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Monday 28 July 2014

We will never stop trying!

John Humphrys on the Today Programme said to Yvette Cooper 'You will never stop all Domestic Violence!"
We say ' We will never stop trying!'

Friday 11 July 2014

New Domestic Abuse Services Wigan

 New Domestic Abuse Services

An Introduction to the Independent Domestic Abuse Centre
The Independent Domestic Abuse Centre (IDAC) is a new Borough wide service designed
to reduce the level of domestic abuse and improve the safety of victims and their families.
By providing an outreach service in all localities we aim to reduce the number of high
risk cases and cases where people are forced to flee.
IDAC will provide the following services throughout the Borough
The Freedom Programme
Training Packages for Professionals
Support for Children and Young People
Programmes for Abusers
One to One Support to Victims of Abuse
24 hour Helpline
Our staff are currently visiting groups and
organisations in the Borough.
Book us now to attend your next staff meeting
and find out more about our work.
 The IDAC Team
Tel: 24hr 01942 262270
Twitter @IDACNW

Wednesday 9 July 2014

I walked into that first session, and I remember thinking, I shouldn't be here.

Thank you Single Mother Ahoy
This is the link to this great blog where you can read more of her writing.

The Freedom Programme

I've written before about my health visitor, and how I believe she saved my life.

Shortly after I split from S's father, I visited the health visitor for a regular weigh-in/check up. She was her usual supportive self, telling me I didn't have to speak to him if I saw him, that I didn't have to let him see S, that I didn't have to take his phone calls or read his texts.

Before I left, she wrote three things in S's red book, and told me she wanted me to have done them by the next time we spoke:
  1. call the police and make them aware of my situation
  2. change my phone number
  3. call my local children's centre and ask to join the Freedom Programme.
I thought my health visitor was batty and over-reacting to what was just a relationship breakdown.  
I hadn't been abused, I was just difficult to get on with; we had just been incompatible; I had just been hard work. 
I shouldn't change my phone number; S's father should be able to contact me (and send me abusive nastiness) whenever he wanted to. Changing my number would make him angry because I was deliberately being difficult again. 
I shouldn't call the police; that was clearly making mountains out of molehills and deliberately trying to cause trouble where there wasn't any. And there definitely wasn't any real trouble, because everything was my fault, and my responsibility, and I really should be making more of an effort to maintain communication with S's father so that he could see her, even though he wasn't paying maintenance or showing more than a passing interest now that he had replaced us with a new girlfriend and her 3 month old baby.

But I was scared of my health visitor. Not because she was nasty; she was (and still is) lovely. I was scared because I had absolutely no confidence in my ability to look after S. I didn't want to say or do anything that would make the health visitor doubt me. I saw her as a person who had the power to have my baby taken from me, and that petrified me. So I did as I was told.

Single Mother Ahoy Freedom Programme

The Freedom Programme is a set programme of sessions. When I started, they'd already done a few sessions but I think after speaking to me on the phone, the organiser realised I couldn't wait until the next one. I started in the middle of the programme. They didn't have a space in the creche for S, so she came with me. 

The sessions were run on a Tuesday morning, at my local children's centre, which happened to be just around the corner from where S's father worked. I felt sick sneaking in there, and was glad they had a policy of keeping the front door locked while the session was running. I was so scared I would be seen, and he would tell me off for trying to cause trouble for him. 

I walked into that first session, and I remember thinking, I shouldn't be here. I am not one of these women. I do not belong in this room. And then the group leader began talking about the character they called The Dominator, and all the ways they use to control us. This week's session was on The Sexual Controller. She gave us a handout with a list of things he will say or do to keep you in your place. I started to read it, and I felt my stomach drop. I was shaking, almost in tears. 

I wasn't making it up; I wasn't over sensitive; I didn't just bruise easily, I wasn't mad. This piece of paper read as if someone had been listening in on our conversations over the last few months. This piece of paper made me feel instantly justified in being there, and sick to my stomach with guilt that I had stayed there for so long. 

It was abuse. 

I had been in an abusive relationship. 

I had been abused. 

I did belong there after all.

I spent most of that first session crying, telling the group leader that I was scared to change my phone number, that I didn't know what to do, that I felt guilty for leaving his children. 

But I left the session feeling empowered. I left feeling positive and strong. I remember walking out of the building with S in the sling, not caring whether I was seen leaving or not. As I took my mobile from my pocket I saw several new texts, all from him. I read them, but I didn't respond. When I got home, I called the network and changed my number; it was easier than I thought. 

Then I called the police and told them what had been going on. They sent an officer round, who spent a while filling in forms and asking me specific questions about whether I felt that I was in danger, whether I had felt threatened in the past etc. As she left she suggested I buy a curtain to go over my front door, so that anyone coming to the door couldn't automatically see whether I was in. I remember saying goodbye to her, closing the door and going back to the living room, to wait. Although I had told the police I didn't want them to speak to my ex, because I was scared of repercussions, I was convinced he would somehow find out I had "told" on him and that I would be in for some trouble.

As it was, nothing happened. I continued going to the Freedom Programme. Each week we looked at a different persona that abusers will adopt in order to control: the king of the castle, the bully, the bad father, the headworker. Each week it really was as if the group leader had been watching my life, had met my ex before. She and other women in the group were telling me stories that sounded so incredibly similar to my own. The examples we were given of the things an abuser (Dominator) will say and do in order to control you were him, word for word. Seeing that it wasn't just me, that I wasn't over-sensitive or trying to cause trouble, made me realise how important it was that I stay away.

