The Circle of Change is a 28-week program for men and women who have used violence in their relationship and wish to change. Groups are available for men and women. Groups are held weekly at Women and Children’s Horizons administration building. Sessions are two hours long.
Referrals for the Circle of Change come from a variety of sources including; courts, the department of corrections, clergy, private therapists, defense attorneys, child protective services, social workers, friends and those who realize on their own that they have been abusive, and want to take steps to change.
Group sessions cover a variety of topics related to relationships and violence. Some topics covered include: what counts as violence?, abuse versus respectful communication, managing conflict, sexual respect and intimacy, ending relationships respectfully, effects of violence on the victim, effects on children, modeling respect and empathy for children, accountability, jealousy, anger, dishonesty, self-care/stress management, and redefining masculinity.
If you are interested in learning more about the Circle of Change program, please contact the Prevention Services Coordinator at 262-656-3500, extension 113.
How do I know if my partner is changing?
You are the best judge of whether or not your partner is changing or not. If you gut feeling is that they have not changed, trust that regardless of other signs. Some of the things to look for are:
- Have they completely stopped saying and doing things that frighten you?
- Can you express anger towards them without being punished for it?
- Does it feel safe to bring up topics that you know upset them?
- Can they listen to your opinion and respect it even when they disagree?
- Can they argue without being abusive or domineering?
- Do they respect your wishes about sex and physical contact?
- Have they stopped expecting you to do things for them?
- Can you spend time with friends without being afraid they will retaliate?
- Can you do other things that are important to you, such as go to school or get a job?
- Are you comfortable with the way they interact with the children? Do you feel safe leaving them alone with them?
- Are they supportive? Do they give compliments, do they listen to you?
- Do they share the housework and childcare?
Some signs they are not changing
- Do they use Circle of Change against you in any way?
- Do they tell you that you are abusive?
- Are they pressuring you to go to therapy for yourself or couples counseling for the two of you?
- Are they making their abuse sound a lot less than it really is?
- Are they telling you that you owe them another chance?
- Are they saying they can't change without your support?
- Are they trying to get you or the children to feel sorry for them?
- Do you have to keep after them to attend the Circle of Change and stay in the program?
- Do they expect something in return from you for the fact that they are attending Circle of Change?
- Are they pressuring you to make up your mind about the relationship or to move back together?
- Are they pressuring you to drop criminal charges or a restraining order?