Course helps victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse


A course dedicated to empowering and supporting victims of domestic abuse is hoping to further raise awareness of the issue in Merseyside. The Freedom Programme has helped women across the region and has been so successful that organisers hope to run sessions with male victims and eventually perpetrators.

The 14 week course is designed to raise the self-esteem and confidence of those who have suffered domestic abuse, raise awareness of the signs of violent and controlling behaviour in a relationship, and show how those at risk can make themselves safe.

It also helps those who have suffered to deal with the anger and emotions resulting from their experience, as well as offering help and support to break the pattern of abusive relationships and avoid becoming a victim again in future.

The Freedom Programme runs across the UK, and senior facilitator Tracy Taylor has been running the course in Liverpool for a number of years. This latest course has been made possible as part of a multi-agency project developed in partnership between Plus Dane and Stonham Home Group.

There are ten places available on each course and the programme will be repeated every 15 weeks. The programme has had enough interest to run an all-male course in future, and Plus Dane and Stonham hope to work with the probation service to eventually be able to deliver a course tailored to perpetrators.

There have been more than 30,000 reports of domestic violence to Merseyside police in the last 12 months, resulting in 5,338 charges being brought. 

The Freedom Programme has been supported by the office of the Merseyside Police and Crime Commission. Its 2014 annual report stated there is a requirement for more emphasis on planning early intervention and raising awareness of domestic violence.

Cllr Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner and Victims Champion for Merseyside, presented the graduates of the first Freedom Programme course with certificates to mark their achievement.

She said: “I am honoured and proud to have been asked to give out these awards and I have heard some powerful stories. Courses like the Freedom Project demonstrate how we can help those who have been victims of domestic violence and how by working together, with that support network, at the end of it these women are free and able to go on to lead fulfilling lives.”

Stonham’s senior client manager Tracy Taylor said: “As part of their graduation from the course, clients read their life stories. Although it was an emotional time, it was also a good end to the first Freedom Programme delivered by the joint organisations. Everyone is looking forward to the next 14 week programme, which will help more victims of domestic abuse from across the region.”

For more information about the programme, email Tracy Taylor or Susan Williams at