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Pattern changing course

Pattern changing is an educational course for women who have been in an abusive relationship. It is designed to help you understand domestic violence, how it has affected your life and how you can recognise your power and choices in life. Some women will not be sure whether they are in an abusive relationship and may come along to help them decide.

The course runs for 14 weeks and each weekly session lasts approximately two hours. Attendees are awarded a certificate to show that they have completed the course.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, BCHA is now delivering this course virtually, so an essential requirement is that attendees must have safe access to a computer and a confidential email address.  

Aims of the course

  • To break the cycle of abuse.
  • To break patterns of behaviour which lead to returning to an abusive partner or entering into another abusive relationship.
  • To help you change negative life long patterns to positive patterns of your own choosing as an adult woman.
  • To enable you to receive support and encouragement to make these changes.
  • To support people who have experienced domestic abuse within their family structure or within their own personal relationships.
  • To help people to develop effective coping mechanisms and to understand what a healthy relationship entails.
  • For participants to have a valued sense of self and to achieve their individual goals.
  • For participants to make healthy relationship choices and to feel confident to speak their truth.

Topic areas covered by the course

  • Decision making – learning to make rational, healthy decisions - realising that everyone is human and makes mistakes, learning to forgive ourselves when we make mistakes.
  • Early warning signs of an abusive relationship and the tactics that can be used.
  • Rights of all human beings.
  • Impact of abuse on women and their families.
  • Why it is so hard to leave an abusive relationship.
  • Dysfunctional childhood legacy - looks at how growing up in an abusive environment can lead to an abusive future – ie you can either become an abuser or continue to be a victim of abuse.
  • Setting boundaries - ending old patterns.
  • Understanding and dealing with feelings of guilt, grief and fear.
  • Understanding and dealing with anger - learning how to use anger in a positive way.
  • Assertiveness training, learning to adopt assertive behaviours.
  • Planning/setting realistic, achievable goals to move forwards – using rational thinking rather than emotional thinking.

Benefits of the course

Once women have completed the course they are stronger and more positive. They can hold their heads up high and their general attitude is greatly improved. They gain the confidence to go on and further their skills to enable them to reach their full potential and to enjoy life.

We therefore want to encourage as many women as possible who have experienced domestic violence to take part in this free course, which is accessible virtually.

We can signpost/refer course participants to other services if appropriate/necessary.

How to apply to join the pattern changing course

For people living in Poole, please contact: the Poole Refuge on 01202 748488 or by email: 

For people living in Bournemouth or Christchurch, please contact: the Bournemouth & Christchurch Domestic Abuse Services on 01202 547755 or email

You will then be sent a self referral form to complete. The form asks for a brief overview of your situation, contact details and whether you are involved with any other support services. Once you are booked on the course you will be sent a link to Microsoft Teams via email, to enable you to participate.

Further information

If you don't live in the Poole, Bournemouth or Christchurch areas, but are interested in experiencing pattern changing or simply want further information/advice about domestic abuse, please visit the Women's Aid Domestic Abuse Directory 

How to refer a customer

If you are supporting someone who you think might benefit from this course, you can refer them to the Poole or Bournemouth/Christchurch refuges using the contact details above.

Course testimonials

“I feel so much more empowered and aware of the things to look out for. Trust my instincts and decisions and I am excited about the future. I would absolutely recommend this course and have given the details to a friend. Hannah was a joy and very understanding and on our level.”

“Amazing course! Made me realise how bad things were and how strong I am. I am a much more positive and open person as a result of the course.”

“I am more assertive and aware of how people are behaving around me.  This course has built up my self-esteem. I am more confident as a parent.”


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