John case study

Service User Case Study – John*

*his name has been changed.

We met John when he joined our Building Better Relationships (BBR) programme after pleading guilty to Common Assault.

We met John when he joined our Building Better Relationships (BBR) programme after pleading guilty to Common Assault.

BBR is a 30-session programme for men who have been violent in their relationships.

The over-arching aims of BBR are to:

  • Empower participants to break their cycle of harmful behaviour and develop better relationships with their families and society
  • Reduce re-offending and promote the safety of current and future partners and children.
  • Work collaboratively with other agencies to assist offenders in managing their risk of intimate partner violence.


Men who complete the BBR programme have the opportunity to:

  • Learn more about the sorts of behaviour that damage relationships
  • Get a better understanding of themselves
  • See how their risk factors play a part in the violence towards their partners
  • Find and build on their strengths and use these to improve their lifestyle and relationships
  • Develop the skills they already have and learn new ones to overcome the difficulties they face that affect their relationships.


John case studyAt first, John expressed some concerns about being on the programme. He said he was “no wife beater” and that he “only slapped her.” He was worried about having to talk in the group and being “judged by everyone.” Facilitators outlined the nature of the programme and explained that it centres around individuals’ strengths and building upon these to ensure participants enjoy more caring, meaningful relationships in the future.

John relaxed quickly into the group environment: He soon felt comfortable and began to participate freely; feeding back to the group that he was beginning to use skills of emotional control and goal setting in his daily life. He developed a healthy curiosity in exploring his long-held thoughts and beliefs around the roles of men and women in society. He had a real breakthrough moment in the group when he admitted that he realised that he had been abusive in his relationship and that in the past he had minimised his behaviour by describing his violence as “only” a slap. He also identified other abusive actions, checking her social media activity and shouting at her “over the smallest of matters.” He said that he now realised the negative effect this would have had upon his partner, as well as upon his two-year old daughter.

As the group got to know each other better, they shared stories of their experiences and their relationships. John began to challenge other group members’ views and did so respectfully and with thought. He spoke of recognising his negative thoughts and how they effected his emotions and, ultimately his behaviour.

In one of the four one-to-one sessions that group members have with a Facilitator, John commented that the programme has helped him manage his anger and change his thinking. He feels he is now less impulsive and that friends and family had noticed a change in him; his best friend asked “Where has the old John gone?” and went on to say that he noticed a “new, calmer side” to him.

At the end of the programme, he attended a three-way meeting with his Offender Manager and a group Facilitator. He recognised that his relationship with his partner was over and that there was no chance of a reconciliation. He said that he felt no resentment towards her as he now realised that he had made things tough for her in the past. He was hopeful that he would be able to maintain a healthy relationship with his daughter but said he realised this would be a challenge as his past behaviour would have impacted upon her, regardless of how young she was at the time.  He said that he felt very different about himself and his future felt more positive. He said that he wished he had learned some of the skills covered on the programme when he was younger as he said that he felt they helped him in many aspects of his life.

John’s story is a great example of how RISE’s interventions can challenge attitudes and facilitate long-lasting behaviour change, driven by the belief that anyone can change and make better decisions, given the right support.

 To find out more about our Building Better Relationships (BBR) programme, please contact us.


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