May 2015



Very Helpful and thought provoking
Makes you question yourself and address things you may have done
Only a 2 day course but very intense and helpful
I will go from here still thinking and reverting back to things we have discussed and dealt with
This was only two days but could potentially last a lifetime in a positive way

I found the course to be helpful in understanding better my abusive behaviour and the mechanics of it.  The facilitator was helpful, non- judgemental and precise.
I believe the course should be made more widely available as domestic abuse seems to be more in the public eye.  Better to work this way working with the cause and not the end result is clearly the way forward. Thanks for your help and showing me I can improve my behaviour.

I really found this programme helpful. It has certainly opened my eyes about my abusive behaviour. Everyone was open about all issues of abusive behaviour. I know in my own mind I will not be an abuser again. Thanks to everyone involved in the programme.

I was a woman on the course, I attended with my partner. The course has helped to reinforce the lessons he has learned and the changes he has made to his beliefs and behaviour.  Chris was very good at helping the men challenge their beliefs. Course was emotional but helpful.  Raises lots of questions.

'You sent him back a changed man. He apologised to our teenage daughter!' Feedback from a female partner

I have got a lot out of this course, seeing things I do to my partner without noticing it myself. I leave this course knowing a lot more about why I do things and seeing myself in the characters involved.

I found the course revealing mostly concerning my behaviour and understanding it.  I feel I have now taken responsibility for the changes I need to make in order to move on.

I am under no illusion that it will be an ongoing process for the rest of my life.  The skill and non-judgemental attitude of Chris Ashton’s conduct of the course was all inspiring for me to embrace the change needed and to truly respect and love my wife unconditionally.

So glad we attended the Freedom course together, has definitely been good for my husband to see everything through my eyes and put himself into my place in all the awful situations that we have been through. I know it has given him an understanding as to why he behaves in such a way and made him take a deeper look into the person he is without using excuses for his behaviour.
I can only thank you for organising a joint group session for us and believe it has enlightened our relationship to make the changes and improvements necessary for a better life together.

The programme is such an ideal realisation of how responsible I have been for the whole way my family has functioned. It is hard to believe. I now accept more responsibility than I did before the course.  I have taken so much away with me.

I thought the course hit home with a lot of stuff that I had been though in my relationship
Everybody knew it was toxic but me. This course has made me realise there were a lot of things wrong Chris broke it all down so that I could understand how wrong I had been. Thanks Chris

Great opportunity to understand my own behaviour and start improving my family life.

Look forward to seeing if the information gained has an effect on my husband and my home life.  Just after the first day, the relationship felt more positive

Helped me to put all my hurt and confused thoughts and feelings into some sort of structure.  Has armed me with information to assess my partners behaviour and make decisions to improve my future.
Meeting other women in similar situations helped me clarify my thoughts too, and to know that I wasn’t imagining things and that domestic abuse, even if non-violent is unacceptable.

Chris (and her team if you call the helpline) are great. Passionate and dedicated. The course can be really hard going – emotionally and very thought provoking, disturbing even.

Advise for anyone looking to do the course- do the coursework to get full benefit. Take your time and di it bit by bit. It’s tough at times, but do it and think about it. Remember there is an answer and you can hope but you have to be open and honest. It’s totally transformed my perspective on and understanding of abuse.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

HACT (Housing Association Charity Trust) result: £158,762 .00 savings

                                                                                                                                                                       Domestic Abuse Intervention Training
Freedom Evaluation Jan 2015 to March 2015

(Freedom is a rolling programme not every client attends every session/completes an evaluation)
24 clients supported

HACT (Housing Association Charity Trust) result:  £158,762
The above figure is calculated using the HACT algorithm which measures the social impact in monetary terms for the amount of community investment. We estimate that the two Programmes have made budgetary savings for statuary agencies of £158,762; this figure is an under estimate due to the lack of detailed and specific feedback appropriate to use with the value calculator. We have now altered our feedback forms to reflect the exacting surveys that HACT use to more accurately predict our savings in the future. 

Please circle which words best describe what you thought of the training:
Eye opening 12  Exciting 1  Enjoyable 7  Fantastic 1  Fun 2  Thought provoking 6  Factual 4  Interesting 7  Quality 1
Professional 8   Excellent 3   Useful 8   Just what I needed 7   Worthwhile 7  Brilliant 2   well done 1  Relevant 5
Safe and friendly 1

(Words not circled – Depressing, inappropriate, poor, boring, different, awful, waste of time, great, okay.)

