The Freedom Programme

Take Your Steps Towards Freedom!

Where did the Freedom Programme come from?

The programme was created by Pat Craven  She worked as a probation officer in the U.K. with men that abused women and found that there were certain traits and behaviours the men used against women. She started to see patterns in their behaviour that helped her put together this programme for women. Pat also runs a programme for abusive men that challenges them to look at their abusive behaviour. Pat Craven trains women in the U.K to run the Freedom programme with groups, many of the group facilitators are women that have been in abusive relationship and therefore have first-hand experience.  The group examines the roles played by the attitudes and beliefs of the actions of abusive men and the responses of victims and survivors. The aim is to help women to understand what has happened to them. The 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.

What is the Freedom Programme?

The Freedom Programme is a weekly support group for women that have experienced domestic abuse, or may still be living with an abuser. It is a safe and confidential place for women to meet other women that have been or are in similar situations to each other. It is a very powerful group experience and can change the way you feel about the abuse you have experienced, giving you the insight to stop blaming yourself and concentrate on regaining your confidence and your life back. The programme is FREE.

Where do we meet?

The group meet weekly in Kilkenny at a quiet central place for 2 hours. We take a break half way through and light refreshments are provided. The group is relaxed and the women are friendly. The facilitators are trained and work at the refuge and have experience of working in this discipline.

What kind of women will I meet at the group?

Women from all walks of life, of various ages, from different parts of Kilkenny and different countries. This is what makes the group so great, that it is full of diversity, but everyone shares similar experiences and can relate to each other’s lives. Every woman you meet in the group has experienced abuse, we don’t endorse women that haven’t had this experience but want to find out about abuse. We provide information at the refuge, if you are not sure if it is for you please telephone us at the refuge and we can talk to you.

How do I know if it is confidential?

We treat all women’s information confidentially*. This means we do not discuss anything work related with a third party. In the group at the start we talk about group rules, one of the most important rules for most women is not discussing the names of women in the group and other women’s personal information outside of the group, to date this has worked well for us. * Please visit our Home page to view our Confidentiality Policy

What will happen in the group?

Each week the group focuses on specific tactics and behaviours that abusive men use. We have group discussions, share and learn from each. Each woman gets a work book about the programme and sometimes we give handouts. You don’t need to be able to read because we talk though the work. If English is not your first language please do not be put off, once you can understand the main points you can benefit from the group. We don’t expect you to talk if you don’t feel comfortable and we never put women on the spot or ask you to write or read unless you are comfortable with it. Women come and share and support each other you could meet a woman who has many years of experience. It is not acceptable to judge or criticise each other, it is a caring and welcoming environment. We don’t tell women what to do or that they should leave a relationship.


Am I expected to attend every week?

The group runs for 12 weeks, women can come as often as they like. We understand that women are not always able to attend, as things come up. If you are still living with the abuser, he may be monitoring your whereabout it might not be easy to leave the house. As the group runs a rolling programme if you miss a week you can catch up at the next Freedom Programme if it suits you.


How do I join or find out more?

Please contact the landline number at the refuge or on the lo-call number and speak to Sarah on 056-777 1404 or on 1850 4242 44. We usually meet women for a cuppa and a chat first. You can ask any questions or concerns you might have about coming to the group.


We look forward to you taking your next step to freedom…