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The Freedom Programme

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.

  • 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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