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April 14, 2019

Spring Freedom Programme………

Spring Freedom Programme….

We are half way through the Spring Freedom Programme which is running from February to May 2019.  I think this is one of the most culturally diverse programmes I have done.  Twelve women from different cultures, countries, age and physical ability.  We have women from The Lebanon, Poland, Hungary, Italy, America, England and Ireland.  All with one thing in common!  I am always fascinated and inspired by how the women who come to my programmes bond and forge new friendships with other women who they feel truly understand them.


They come to the first session, not knowing what to expect.  Some of them, having been referred by a professional, perhaps a social worker, don’t want to be there at all!  By session 3, they have visibly relaxed.  You can almost hear them thinking – “this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be”.  I’ve actually had a woman on this programme say that to me!

For others it is a lifeline.  They have been isolated and it is a revelation to them that they are not the only person to have experienced domestic abuse, therefore meaning it wasn’t their fault!!

I absolutely love facilitating this programme.  Professionals thank me ‘teaching’ the women about domestic abuse.  That makes me smile and I tell them – “I don’t teach them anything!  I don’t need to.  They have lived it.  I simply facilitate a structured space for them to make sense of what they have experienced with other women who have experienced it themselves.  I don’t do anything more than try to make it a safe, comfortable, friendly environment for them to come to, once a week for 3 months.

Why do some people not understand?  Why do they patronise these women by implying they need teaching??!  Hence the women come to that first session fearing they are going to be talked at and patronised.  What they find when they enter the room and are greeted by me is very different.

What the women don’t realise is that I am the one being taught!  I am a survivor of domestic abuse.  Something I am proud of.  If women ask me if I am a survivor, I tell them Yes.  It doesn’t compromise my professional relationship with them.  If anything it strengthens it.  I take part in my programmes.  I grow with the women.

How I wish there had been The Freedom Programme when I was going through it……….

  • I first met Sharon back in 2000 when I went into a refuge she worked in after fleeing a violent relationship. I had two babies and virtually just a bag of clothes and a few toys with us. She helped me with appointments with the police, solicitors and..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I was fortunate enough to meet and work with Sharon when she was the Advocacy Manager at Woman’s Trust and I was working for Westminster City Council. During this time Sharon developed and managed the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service..

    Ainslie O’Connor – Principal Advisor for the Department of the Premier and Cabinet – Adelaide, Australia.
  • Thank you so much for all the support you have given me. You really have been amazing, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have been able to cope with Child Protection without you. The amount of strength you have given me is totally priceless, even with..

    A survivor of domestic abuse.
  • I knew Sharon as a work colleague over ten years ago. At the time, she was supporting vulnerable people, some of them were homeless due to domestic abuse and substance misuse. For me, assisting such people was what anyone in her role would be expect..

    Ted Chanza, Head of Market Operations, Airtel Malawi Ltd, Lilongwe, Malawi, Africa.
  • I have known Sharon for 6 years and have had the pleasure of working alongside her when I chaired the Westminster MARAC. Sharon is a committed, empathetic supporter of women who are or have experienced domestic abuse. She regularly goes the extra m..

    Former Chair of The Westminster MARAC.
  • I was fortunate to have had Sharon as my support worker after 17 years of domestic violence and 4 children that had witnessed and gone through it with me. I was finally strong enough to stand up and protect myself and my children. Without Sharon’s ..

    A survivor of domestic violence.
  • Without the support and constant reassurance of Sharon, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am forever grateful to her. She is extremely dedicated and knowledgeable, having her on my side when dealing with someone as persistent..

    Anonymous survivor of Domestic Abuse.
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