• Sarah Tempest

Recovery Programmes Move Online

All of our Recovery Programmes for survivors of abuse are now available online. Rooftop have 8 members of staff in our Domestic Abuse team who work in collaboration with West Mercia’s Women’s Aid. The team offer individuals and groups various tools and services to support them wherever they are on their journey. Sadly, one of the repercussions of Covid-19 and lockdowns has been a rise in domestic abuse as people have to be at home more, somewhere that is not always the safe haven it should be.

One third of the work of the team is running support groups. With face-to-face contact not allowed, these vital group sessions had to end for a while, so we’re delighted that we now have all of these programmes running again.

The group sessions are organised for both women and men and there are two separate sets of programmes. Some of the participants are Rooftop customers, but most are not. You can self-refer to take part in the programmes and can contact the Women’s Aid Helpline to do this 0800 980 3331 or do it via their website westmerciawomensaid.org

Among other things the programmes explore abuse, what it is, discusses how individuals have experienced it, how it’s affected their self-esteem, their children, and how they can and are moving forward.

For women there are four programmes that run for 12 weeks each, Freedom, Power to Change, Recovery Toolkit and Parenting.

The Freedom programme assists women to understand the beliefs held by abusive men and recognise which of these beliefs we share; Illustrates the effects of domestic abuse on children; assists women to recognise potential abusers and their traits and empowers women to feel more confident in the choices they make.

The Power to Change Programme helps women to rebuild themselves after their experience of domestic abuse, helps to develop self-esteem; empowers women to deal with the emotional impact of domestic abuse and helps them to become successfully assertive.

Recovery Toolkit helps women recognise the psychological effects that domestic abuse may have had on them and their families whilst they were experiencing the abuse and helps find ways to improve their psychological well-being through developing positive lifestyle coping strategies.

The Parenting programme explores how children are affected by domestic abuse, how they can be helped to cope with their experience of domestic abuse, teaches strategies to support children effectively shows women how to build a stronger, healthier bond with their children.

We are extremely proud to offer services for male survivors of abuse. Men are often overlooked and seen as the perpetrators rather than the survivors. The Recovery Toolkit Programme is offered to men too, then there is the MARS programme, Male Abuse Recovery Support. There is a specific email and Helpline that men can use male.support@rooftopgroup.org

or call 0800 014 9082.

The MARS programme is a twelve-week discussion led course for male victims that have or are experiencing domestic abuse. Each session explores different aspects of abuse and the attendees are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences and learn how to safeguard and move on from their present state.

It’s extremely powerful for men to understand that they are not alone in having experienced domestic abuse as often they are feeling isolated and embarrassed by their ordeal. The MARS programme is designed to aid the men in their recovery and gives them the information to keep themselves safe and ensure they can rebuild their lives. The programme was developed by Rooftop Domestic Abuse Team and West Mercia Women’s Aid for men based on the power and control wheel.

In order to deliver these programmes online, our Domestic Abuse Team have had to undertake training in leading the groups online, as a virtual discussion presents different issues to a session taking place in a community centre or similar venue where people are sitting with each other.

Rooftop Domestic Abuse Support Worker Caron Millar says “In some ways holding online sessions has allowed us to reach more people. It’s quicker and easier for those who find it difficult to get out. Some people do the sessions in their lunch break. I’ve had more time to work with clients too as I’m not travelling to venues.”

Marc Linton runs the groups for men “The MARS programme was developed for male victims whether the perpetrator was from a partner or a family member. I also facilitate the Recovery Toolkit for male victims. Both are now being delivered online via Teams."

"I also give presentations to professionals. They find it useful as few agencies are aware of how to identify male victims and how to support them. There are many similar aspects to male/female victims but a few exceptions, as men very rarely identify themselves as victims due to a lack of understanding of what abuse is, and many men see it as a weakness that emasculates them.”

Caron Millar is proud of what Rooftop and Women’s Aid have achieved in moving the programmes online. She says Women’s Aid also offer a Live Chat service now for those who can’t talk or be open in their home.

“The Programmes can be a lifeline for people as they give people support and puts them in touch with people in similar situations, so they feel less isolated. Seeing a face can make it easier and more approachable.”

If you want to self refer to take part in a programme, please contact Women's Aid or call the Male Helpline, or email them.


0800 980 3331


Male Helpline 0800 014 9082

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