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Thursday 28 November 2013

Feedback from Facilitator Training in 2013

Bedfordshire 27.03.13

I attended the Freedom  Training held in March 2013 by Pat Craven and over the 2 days a detailed overview was given of the different types of dominator.
The tasks and exercies over the 2 days that we took part in enabaled me to have a much clearer understanding of the impact of an abusive relationship on women, mothers and children, the reasons women can become powerless to leave an abusive relationship and how the Freedom Programme can support them in gaining an understanding and insight into abusive behaviour  and that they are not to blame.
The supportive way in which the subjects covered were discussed with Pat Craven and Ginny Redbond the facilitators and others attending the course,  enabled me to gain a greater understanding of the domestic abuse in preparation for supporting the delivery of the Freedom Programme at a later date.

Birmingham 16.05.13

‘Just to say wonderful training, laughter, tears, emotion.
Would recommend it to anyone working in domestic abuse.
Such a great insight :-) 

‘The FP is truly inspirational, dynamic with bags of laughs to be had along what at times - is a painful road of discovery .??’

‘Pat Craven delivers this fantastic programme with great expertise, knowledge and drama.....which at times is hilarious – but always focused and targeted around the real issues and often harsh reality of domestic abuse.
 An absolute must for workers in any field of social care,
 Thanks Pat, for a great training day, all the best for the future and that many more Freedom Fighters pass through your doors.’

London 07.06.13
“I originally completed my training with Pat a few years ago and I returned to London to update my training in the summer.  It was wonderful to undertake this training again, so informative and inspiring!  The knowledge and experience I was able to tap into in the room over those few days was incredible.  I had a member of my team with me for her first experience of training for the Freedom Programme and she came away as motivated and uplifted about what we could offer with this training as I was.
Although the training, is at times, emotional and hard hitting, it has to be! it is the reality of many woman’s lives.  I honestly believe this training is one of the best insights into being able to offer ‘real’ support for survivors that can possibly be done.  I have seen first-hand the impact that this programme has had and it NEVER ceases to amaze me when you see the ladies start to take back control of their lives!  I truly think (and often tell anyone that will listen) that all practitioners, in whatever field they work, should have to do this training as mandatory, as without it they will continue to have a huge gap of knowledge and insight to the effects of Domestic Abuse.   I manage 7 Children’s Centre and am planning for all my staff to do this training as this is a subject which should be discussed and hidden no longer.”

Luton 31.07.13
"The Freedom Programme Facilitator Training I attended in 2013 was inspiring and empowering.  As someone who uses music to raise awareness and understanding about domestic abuse, it has given me the confidence to continue doing so - only LOUDER!’

Derby 26.07.13
‘I found the training at Derby an intense few days, but at the same time extremely interesting and enjoyable. It was also a fantastic opportunity to reflect on my own belief systems and share best practice with other professionals.’

Newcastle 25.09.13
‘The training, although a difficult topic that made you analyse your own life and relationships, also had some parts that made you laugh until your sides ached.  A great opportunity to meet new people, and go on to deliver the programme and pass on the information for other women.’

A male trainee says:
‘I learnt loads about domestic violence during the preparation  for and delivery of this very informative, practical and well run course. Pat’s compelling, plain speaking and to the point style kept me listening and involved throughout the thought provoking and interactive sessions. I was able to relate the course material to real life  work situations and feel much more confident that this will help me in my job.’

‘I really enjoyed the training, it was a good opportunity to get the perspectives of a wide range of professionals both with and without previous experience.  A lot of what we talked about clarified  the reluctance of some of the women we work with leaving their abusive partners and how hard this really is in reality.’

Birmingham 02.09.13
Male trainee
‘I think the following three words  encapsulates it all enlightening, informative and inspirational!
I'm currently doing some individual sessions at the moment with both survivors and perpetrators with some promising outcomes.’ 

London. 28.10.13
Plymouth City Council Youth Service is committed to enabling young people to explore and understand the impact of unhealthy relationships on their lives. The Freedom Programme has given us an insight into the key issues around domestic abuse as well as providing us with resources to begin to develop this area of work. Our recent Workforce Development Event gave us the opportunity to share our Learning from the Freedom Programme training, with our workforce. The sessions were very successful with positive feedback from those taking part. Whilst we may not be delivering the full Freedom Programme we are taking the learning and using it to educate others. Most importantly, its about giving the workforce the confidence to engage in those difficult conversations with young people and to support them effectively.

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Courses for men/couples

Chris from WAVE DV Centre is now able to accept commissions from Local Authorities to provide two day courses for men who want to become better partners and fathers. I am delighted because  she can use her fees to provide the Freedom Programme to women survivors. 
Here is an extract from the Men’s Manual which is now available on Amazon (click here for paperback version, click here for Kindle version).


How to set up the course

I have produced this manual in response to requests from hundreds of practitioners who have asked for a different approach to working with men who use violence against women. 

I am Pat Craven a former probation officer who ran perpetrator programmes for Merseyside Probation Service between 1996 and 1998. I concluded that the programmes could have been much more successful if they were run in a very different style and by a different agency which was not subjected to the same constraints as a statutory body. 

Imparting rules and instructions. 
Everyone who attends is instructed to procure a copy of ‘Living with the Dominator’ and ‘How Hard Can It Be...?’. They must complete the written course before attending and bring their completed copy to the event. 

The letter I send to trainees when the event is confirmed includes a timetable and  a list of the rules. A template of the letter is available at the end of this manual. However at the beginning of the weekend I always restate the rules as I will describe in the instructions on how to facilitate session one.

