The “Our Time” programme aims to reduce the negative impact of domestic violence and social exclusion on  mothers and their children, while encouraging them to develop strong bonds and facilitate opportunities to talk openly and honestly about their needs and feelings. The programme promotes an approach aiming for enjoyment and fun, enabling the families to focus on building happier and healthier futures.

The FSEPS partnership engaged with practitioners together with mothers and their children in places of safety and asked them about difficulties they had faced since leaving abusive relationships. The following five themes were identified as recurring issues:

  • Isolation
  • Communication and Respect
  • Building Trust
  • Managing Emotions
  • Positive and Healthy Futures

In the following material you will find the respective chapters of the “Our Time” programme handbook for download. Each chapter includes an introduction to the topic, followed by a number of activities that can be carried out with families.  The FSEPS teams developed the “Our Time” programme to allow facilitators to implement it flexibly and respond to the specific needs of the families concerned.

The Sessions

Victims and survivors of gender-based violence or abuse often suffer from isolation. The objective of this session is to introduce the programme and to help families to feel more integrated into their local community.

The mother-child relationship, as well as that of siblings, can often be damaged through living with abuse. In these sessions we put the focus on communication within the family and aim to understand what respect is and how to build and develop our respect for family members.

Through witnessing and experiencing domestic violence, trust between mothers, children and siblings can be damaged. The activities in these two sessions focus on the topic of mutual trust and its importance within the family.

Sessions 6 and 7 seek to explore participants’ emotions encourage open dialogue and healthy positive ways to show and tell people how they are feeling and the importance of recognising how others are feeling and identifying who they can speak to for support.

After the often traumatic experience of violence, women and their children can struggle with developing positive perspectives for their future. In this session, they are encouraged to think positively about their future as a family.

Concrete ideas for activity adaptation

The activity feedback we received after the piloting of the Our Time programme included a lot of concrete ideas for the adaptation of certain exercises. This document provides some ideas how to vary activities in the Our Time programme and might serve as a source of inspiration.

Planning documents for the facilitators

Documents for family assessment

Families should undergo an assessment before being accepted on to the programme.  This will provide the facilitator with a clear understanding of the position they are in on their recovery journey and will enable effective evaluation of the of the programme and any progress made.

The assessment should be completed by the key worker individually with each woman and her children prior to beginning the programme. Before families attend the “Our Time” programme, it is important to ensure that it is safe for them and others to be involved. Both assessment tools provided below include a list of initial safety questions to ensure all mothers and their children are ready and safe to complete the course.

The resources for the in-depth assessment are provided to help with the delivery of “Our Time” programme and it is not obligatory to use them. They cover a much broader range of issues and can be used where the key worker wishes to assess any changes in the family dynamics or achievements. These assessments may raise sensitive issues that require a more therapeutic approach within which the “Our Time” programme would be one intervention offered. There are initial, mid and end point assessment sheets for women and for their children. You may choose to use all three assessments or only the initial and end point assessment.