Expert Speaker at Glasgow Freedom Programme Conference: raising awareness domestic abuse and how the Freedom Programme can be applied in a legal context.
I was contacted by a colleague in Glasgow who runs the Freedom Programme Services, who was wanting to do a domestic abuse Conference in Glasgow but with a strong focus to launch the Freedom Programme above the borders there, because there is not a great deal of coverage across Scotland.
I was asked to do a presentation in terms of how I use the Freedom Programme. I always talk about it being a human behaving model, it is such a versatile tool, so that is what I focused on to try and reach a broader level of interest with the audience locally, so that it is not just about looking at the Freedom Programme as a victim support group, but it is also something that measures the manifested behaviours and linking it to what underpins those manifested behaviours. Whether we are looking at children or adults, victims or perpetrators, it enables us to see what the intention is behind a behaviour that is presented in front of us essentially speaking. Which is why I do find it such a versatile tool to use and I have been using it in many ways, personally and professionally, ever since 2003 when I first became very aware of the Freedom Programme itself.
At the Glasgow Conference May 2019, I focused on talking about using the Freedom Programme in a legal context, from when I was contacted and requested to do expert witness reports for clients initially going through Immigration Tribunals, but then that has expanded out to the Family Courts, the Criminal Courts and the High Courts of Protection, and as I said, and I keep saying, it is because it is human behaviour. It is an assessment tool. It just gives us so much insight, it is like having a pair of x-ray spectacles and actually being able to see what is going on. Sometimes people will say to me, “can you actually see into my head Clare, can you actually see in to my soul?”. No I can’t, but I can see from what behaviours are presented, what your intention is. So its not spooky or macabre, it is simplistic actually once we get our heads around this particular model, and understand all of the different eight personas within the character that we refer to as, the dominator. See Trait & Persona’s.
Again I linked that in legislative terms in my speech, looking at the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against woman, United Nations Human Rights Council, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, because I think as victims we become refugees, even if we have not physically geographically moved anywhere, but the impact and effects on the victim are the same. And also, as always, looked at the European Convention on Human Rights.
Other things we looked at in terms of practices in the judiciary, is the fact that none of the different Court systems communicate with each other. Regardless what Baroness Newlove assumes happens, it does not happen like that and we are hoping that, Dame Vera Baird, the new victims commissioner, will be a little bit more savvy and astute than her predecessor on that one. Because as an example, if a victim is acknowledged in an Immigration Tribunal Court that they have suffered abuse by their perpetrator, and their perpetrator may not have just done domestic abuse, which is actually against the law in statute, if not in practice.
In terms of other legal activities, so it could be economic trafficking, human trafficking, it could be false claims of benefits, it could be cash paid wages, slavery, all of these things. There are lots of different pieces of law that says that you are not allowed to do that. So that will all be in my expert witness reports, that would all be referred to. If the immigration tribunal upholds what is claimed as the victim being a victim, that information is not passed onto the Criminal Courts, it is not passed onto the Police and it is not passed onto Safeguarding either. So, it’s not just within the judicial system, that the communications, the partnership working is not happening. And so, this is an area of work that I spoke about at great length with my little soap box – as I tend to have a bit of a rant. Again, I refer to all 13 Articles of the Human Rights Act and identified which persona of the denominator breaches each one of those articles on a daily basis. See the details of these on my NO MORE Campaign page
Then we rounded up the day with how we can deal with this issue, and it always always has to come down to policy writers, changing those policies within an organisational context. Legislators need to get with the programme and then the judiciary need to uphold all of those things. So within an Agency context, it needs to be senior management saying “no, this is the values of our organisations and this is how we practice” and they need to be aligned with Human Rights of, not just their beneficiaries, but also their workforce. Then the judiciary needs to be applying the law and not having it skewed by individuals core belief systems, which actually breach Human Rights by definition.
More services need training in the Freedom Programme, so victims are more able to access a Freedom Programme near them. The legal system is not the place to get justice and that is when it is applied properly. So, we need to be able to try and give an understanding and justice to a victim, be they an adult or a child, for them to feel heard sometimes that can actually be empowering and mind blowing enough, because victims are always the last to know. As Pat Craven; the Author of the Freedom Programme says,
“As woman, generally speaking, we are kept like mushrooms, fed shit and kept in the dark”
That is what we need to change. We need to stop feeding ourselves shit and we need to turn the light on, and that is what can happen if we are working affectively with victims and hearing their stories and understanding that. But also, managing expectation, don’t go through a judicial system and assume that you will get justice, because really, that is not how the law works unfortunately. It feels it should but that is not how the law works.
So, that was our launch of the Freedom Programme Conference up in Glasgow earlier this year, and I am pleased to say that we have had bookings for trainings, above the border, whereas people previously had to come down to England for the training, so that is all good and I am really looking forward to going up to Glasgow again to deliver the very first Freedom Programme training in Scotland.