Were the facilitators: (Jo & Pauline Freedom Dorchester/ Pauline & Volunteer Weymouth)
Positive in their attitude?
·       Yes x 14
·       It’s a really positive environment and everyone had a positive attitude
·       Both Jo and Pauline were always very positive
·       Jo and Pauline put me at ease and brought me out of my shell being so fun assuring and warm
·       Yes they were the best
·       They were brilliant and made it real fun even though it is a horrible subject
·        Pauline is a very special lady the work she does for DAIT is amazing
·       Yes their positive attitudes gave me a more positive attitude and more confidence
·       Promoted positive dialogue
·       Genuine supportive pair without these 2 amazing women I wouldn’t be sitting here today
·       Yes very good
·       Very helpful and supportive

·       I have received a lot of support from both and they made me feel very welcome

·       Yes x 14
·       Very x 2
·       Very knowledgeable
·       I’ve never doubted for a moment the wealth and knowledge Jo and Pauline have and it shone so clearly
·       They always know what you’re trying to say and they understand you
·       Excellent knowledge and clearly put across to the group and myself
·       Information given, talked and discussed giving us everything we needed to know
·       It was evident that there was a lot of experience and knowledge behind advice
·       Yes very thought provoking
·       Yes Pauline knows a lot and makes you see things you couldn’t
·       helpful

·       Yes x 14
·       Always felt able to talk about things brought up during the session in a non-judgemental environment
·       Both Jo and Pauline are warm, caring, open and kind, they listen, support and advise and are a huge comfort to know
·       Always made me feel welcome
·       Found it easy to speak to them about anything
·       I felt like I could easily approach Jo and Pauline
·       Have been quite at ease to discuss any issue I had some weeks that have been difficult and I am very grateful to them both
·       Definitely can talk or ask anything always get clear and positive answers/information
·       Pauline and Jewels both have a very kind demeanour that you can talk about anything
·       Were kind and interested in each person
·       Always! Completely genuinely approachable
·       Very approachable I have personally spoke to Pauline and Jewels on many occasions
·       Very discreet and in confidence

Clear in delivery
·       Yes x 14
·       Good structure, knew what was coming next
·       All the information is clear and easy to understand with plenty of discussion to cement new information
·       Very clear
·       Everything I learnt was clear
·       Everything was clearly explained and talked through thoroughly
·       Yes very clear it gets imbedded in my head and I see things clearer now
·       Very clear and easy to follow each week
·       Consistent
·       Both brilliant

What did you think of the location and facilities?
·       Excellent
·       Good
·       Perfectly suited not daunting to enter the first time
·       Good and pushchair accessible was a bonus
·       Brilliant
·       Great
·       No comment
·       Great easy to get to
·       It’s calm relaxed environment
·       Fine and convenient for me – could of done with parking
·       Loved the place and facilities always good to have biscuits
·       Comfortable and welcoming
·       Very good

What was the most useful thing you learnt and why?
·       The tactics of an abuser – I will use these to stop me from forming relationships with abusive people
·       Allowed me to realise it wasn’t my fault
·       Characteristics of the different personas and early warning signs
·       Understanding I’m not alone
·       That people have their own reasons and motivations for what they say and do and nothing I did caused what happened and I didn’t deserve it
·       What domestic abuse is about, it’s power and control which I never saw before Freedom - I don’t have to put up with it
·       Everything I learnt was useful because I now know how to read the signs of the dominator
·       How to deal with things
·       To understand the signs
·       Learnt that what I thought was normal wasn’t and now seeing early signs of abuse in men and family
·       How to spot and determine right and wrong in a relationship
·       The signs (early) of the abuser and giving me more confidence
·       To be more aware of signs of dominating people – to put this into context of everyday life and to be able to be more proactive
·       The tools to move forward opened my eyes mind and thoughts
·       Early warning signs because you can look out for them from the beginning
·       That I have been in a relationship for many years and realised that it is not me that it is him behaving badly
·       How subtle abusive behaviour is! It will take me a long time to get over that!!

