Always Hopeful is an 11 week group recovery programme for Christian women who have experienced, or are still experiencing domestic abuse.

The programme aims to provide a space for women to explore the relationship between faith and domestic abuse and to work out their own faith in light of their experience. It uses a combination of group and individual exercises and discussions, providing an opportunity for survivors to build relationships with one another and support each other through a shared experience.

The programme explores themes such as: spiritual Abuse; the way theology is used in abusive relationships; identity; self-esteem; guilt; anger; and forgiveness.

“We believe this course will help to change the story for women who have been subjected to abuse as they work out their faith and rediscover God’s heart and plan for them”

Bekah Legg – Director, Restored

Programme Contents

Session 1: A New Hope – An introduction to the programme and the concept of hope
Session 2: WHAT happened to me?- Understanding what abuse is and how it may look in a Christian Context
Session 3: WHY did this happen?- Exploring the beliefs and attitudes that lead to abuse
Session 4: WHERE is God in all this?- Exploring God’s response to domestic abuse and understanding why God doesn’t just “fix it”
Session 5: HOW am I affected by abuse?- Exploring the effects the abuse may have had on us, and our faith
Sessions 6 and 7: A New Theology- These two sessions explore four different biblical themes that are often weaponised by abusers and seek to provide a different understanding.
Session 8: WHO am I in Christ?- Rebuilding your identity after abuse
Session 9: WHEN will I stop feeling guilty?
Session 10: WHEN will I stop feeling angry and WHAT about forgiveness?
Session 11: A New Future. Consolidating the programme and moving on.

Programme Background

Background to and Development of the Programme

Sally Hope is a Domestic Abuse Support worker with several years experience facilitating secular survivor groups both within the community and in a refuge. Sally is also a survivor of Domestic Abuse and remembered how she felt that her church didn’t understand Domestic Abuse and the Women’s Aid organisations supporting her didn’t understand her faith. It felt like there was no support for Christian women in answering the questions that Domestic Abuses causes them to ask.

After deconstructing her own faith, Sally made use of her degree in Religious Studies and her experience in running domestic abuse recovery programmes to develop Always Hopeful.

The programme is trauma informed and based on a feminist approach to domestic abuse, utilising the Duluth Model. It draws on elements of both CBT and Person Centred Counseling to provide psycho educational support alongside peer support. From a theological perspective Always Hopeful aims to be non-denominational and offer Christian Women from all faith backgrounds an opportunity to ‘work out their own faith in awe and trembling’

During it’s development the programme has been trialed

Participants said:

“I find the programme quite informative and transforming”
“I like the stimulation and group interaction”
“Made me feel I wasn’t losing my mind re:Christian experiences as women”
“The best thing was being together and feeling safe”
“I’m feeling more positive about myself”
“Thought provoking as ever, great to interact with the group”
“The best thing was talking about boundaries with church in particular … my boundaries are getting better”

Running an Always Hopeful Programme in your Church or Ministry

Thank you for your interest in running an Always Hopeful programme in your Christian setting. It can be a bit scary to undertake supporting people who have experienced something as traumatic as Domestic Abuse, but it’s absolutely something God calls us to do. Don’t worry, Always Hopeful will be here to support you every step of the way.

In order to run the programme you will need a good understanding of Domestic Abuse and the impact it has on women and children. For this reason before we offer specific training around delivering the programme it is a requirement that you have completed basic Domestic Abuse awareness training. We recommend Restored for this training and this can be arranged via us or directly with Restored: https://www.restored-uk.org/what-we-do/equipping-church/training/

Having Us Facilitate

We offer full training to you so that you will be able to facilitate the programme yourself. However, if you would prefer to have us facilitate it for you then this can be arranged either on Zoom or in person if you are within an hours traveling distance of our base in Lancaster, Lancashire.

The cost of us facilitating the programme for you would be £200 per session for in person facilitation or £125 for Zoom facilitation. There are 11 sessions in the programme so this would total £2200 for in person or £1375 for Zoom. You will also need to purchase journals for your participants. These can be found available from our shop soon.

Group Facilitation consists of:

  • 11x 2 hour group sessions (1.5 hours on Zoom) for a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 participants
  • 30 minutes either side of each session for 1:1 support for participants on a drop in basis. (not available on Zoom)
  • Certificate for each participant
  • Handouts for in person participants, as required, for each session.
  • Feedback and effectiveness report at the end of each 11 week programme that can be used for your funding bids.

Facilitating your own programme

In order to facilitate your own programme, once you have completed basic awareness training via Restored you will need facilitator training.

You will also need to purchase a facilitators manual and journals for your participants. These can be found on the Resources page.

Buy Resources

Our own online resource shop will be available soon.