‘Surviving to Thriving’ - Parenting Support Program
Over the past year the project has run a support group once a month meeting with women on varying journeys in their domestic violence experience. While most people understand or have some idea what a support group is these ideas can be varied. So, what exactly is a domestic violence support group and what are the common questions people ask about it?
A support group is a group of people with common experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice.
What does a support group offer?
A support group can offer many things to different people, depending on why they are coming. It can help a person to realize you are not alone and identify and express their feelings. Many people learn helpful information around concerns including practical tips, resources and strategies that have helped other’s cope. By meeting other members who are further along their journey with domestic violence it can provide hope for the future. A support group helps reduce stress, knowing you have a space to be heard or just simply held.
I have never been to a support group before; I won’t know what to do.
This is a common concern people have around attending a support group. Our group is run by a facilitator who can answer any questions you have beforehand and will be there on the day if you have any concerns. You don’t need to have group work experience to attend a support group as it is less formal type of group setting.
I’d like to come but I am nervous to share my story with strangers.
Again, this is a very natural feeling to have. Our facilitators can meet you one to one before the group to see how it feels to talk with someone about what you have experienced. Also, there is no pressure to share in the support group, particularly if it is your first meeting it might be helpful to ease yourself in slow.
I am in a good place; I don’t need a support group.
While this may be a reality a support group is a great therapeutic resource when you need it. Besides having a space to share, our support group has different sessions focused on ways to maintain your wellness (art therapy, Zumba), bonding with your peers (outings such as walks, lunch) and practical support (around budgeting, navigating courts with access). A support group can also increase self-understanding, where you might identify trauma that you may not have fully addressed.
Our support group runs in Skibbereen the first Thursday of the month. If you would like more information or are interested in attending (you must register your interest in the group before attending) please contact the project on 027 53847.
“One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide”
Secondary School Program
Our ‘Know Your Worth’ teenage dating abuse program aims to inform young people, in a school setting, what dating abuse is and exploring their own attitudes towards the topic. The program was developed 2018 and is provided to secondary schools in the West Cork. A focus group was completed with Bandon Youthreach to develop the name and logo for the program as well as identifying key information on young people’s knowledge of dating abuse. The term dating abuse was used instead of domestic violence, which young people in the focus group associated with older, married couples. The program aims to create a healthy, accurate discussion of dating abuse in a safe environment. Each student also receives a 11-page educational pack that expands on all the topics touched on in the session as well as a list of resources.
Here is some of the feedback from students at our sessions:
“I learned a lot about what domestic violence really was”
“The group work allowed to discuss the topics in an interactive way”
“The handouts were very good as they helped me understand what I learned and remember it more”
Therapeutic support to children and young people
In early 2019, we piloted a scheme called CYP, which provides external therapeutic support to children and young people up to 18 years of age who have lived or are living with the impact of domestic abuse in their household/family. Children will be eligible for the program with the agreement of and support of their mother. Children of existing clients will be prioritised.