What was the least useful part of the training and why?
·       I found it all incredibly useful x 2
·       None x 6
·       This question can’t be answered – every session was useful and thought provoking
·       Nothing all good
·       Nothing
·       N/a x 3

What areas of your life have changed as a result of the course?
Family dynamics:
·       My relationships have grown stronger with family and can express myself
·       Coming to terms with the split and realising I can cope on my own
·       With extended family I am more able to stand my ground and express myself
·       I have found it is easier to deal with things – with all the support that has been given
·       Become more assertive – confidence boost
·       Can talk to my eldest daughter more and my parents now know what I was going through
·       I can see that my family are controlling and now I take a step back
·       I don’t take things personally now because I know the blame is not all mine

Dealing with children:
·       I have more understanding of what my son has been through
·       I’ve instigated better routines and boundaries and feel more confident that my choices are right
·       Saying No – lots more respect
·       More positive in setting boundaries
·       I talk to my children more openly
·       I have now seen I need to spend more time and be there for them
·       Trying to correct the mistakes (letting bullying happen)

·       Feeling more positive about life and understanding that I deserve better
·       I have a huge amount of information to process but I’m clearer on what is right and what is wrong
·       I try to think a little differently now and not dwell but it’s extremely hard
·       I realised the perpetrator was a bully and had his own issues
·       Helped reorganise my bad thought patterns
·       I look at men differently and know more of the signs
·       More aware of how easy it is to be dominated
·       I can turn bad thoughts into good thoughts
·       I think a lot about what has happened in the past few years in my relationship

·       That I’m not thick and my opinions matter
·       I’m joining some business courses more confident that I can complete them
·       I’ve just started a new course in care work
·       I’m more confident about starting college
·       I’m now looking at courses to better myself

·       I’m launching my own business and approaching it more professionally than I thought I could
·       I have started a new job
·       I really want to work and earn for me and the kids and have been offered a job and also looked into being self-employed.

·       My confidence and self-worth has grown dramatically
·       More confident. Able to stand up for myself and know it’s okay to say no
·       This is changeable but I can see that I’ve progressed and will continue to do so
·       Still rather low but going through hell with children’s services right now
·       Feel more confident in myself and feel free as I’m now not with him but still a lot ongoing (i.e. courts)
·       I’ve learnt how to deal with it better through this group
·       My confidence has grown because I have learnt I’m a good person
·       Definitely more confident in myself
·       Gained confidence knowing others have been in similar circumstances
·       I have more confidence with everything
·       Growing!!
·       Some days are better than others but many other personal issues to cope with right now

Handling professionals:
·       I can approach professionals confidently
·       More knowledgeable
·       I’m less intimidated by others in positions of authority they’re just people with a job
·       I now put what I want across and disagree if I want to
·       Learning how to deal and move forward

Handling difficult situations:
·       I’m more relaxed and confident with handling any situation with a clear mind set
·       Feel I now have a range of strategies to deal with difficult situations and someone I can turn to
·       Again this is up and down – I deal with things because not dealing with them isn’t an option
·       I’m more able to keep my anxiety at ease I try not to get into arguments and keep my cool more
·       I can tackle anything
·       Feel stronger sometimes but it can be difficult to maintain

Any Other comments:
·       Thank you so much this really has changed my life
·       Thank you so much to Jo and Pauline for helping me through a difficult time in my life
·       I feel that this course has been an incredible first step to changing my life. I know I’m still a long from the end of the journey but I also believe now for the first time I’m worth the journey and worth fighting for. It’s a huge first step and one I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to take. I genuinely think freedom has saved me, saved my mind from a lifetime of repeating the same unhappiness.
·       This has been a brilliant course and Jo and Pauline are lovely and down to earth
·       I’m now confident enough to do what I want to do in life and am going back to college in September
·       They’ve opened my eyes and without them I’d be in the same place as I was before. Jo and Pauline are brilliant made me feel totally at ease. Meeting other girls in the same situation makes me feel like I’m not alone. I’ve always been in abusive relationships even though I didn’t know it at the time and freedom has made me see these people for what they are.
·       I found the course extremely helpful, made me realise I was not alone and to recognise the signs. When I first started I thought it was me and I had to be this perfect person that had to do all the things my ex wanted and was scared to be alone but this course is life changing in a way gives you encouragement, support and helps you to make good choices. Great group of girls and Jo and Pauline are amazing thank you very much looking forward to the next chapter.
·       This is the 2nd time I’ve completed freedom. I joined the first time when I was just out of the abusive relationship and going through police and injunctions. The course helped me identify the traits of my abuser and acknowledge it wasn’t my fault. The course has been amazing for me and doing it for the 2nd time has helped confirm in my mind the tactics of an abuser. I will use this information and never enter another domestic abusive relationship again. I feel empowered with the right knowledge to move on with my life. Thank – you.
·       I came to freedom as a nervous wreck thinking there was something wrong with me and that everything that had happened to me was my fault. From the moment I walked through the door I was shown compassion and warmth and never felt I was being judged. I no longer had to cope alone. The freedom programme allowed me to come to terms with a very difficult time in my life and I have made some very special friends who I will treasure forever. I could finally see light at the end of the tunnel and had a new sense of hope as well as the strength and determination to enjoy life again, I truly believe that if it wasn’t for the amazing job Jo and Pauline do by running the freedom programme I wouldn’t be here today. I cannot thank them enough for all they have done.

