This six week programme helps victims explore the dynamics both of healthy and abusive relationships, the impact of abuse on children, different characteristics of perpetrators and early warning signs. Participants give each other mutual support with many of the groups meeting up after the programme concludes. Child care is provided for mums with pre-school aged children which enables women to attend who could not otherwise do so.
In Reading we offer a rolling programme of sessions. In the past year 70 women have attended Choices groups. Referrals are made by agencies or women self-refer.
BWA has developed Choices to meet the needs of diverse communities:
- Asian Choices: Delivered in Urdu /Punjabi.
- Learning Disabled Choices: adapted and successfully piloted in Wokingham.
- Cranstoun Choices: in partnership with a local agency supporting clients with drug and alcohol issues.
BWA is currently considering training for volunteers to co-facilitate the Choices programme. Volunteers could be drawn from former participants who have themselves benefitted from the programme. BWA has found the involvement of such ‘peer support’ to be particularly productive.
A support group is held once a month, currently supported by a staff member. The aim is for the group to become self-supporting in the near future.
To meet an increasing number of referrals for clients with Learning Difficulties / Disabilities, BWA has a day time support group based at Crossing Bridges. Fortnightly themed sessions are supported by a staff member.
Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVAs)
Currently there is only one trained IDVA within BWA. Based in Bracknell, the post is funded through the Bracknell Community Safety Partnership. With the introduction of Police Commissioners responsible for commissioning services and allocating funding previously given to Community Safety Partnerships there may be opportunities to negotiate further funding.