Safe Relationships Service User Case Study
Mr A, a service user with 4 children completed the Safe Relationships Programme with RISE in October 2017. On completion of the programme, he contacted us to express his appreciation and commented “[the programme] bettered my life and my family too.”
Scroll down to read about Mr A’s experience on the Safe Relationships programme with us, and the fantastic email which we received from him last week expressing his gratitude and long-lasting benefits.
Pre Programme/Assessment and Treatment Needs
Mr A’s referral described a history of domestic violence dating back to 2011. The information provided about the conflicts within his relationship with the victim showed that they centred around financial difficulties and the resulting stress caused. During his assessment for the programme, Mr A’s motivation to attend was high however accountability for any abusive actions during the assessment was low. Taking this into account the programme looked at developing Mr A’s accountability which in turn would develop victim empathy skills. The specific skills on the programme which were identified to benefit Mr A based on his own personal circumstance and history of abuse were active listening, recognising anger and conflict resolution.
At the beginning of the programme Mr A blamed his wife for conflict within the home and stated “my wife gets anxious over finances and debt. She also puts work on me, asks me to do more when I am already very busy and this causes her to get angry with me. When she gets angry with me this causes me to become angry”. It demonstrates a pattern of behaviour that leads him to be aggressive to his wife when she brings up issues that may need to be addressed.
The Safe Relationships Programme
Safe Relationships is a 12-week programme for men who have been abusive within an intimate partner relationship. It consists of 1 pre-group, 12 group work and 3 one-to-one sessions that help participants to achieve a better understanding of why they use violence and aggression in their intimate relationships.
Our experienced team of professionals worked with Mr A, along with other perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse, to guide him through a process of change, which addressed and developed his awareness of the attitudes and beliefs that underpin his behaviours and the factors that reinforce it. Through a combination of group work and one-to-one sessions the Safe Relationships programmes aims to prevent reoffending. Focused on self-reflection and creating tangible outcomes that can help perpetrators to build a pathway for change, the programme encouraged Mr A to identify and build on his strengths and skills to change his behaviour.
During the Programme
During the programme Mr A took part in a number of group activities and discussions which helped to explore his attitudes and beliefs which impact his behaviours and interactions with his wife. Some of these activities included:
- Participating in role play in order to experience what it’s like to deal with someone who won’t communicate how they feel
- Mr A described this as ‘’walking on egg shells’’ which had a negative impact on the person on the receiving end.
- He stated that this is something that he has in the past found difficult and would ignore his wife rather than communicating openly.
- Mr A was able to practise skills to help him communicate how he feels in an assertive non-aggressive manner.
- Working within a sub group in order to identify physical cues related to feelings and emotions
- Mr A stated that the programme was helping him to recognise when he is angry
- Previously he has not always recognised this which would contribute to conflict escalating.
- Perspective taking to build empathy
- Mr A built empathy for his wife and explained that although in the past he had blamed her for his anger he stated ‘’I never took into consideration her tiredness, I felt she could sleep during the day because she was at home.”
- He understood that it wasn’t like this for her and that raising the children is “a difficult job.”
- Exploring the Nurturing Wheel
- Mr A contributed to the ‘care for yourself’ part of the nurturing wheel and explained that if you were are not mentally healthy yourself then you cannot provide for others effectively.
- Mr A’s accountability increased and he was able to identify abusive behaviours without blame on his wife.
- His risk was decreased from Medium to Low on completion of the programme.
- Due to increased accountability his victim empathy skills increased and was able to consider the impact of his actions on his family.
- Mr A learnt and understood new skills on the programme to avoid further abuse/conflict.
- No new reports of conflict, abuse or police calls outs were reported whilst Mr A was attending the programme or since completion of the programme.
Feedback received by Mr A on 17/11/17
“Hope all is well.
Just a few lines to express my appreciation for the support you, Leila and Eileen have given us in the past few months whilst on the RISE programme. It benefited me in my relationship, and I hope it did for the rest of the guys that were there as well but at the minute I can only speak for myself. During the 2 months doing the programme, I have learned how belief and feeling can impact on my behaviour and can have a negative results on my family. I have also learned that there are words that would be beneficial not to use during a conversation at a particular time, words such as ‘’YOU’’ can be seen or interpreted by her as criticism or blame.
I have learned to be mindful about my body language and facial expression when approaching her as it might give her the wrong messages and this could impact on her behaviour and feelings, whereas if my approaches were detected as friendly and not patronising, she would have consider talking to me. I have learned about the “time out’’ and the meaning of it – if I feel that I am not in the right frame of mind to speak or to deal with something, I will let my wife know and inform her how long I need in case she thinks that I am trying to escape from the situation which could bring more problems than solutions.
In married life, most people tend to have negative thoughts or self-talk first when something does not go our way. This program has reassured me that this is actually happening to a lot of people and their reaction is no different from mine and what it taught me is that we can train ourselves to becomes better by practicing the positive self-talk; having consideration of other’s feelings and beliefs; evaluate the facts first instead of jumping to conclusion. In other words, give it the benefit of doubt and I believe if we practice being positive on a daily basis it will become part of our behaviour, who we are. Once it’s part of our behaviour we cannot go wrong and that’s what the programme did to me. It has bettered my life and my family too. They feel more content and we cannot wait to be together again. When I first started the programme, I said to myself that I will have to change myself first before trying to change others and those classes have taught me exactly that and it goes “If you cannot change your mind you cannot change anything’’ and I say if you really love your family you will do something about it.”
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