The Freedom Programme was created by Pat Craven. The Freedom Programme© examines the attitudes, beliefs, actions and roles played by abusive men and the responses of women victims and survivors.
The aim is to help women who have experienced domestic violence 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 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 is also suitable for men, whether abusive and wishing to change their attitudes and behaviour or whether victims of domestic abuse themselves.
Pat Craven, the author of ‘Living with the Dominator’ is a former probation officer who worked with male perpetrators of violence against women. For two years she sat among groups of men who had attacked and raped their female partners. During this period, Pat realised that vital information was not being given to the men’s partners. In fact, most of the women involved with such men had no real understanding of what was happening to them.
As a result of this Pat wrote Living with the Dominator to give women information which could save theirs and their children’s lives. The books information is being successfully used with all communities including the Black, Asian and Islamic communities in the U.K The Freedom Programme itself is run throughout the U.K. An on-line version of the programme is also available to help fill the need for information especially for international clientele.
Sharon was lucky enough to be trained to facilitate The Freedom Programme by Pat Craven herself and has run both group programmes and one to one programmes with many women. The programme is best run in groups of 6-10. There is no obligation for any women to share her own experiences but many women do and find the support from other women who understand what they have been through extremely empowering.
For a physical programme, each woman is given a copy of ‘Living with the Dominator’ and a ‘Home Study Course’ book which makes it possible for women to study the course themselves if they are unable to come to the group every week. For virtual programmes run via Zoom, each woman will get access to the Online Freedom Programme instead of being given books. The programme lasts for 11 weeks and each session is an hour and a half long. At the end of the programme the women are given a certificate of achievement.
Many women feel very proud of their achievement in finishing the course and also feel that they have something to evidence their learning and to show professionals such as social workers and child protection chairpersons. They also meet new people and make new friendships, all of which are important in the recovery from an abusive relationship. Sharon is happy to feed back to professionals about the engagement of women on the programme, with the woman’s permission. However, most women do give permission for Sharon to do this as they find the experience enlightening and enjoyable.
Click here for feedback from women who have been on a course facilitated by Sharon –
Books can be purchased from Amazon by clicking the book covers below, or directly from The Freedom Programme Website.