The Gender of the Facilitators. 
They can be either women or men. They should have experience of facilitating the Freedom Programme. They do not need a man to be present so he can be a ‘role model.’ Women facilitators give a message that women do not need a man to help them. However I have trained several men who understand the programme and they are also eminently suitable.

If a couple are still together, female partners should not be excluded. They should be in the room and be able to watch how he is reacting. They are the only people capable of assessing if he is learning anything or is changing. They are not only watching their own dominator but they are watching other men who are sitting in a group with him who are visibly changing. This is also has the additional advantage of bringing the men’s shortened version of the Freedom Programme to women who may not otherwise have a chance to attend the women’s programme. 

Many other women who have already completed the women’s programme then bring their abusers to the men’s weekend as a condition of allowing him to stay in the relationship. Many men in this situation often agree to attend the weekend in the belief that they need not take it seriously and can get away with paying lip service to it. Many are surprised by the impact it actually has on them. 

Measuring outcomes. 
Six  out of 10 women who accompany their abusers tell me that the men have changed for the better. Four out of ten report no change but regard the event as a success because they can now make informed decisions.  Another way of evaluating success is to count what percentage of couples who attend have their children returned from the care of the local authority. 

Unlike the women’s programme the men’s programmes should not be for a few hours a week. They are much more effective if compacted in to 2 days. This means they do not return to society in between sessions and have all their beliefs reinforced every time. 

Facilitators should never write reports for courts or social care. They cannot assess if he has changed or not. They also have a vested interest in seeming to have succeeded and often get funding just because they say a man has changed. In other words women can be put at risk by facilitators who write such reports. The only person who can assess whether the man has genuinely changed is the partner who is watching him interact with other men in his group. 

It is essential never to run the programme without sufficient men. It cannot work because success depends completely on the men learning from and informing each other. If there are not enough and the facilitator is actually telling the men what to think the programme will fail. They can only learn from each other. If the programme fails it will reinforce their behaviour instead of challenging it. 

Facilitators need the flexibility to cancel a programme if too few turn up. I never confirm an event as viable until I have at least twenty five couples as I know from experience that only around half of them may turn up. The minimum number should be sixteen men plus their partners. 
Always be prepared to cancel the weekend if too few attend and always make this clear to everyone who books a place. 

I welcome observers but I insist that they join the groups. We are all anonymous and no group member must know the identity of another unless they are the partner who came with them. 

Trainees must behave or leave. Court mandates are self defeating. What is the point of a man attending because his solicitor can appeal against his removal? If he gets away with abusive behaviour it will reinforce his belief that abusive behaviour is acceptable because it has worked again. It is crucial that when I facilitate of this programme I have freedom to set my rules and to enforce them. 
I will not change my rules to attract funding or meet guidelines set by other agencies. 

No personal information
Don’t let the men  talk about themselves. They all sincerely believe that their victims force them to use violence. The men who come to my programmes arrive expecting me to help them cope with this horrible woman who forces them to assault her. If we allow them to air their very distorted views we are colluding with them and putting women in danger. 

If anyone does not keep my rules I ask them to leave. If they refuse to go I will not continue and I close down the programme. I tell everyone to leave and ask those who really want to be there to leave their contact details with me so I can invite them when I arrange another date. 
Usually when the miscreant has left everyone else remains and we continue with the programme. When I expel anyone it usually results in excellent cooperation from everyone else. 

Some accuse the Freedom Programme for Men of endangering women. They imagine a situation where a man can become so enraged by the programme or indeed by being ejected from the group that they attack their partner in revenge. This betrays a lack of understanding of the way abusers behave. 

When an abusive man commits an act of violence it is always planned. So in this situation he may have decided to be ejected from the course so he can blame her for insisting that he attends. They do not just ‘lose it’ and attack their partners. 

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Christmas appeal from WAVE DV Centre

WAVE DV Centre asks
Are you sending Xmas cards to work colleagues this year to end up in the recycling bin? Donate a pound to us instead, make a lasting impact.

Christine Ashton runs the WAVE centre in Leigh who run the freedom programme and provided these stats. Here are all the contact details. 
01942 262290 
Freedom Programme Evaluation from WAVE DV Centre between June and November 2012
62 women were referred to the WAVE Freedom Programme. 48 women completed the programme. 
16 of them had children in the care of the local authority. 
28 of those children were subject to child projection plans and described as in need of safeguarding. (This was formerly known as the ‘at risk register’)
37 of the women who started the programme reported that they suffered from depression. 
24 of those women were taking prescribed anti depressants.
After completing the programme only 4 of the women still had children who remained in care. 
12 of them still had children who were subject to child protection plans. 
15 women now reported that they were depressed. 
12 women were still taking prescribed anti depressants. 
As a result of attending the Freedom Programme at the WAVE DV Centre:
12 out of 16 women had their children returned from care.
16 out of 28 women had their children’s names removed from the child protection plans. 
25 out of 37 women said they no longer suffered from depression. 
12 out of 24 women were no longer taking anti depressants. 

Monday 11 November 2013

Men's weekend

On 9/10 November Chris Ashton from WAVE DV Centre and I hosted a men's weekend in Wigan.
Thanks to Wigan Borough Council for making it possible.

Congratulations to all the couples who attended and worked so hard in a pleasant and cooperative manner. I wish them and their families well in the future.

I look forward to advertising the next weekend which will be provided by Chris and Wigan Borough Council.