WISER, Women in Safe and Empowering Relationships. WISER is a specialist domestic abuse programme, reaching out to women who have a learning disability or borderline learning disability, who struggle to access mainstream domestic abuse services. The project was created as a response to the number of women working with the Plymouth Parent Advocacy Project who reported they could not engage well with other services intending to inform them of the signs and impact of domestic abuse.
The course allows women to learn about domestic abuse and its impact through creative observation and accessible participation. WISER is mindful of how complex trauma can impact an individual’s capacity to make decisions, and more importantly how having a learning disability can compound a women’s vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.
Some of the key themes covered are:
– The nature of abuse and how it is societally embedded, going right back to having our rights and autonomy taken away as children.
– How coercive control is used to manipulate, threaten, and take away our freedom and choices.
– How complex trauma (specifically exposure to domestic abuse) affects brain development and children’s ability to thrive healthily.
– What is consent and healthy sexual boundaries.
– Awareness raising around cyber abuse, stalking and harassment.
– Accessible information around domestic abuse legislation, who can support as well as a ‘Keep Safe’ plan.
Over- all WISER seeks to nurture and promote opportunity for women to exert and express their own choices and boundaries in a safe environment that is understanding of their own specific learning needs. We can provide further clarity for professionals as to the specifics of the program upon request.