Outreach and Support

Community Work, Outreach and Family Support

At HARV we have regular activities for women to participate in, our community and outreach worker coordinates events and activities on a weekly basis.

You can get involved in;

The Freedom Programme:

What is The Freedom programme?

The FREEDOM programme is for any woman who wishes to learn more about the reality of domestic violence and abuse.

It is a FREE 12-week rolling programme, which means that you can join at any point – the benefits are the same so long as you complete 12 weeks.

What are its aims?

To help women understand the beliefs held by abusive men and in so doing, recognise which of these beliefs they have shared.

To illustrate the effects of domestic violence on children

To assist women to recognise potential future abusers, Mr Wrong or Mr Right

To help women gain self-esteem and the confidence to improve the quality of their lives

To introduce women to community resources such as Women’s Aid, the Police Domestic Violence Unit, The Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, local Colleges etc.

The Freedom Programme: www.freedomprogramme.co.uk

 For information on current Freedom Programme events, please see our up and coming events on our home page.



The Recovery Programme (Moving on from the Freedom Programme)


The Recovery Programme has been developed to assist any individual or agency working with women who have experienced domestic abuse/violence and are in a position to take part in a group (not living with the perpetrator or perpetrator on a recognised perpetrator programme) designed to assist each of them in looking at ways to develop positive lifestyle coping strategies.

Living with domestic abuse/violence forces women to develop coping strategies that keep them and their family safe within the context of unequal power divides and extremely controlling behaviour by the perpetrator.

Women who have experienced and lived with domestic abuse frequently tell support agencies that the hardest part of recovery is to deal with the psychological distress caused by such abuse. The psychological distress affects how a woman perceives herself (self-esteem, self-image), how she interacts with others (passively or angrily), how she copes with the emotional pain (depression, anxiety, alcohol or drug use), how she uses her parenting skills; it can also leave her with confusion about issues of trust, boundaries and respectful relationships (both with adults and with children).

Any individual experiencing the isolation, exhaustion, humiliation, degradation and threats that are part of the abusive behaviour would encounter these difficulties. The aim of the group is not to hold the woman responsible for what happened to her, or blame her for those actions or decisions taken at the time of the abuse that may in retrospect be found not to have been safe. Rather the purpose of the group is to recognise the tremendous effort the woman has made in keeping her and her family as safe as possible, while helping her to acknowledge that coping strategies used under duress may not be helpful in her recovery and development of a new life free of abuse.

This programme runs for 12 weeks (or 24 weeks)

Sessions cover, What is abuse, Introduction to self esteem, Self esteem, coping and the consequences on our psychological wellbeing, the affects of abuse on children and on parenting skills, self esteem and affirmations and the power of positive self talk, anger and conflict and assertiveness, boundaries and trust, making mistakes, setting goals, healthy relationships.

For More information and dates of future sessions, please contact Winnie or Silvana on Tel: 01254 879855


Strengthening Families Programme:


The family remains the single greatest influence in most young people’s lives. We all want to protect our children, raise them well, give them the best education and all our skills. We all know that bringing up a child is one of the toughest and at same time one of the most rewarding challenges in our lives.

How we can help

  • Do you want to develop your parenting skills?
  • Are you worried that your child might start smoking, drinking or experimenting with drugs?
  • Do you need some new ideas, tips on how to talk to your children so they listen?
  • Do you want to meet other parents to discuss the joys and difficulties of being a parent?

Our Strengthening Families programme is here for all families with young people aged between 10 and 14 years of age to help prepare them for their teenage years. This 7 week evidence-based programme is aimed at reducing alcohol and drug use, behavioural problems in adolescence and strengthening the parent/carer child relationship.

Through discussions, fun games and activities families solve problems together, learn about rules and consequences and explore ways to show love, support and strengthening family communication.

Our programme is unique in the way it works with both parents and children, bringing them together.

Strengthening Families Programme: www.strengtheningfamiliesprogram.org


Women’s Group:

HARV have a weekly women’s group that meet to chat about their experiences and get support. The group also organise events and activities, fundraise and participate in the ending violence against women and girls campaign.

Please keep an eye on our events and activities calendar for up to date information or if you want to get involved then simply give us a call on 01254 879855.


Support to refuge or safe house:


If you want to leave, we can find you a place in a refuge. We can ensure you get to refuge safely and will provide you with essential items.

A refuge is a safe house for women and children escaping domestic violence. The address is confidential and no men are allowed in the building. A refuge is a place where women can be sure they are safe, and where they can access emotional and practical support from staff who understand what they have been through.

Every woman in the refuge is escaping abuse, meaning they can share their experiences and offer each other support.

We recognise that some women may wish to live in refuges sensitive to their cultural needs or preferences. Some of the refuges are specifically for women from particular ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

At HARV we have built positive relationships with local refuges and we can in some cases continue to provide families with support. Refuges are of a very high standard, if you would like more information about local refuges then you can visit: www.elwra.org.uk

Who can go to a refuge?

Any woman who has experienced domestic violence – emotional or physical – can go to a refuge, with or without children.

More than a roof over a woman’s head.

Women can arrive at a refuge in shock from their experiences. They may have lived with abuse for months or years and become isolated from family and friends. Even knowing you are safe does not make the transition to life in a new environment easy.

Staff in all our refuges are there to support women both practically and emotionally. They understand the trauma women have experienced and are there to listen. Where funding is available women also have access to our psychologists who can provide ongoing emotional support. There is also peer support – which can sometimes be the most beneficial support a woman can receive.

In practical terms refuge workers can assist in many areas:

  • Help in finding a safe new home.
  • Budgeting and welfare benefits.
  • Accessing health services.
  • Finding nurseries and schools.
  • Accessing local community and cultural services.
  • Gaining legal advice, including accompanying women to appointments and court.
  • Safety planning.
  • Training, education and employment.
  • Finding permanent housing in a new community.

How long do women stay?

Women stay in our refuges for as long as they need. Each woman is unique. Some women stay for a few days, others remain months while they wait for accommodation in a new community. A refuge is temporary accommodation and we help women find more suitable permanent accommodation.

Refuge: refuge.org.uk