·       The freedom course has given me awareness of my ex-partners behaviour at times the reality of this is scary. It’s also made me identify the cycle of abuse that has gone on in my life from my childhood to present day. It’s made me aware of what I want for myself and my child. It’s been painful at times but will help me become stronger. It’s made me realise that the crazy women the abuse made me is not me! I am now free!
·       The freedom programme has really helped me to build up my confidence and talk to others. It’s helped me to understand everything and see things clearer. Thank you very much Jo and Pauline.
·       I started freedom angry of the idea that my relationship had even been abusive – calling it that made me feel guilty and ashamed and like I was betraying my husband and exaggerating how the whole relationship had been. Just a few weeks later not only can I recognise that he’s abusive and that the whole relationship was abusive – but I can also recognise that this wasn’t my fault and that I didn’t cause it and most of all I didn’t deserve it. Freedom is the first step to me genuinely being free of him, of the abuse and of guilt.
·       Best choice I made! 2 amazing women – Perfect course! Genuinely supportive, caring concerned ladies.
·       I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for these 2 marvellous lovely ladies
·       I really appreciate the time spent on the course it has really helped but unfortunately just now with the sudden loss of my dad I feel low but will do my best to continue to make progress with the future
·       Quiet and kind support
·       I’m just glad that it’s shown me that I’m normal it wasn’t my fault or anything I did
·       The freedom programme has given me just that freedom – helped me to move on from the after effects of my abusive relationship
·       Doing the freedom programme is absolutely brilliant. It has been teaching me how to retrain my brain in all different ways. I feel a lot stronger in my ways of thinking about my past relationships where before I felt I was the weak person and it was all my fault where now I feel I am in a better place. I have started a new job which has given me more confidence. The freedom programme has given me more confidence and I’m looking and feeling better within myself. I have met new people which are in the same situation and we have become friends and chatting to them and hearing their stories has made me realise that I’m not alone.
·       Hopefully the storm will pass soon and there will be less showers and more sunshine soon.
·       The freedom programme has just reassured me that everything that I have done and my choices were correct.
·       Freedom course has given me the freedom to be me! Loving it!
·       Helped me stand up when I felt like lying down
·       Freedom programme has made me see that I’m normal and it wasn’t me or anything I did. It made me see how nasty he was and how damaged he was. Also I have started to live again and had to rebuild my life over after I lived it around him and now I can start again and find me and learn about my kids. I can see a stronger brighter future and I’m safe now and my kids have got me now instead of taking him back. The course has saved me in all ways from a dark hole and made friends to and I can see I did everything I could to protect them
·       As I still am in relationship of 25years and 3 children I cannot join the recovery tool kit but feel this is what I need. I understand the reasons that were given to me for not attending while still in the relationship and it makes sense. There could be something for in between but I have no suggestions at the moment. I did like the book of the dominator and the freedom was very helpful as I was not aware I was in an abusive relationship as I just shouted back and gave as good as I got in defence until it came out in counselling due to the extreme situation of it all and my own perception of abuse/sexual abuse which was very violent. I had lots of arguments to explain away the abusive behaviour
·       The dominator book should be handed out in every school and domestic abuse should be spoken about more clearly and that it is not always violent as portrayed in films and the news.