The Freedom Programme finished a year ago. 
When it finished, it was still hard. It was still a daily struggle to stay strong, to not go backwards. Every time I heard from him I started to slip a little. 
But as time went on, I grew stronger. I spoke to a few people, who told me a few things. We compared notes, compared things he had said and done. And with each conversation I grew a little stronger. With each week that passed, I grew stronger. 

I bought the book that goes with the Freedom Programme. I've found it unbelievably useful to be able to read and re-read the descriptions, the lines they come out with, the actions. And also the descriptions of what a non-abusive, reasonable man will say and do.

I will not lend you this book; I still need it. I still read parts of it from time to time, and it is still very important to me. I need to keep reminding myself, so that I never allow myself to be in that position again.

Monday 7 July 2014

Feedback from training in Liverpool

Amazing training with fantastic down to earth people.
 Hope we can all get together again.
 P.S. had all my mates singing the love your vagina song at the weekend…… and why not 

I just wanted to say it was fab meeting you all, It was probably the most enjoyable and memorable training I have ever had.

Loved the training, I’m proud to call myself a freedom programme facilitator and can’t wait to run my first programme !

I’ve already arranged some training sessions for my colleagues and planning to deliver an awareness session with a family.

What a fantastic course with such lovely people – thank you

Pat is an inspiration and i am eager to share my knowledge with others

Well what a fantastic course you held. It was no doubt the best training I have attended in the 13 years I have been working for the voluntary sector. We are at the moment putting together inhouse training and will be getting it out in around 2-3 weeks.

A trainee from Gibraltar says 
'I enjoyed the course immensely. I felt core issues where addressed sensitively yet so dynamically they left a huge impact. I hope to meet you all again. It was indeed a pleasure and Pat you my dear are unique!'

Friday 4 July 2014

A song for every woman whose vagina has been insulted by the Sexual Controller

Abusers use sexual abuse as a weapon to degrade, destroy and defeat the women they control.
One of their favourite tactics is to tell us that our vaginas are too big and sloppy to give him sexual pleasure. I have travelled across the UK to train facilitators for 12 years and everywhere I have visited have a local phrase which is used as an insult.
'Witches Sleeve'  'A sausage up the Mile End Road' 'The Mersey Tunnel'  'The Tyne Tunnel'
to name just a few.

This song is for every woman who has heard this bullshit!

Love Love Love Your Vagina

In House Introduction Training


We can provide introduction training in house for your organisation for a minimum of 20 trainees as a full day event or a half day event. Each half day session costs £50.00  per person. Some of our trainers also charge vat at 20%.

Information about the Freedom Programme
The Freedom Programme is a domestic violence programme which was created by  Pat Craven and evolved from her work with perpetrators of domestic violence.
The Programme was primarily designed for women as victims of domestic 
violence, since research shows that in the vast majority of cases of serious abuse are male on female. However, the programme, when provided as an intensive two day course, is also suitable for men, whether abusive and wishing to change their attitudes and behaviour or whether victims of domestic abuse themselves.
The Freedom Programme examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors. The aim is to help them to make sense of and understand what has happened to them, instead of the whole experience just feeling like a horrible mess.
The Freedom Programme also describes in detail how children are affected by being exposed to this kind of abuse and very importantly how their lives are improved when the abuse is removed.

Introduction to the Freedom Programme. (Two to Three Hours)

This is Session One of the Freedom Programme. It is usually  followed by a Question and Answer session.  All trainees must be given a copy of ‘Living with the Dominator’ and the ‘Home Study Course’.  This training will give them the confidence to use these publications one to one with their service users. They will also be to make informed referrals to local programmes. Trainees can buy both these books from Amazon. They can also buy them directly from me at a discount price of £5.00 per copy plus 5% p&p for orders of 50 or more. 

The Effects on Children. ( Two to Three Hours)

This is Session Four of the Freedom Programme. It is usually followed by a Question and Answer session. All trainees must be given a copy of ‘Freedom’s Flowers’. This training and the book will provide information which is essential to good practice to anyone whose work brings them in contact with children. Trainees must be told that they can also buy the books from Amazon or directly from me at a discount price. 

Feedback from Conwy Intro to the Freedom Programme Training

Probation Officer
 Heard about programme, so glad to finally get an overview and learn about the material. Very relevant for working with young females I am currently working with.

Case worker CAIS
 Really enjoyed the course, gave me lots of information on new laws. Trainer was very clear and ran subject greatly.

Case Worker CAIS
 Good training and great to get the materials

IDVA  NW Womens Centre
 Very informative and thought provoking, Trainer made me feel very relaxed. I now feel more equipped to discuss the Freedom Programme with clients

Social Services Denbighshire
 Very informative. Very relevant for my service users. Excellent delivery

Social Care Denbighshire
 Interesting well presented and informative.

Flintshire Youth Justice Service
 Loved it ! Very informative and the trainer was engaging from the onset.

Denbighshire Children and Families service
 Good programme, trainer had a wonderful sense of humour

Outreach worker
 Very clear and informative. Time to ask questions. Thank you.