Abused are encouraged to be free

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AN INNOVATIVE scheme aimed at helping abused women take control of their own lives is coming to Portsmouth.

Southern Domestic Abuse Service is launching a new initiative called The Freedom Programme.

The Havant-based service has been able to fund it after being donated almost £4,000.

Twelve 90-minute group sessions, starting next week, are planned at Buckland Children’s Centre.

The course is a rolling programme, which women can join at any time.

Claire Chatwin, managing director, said the programme sought to counter ‘the phenomenon whereby women who have experienced abuse have little or no understanding of what has happened to them’.

She said many women blame themselves.

The sessions aim to empower women, allowing them to increase employability, financial independence and well-being, as well as break the cycle of abuse.

Ms Chatwin said: ‘We are very grateful to Zurich Community Trust for providing £2,800 and Portsmouth City Council Community Fund, which is administered by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, for funding £1,000 towards making this service possible.

‘It is estimated that one in four women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.’

Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, Simon Hayes, has spoken candidly about reducing domestic violence. To find out more, call (023) 9248 0246 or e-mail info@southerndas.org