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Freedom Programme

The Freedom programme

Women’s Work offers The Freedom programme – a 12-week support group for any women fleeing or who have experienced domestic abuse. 

Domestic abuse is not always physical, it can involve using threatening behaviour or humiliation to control or manipulate the victim as well as emotional or financial control.

It is reported that cases of domestic abuse have increased by 20% during the coronavirus lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser.  

Many of the women seeking support from Women’s Work report that they have been unable to leave home because of lockdown restrictions and their reduced support networks. Others have experienced more abuse due to more frequent consumption of alcohol and drugs during lockdown. The loss of respite from time apart is felt keenly by survivors and their children.  We know that children in households where there is domestic abuse do not just witness the abuse they experience it in a very real way and the impacts can last into adulthood. 

Attendees joining the Freedom Programme come to 2-hour sessions delivered 3 days of the week.  These sessions are delivered by our staff who are trained facilitators  and supported by Peer Mentors who have lived experience of domestic abuse themselves.  They know it can take many indirect forms such as not being allowed to have any personal finances, or consistent mocking or verbal abuse reducing self-esteem and confidence.  

The programme helps the attendees understand why domestic abuse happens and how to identify signs of abusive behaviour, helping to break the cycle of abuse. 

Women are able to share their experiences in a safe and non-judgemental space and gradually build the skills and confidence needed to recognise repeated patterns of abusive behaviour in relationships.

The course also looks at the effects of domestic abuse on children and provides guidance on how women can make healthier relationship choices to protect themselves and their children.

During the course, attendees will learn about different types of abuse personas including ‘The Bully’, ‘The Jailer’ or ‘The Headworker’ and discuss how to recognise typical characteristics.  At the end of each chapter we discuss the behaviour of the non-abusive counterpart.

Women’s Work will also signpost women to make it easier for them to access other services if they need additional specialist help, for example the urgent help of an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (an initiative between Derby City Council and Refuge to support women at high risk to escape domestic abuse). 


Working together 

To find out more about our work with vulnerable women or those affected by domestic abuse please contact us.

We are always open to discussing ways we can work in partnership to develop new programmes that will help meet the needs of vulnerable women across Derbyshire. If you wish to work with us to reach out to more women who could benefit from our specialist support please contact us via email: info@womens-work.org.uk


The difference we have made

In the last year (ending 31st March 2020) 146 women completed the Freedom Programme at Women’s Work. Of these 98% said they would be able to recognise the signs of abuse after attending the course and 97% thought they would be more likely to report a perpetrator to the police.  At every session, the women attending have reported an increase in their confidence and self-esteem.  

This programme is proudly supported by

What our empowered women have to say...

After Healthy Emotions, I am able to look at things more positively and feel I will make better choices in the future.

Empowered Women

After doing the Anger Management Programme, I recognise my triggers now and I can open up more and talk.

Member – Anger Management

After doing Healthy relationships, I have better knowledge about abusive relationships and can now recognise the red warning flags in the early stages. I have learnt to love myself, and will not allow anyone to control or abuse me anymore

Member – Healthy Relationships

I have been given so many new opportunities since I have been at Women’s Work. My eyes have been opened!

Empowered Women

Completing the Change programme has helped me better understand my mental health and ways of dealing with things

Member – Change Programme

I have a better understanding of my emotions and feelings, and am now calmer. I learnt how to deal with things better

Empowered Women