A DOMESTIC abuse survivor from Southport has created a support group for other women who have been affected.
Jemma Stewart set-up the community interest company Phoenix Healing and has now received funding from Sefton Council to hold an 11 week support programme.
She explained: “After escaping domestic abuse myself not long before entering into the first lockdown of the pandemic in 2020, I struggled to find anywhere to help me understand and process what had happened and why I was left with so much confusion after managing to escape.
“I found that people I was speaking to and seeking support from didn’t understand what I had been through and was continuing to go through.
“What many people do not understand is that once you have escaped domestic abuse it doesn’t end there.
“There is often continued abuse from the perpetrator towards the victim, whether this be from stalking, harassment or using the children to continue the abuse and then there is the financial and mental damage that you have been left with from being conditioned by the perpetrator, where you feel that it is you that is the problem and you have no self worth or confidence, we quite often minimise our own experience of abuse.
“Because of the pandemic I was able to find and access a programme via Zoom called The Freedom Programme, written by Pat Craven.
“I felt so strongly about this programme because I got so much from it I decided to train to facilitate the programme myself, I have been doing that voluntarily for more than a year now via Zoom but now I have decided to bring The Freedom Programme to Sefton.
“The programme is free for any female victim/survivor that feels they will benefit from it. It is available to any female, whether they have experienced physical violence or not and whether they are still in that relationship now or whether they left recently, two years ago or 20 years ago, everybody is welcome if they feel they need some support.
“The programme runs for 11 weeks but the support continues for as long as it is needed. We aim to empower each woman that comes through our agency until they feel they are strong enough to take on the world alone, therefore all are welcome to stay as long as they need to get to that point.
“We run an in-person group on a Monday morning near Southport town centre and a session on Zoom on a Thursday evening for those who cannot attend the face to face session.
“Women can refer to the agency by sending me an email to email@example.com so that I can discuss a referral at a time that is safe for them.”
To find out more, visit the pages on Facebook and Instagram @phoenixhealingcic