The Sarnia Programme is designed to work with individuals who have behaved abusively toward a current or previous partner. The programme looks to support individuals to acknowledge, address and change their behaviour by focusing on their strengths, building on their skills, and providing tools to use so that they are better placed to make positive choices.
Sarnia is a modular based programme, consisting of both individualised work and group sessions. Following completion of an initial assessment module, an individualised programme pathway will be created, identifying which modules that service user would most benefit from completing. Some modules are undertaken as a standard part of the programme, and focus on issues such as motivation and relationship skills. Other modules will look to work on individual issues, such as anger, trauma, or children and parenting.
Am I Suitable?
In order to complete the Sarnia Programme, there are a number of criteria that an individual must meet in order to make them suitable for the work.
Initial criteria for suitability are as follows:
The individual must be 18 years of age or over
The individual must be locally resident (within the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and intend to remain so for the duration of the programme)
The individual must acknowledge, to some extent, that they have behaved abusively toward a current or previous partner
The individual must be motivated and willing to address and change their behaviour, and to attend the Sarnia Programme
Additionally, persons completing the programme should (ordinarily) be working with a professional,and they make the referral into the programme. This could be a Social Worker, Probation Officer, or perhaps a Family Proceedings Advisor.
Can I be unsuitable?
As well as factors that make a person suitable, there are some factors that may make a person unsuitable for the programme. These things will vary on a case by case basis and should always be discussed with the person making the referral. They may include things such as substance misuse, severe or chronic mental health issues, or those that are currently part of open Police investigations or court proceedings. These factors will not automatically exclude someone, but they will need further discussion.
If someone doesn't meet the criteria currently, it doesn't mean that they never will. There are a number of things that can be done to improve suitability, so please discuss this with the professional you are working with if you have any concerns.
How Do I Apply?
Applications to the Sarnia programme need to be made by a professional that is working with you or your family. This may be a Social Worker, Probation Officer, or Family Proceedings Adviser. They will complete an application form with you, and send this into the Programme Coordinator.
The modules of the Sarnia Programme are delivered by qualified Probation Officers, however the Programme is not solely part of the Probation Service, and you do not have to be subject to criminal proceedings, or currently working with Probation, in order to take part.
Once received, your application will be processed, and if approved you will be assigned to a Probation Officer. They will contact you to make arrangements to begin the assessment module, which is the first module of the Programme. This module is designed to introduce you to your officer, and to give an idea of what kind of work you may benefit from.
If you are interested in completing the Programme but don't have contact with any professionals currently, please contact the programme directly to discuss this further.
Supporting Partners and Families
In order to work with you, the programme may need to make contact with your current or former partner. This contact would be made by a professional whose role is to provide support to those that have experienced abusive behaviour through a partner, or other close relationship. This contact is necessary so that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure any present risk of harm is managed, and that all parties, including you, are effectively supported and safeguarded. This contact forms an important part of The Sarnia Programme, and is a necessary measure to promote safety and wellbeing for all those associated and connected with the programme.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply?
Applications for the Sarnia Programme are normally submitted via a professional that you are working with. For further information, please see the 'How do I apply?' section
Is the programme only for men?
Sarnia Programme is able to work with both men and women, and with those in same sex relationships.
How long is the programme?
The length of the programme will vary from person to person. This is because the programme will be tailored to your individual needs. Following completion of an assessment module, a pathway through the programme will be developed for you, outlining what further work you will complete based on what you are most likely to benefit from. Some people may find that they complete a few modules, whereas others will find it useful to complete more.
Can I complete the sessions faster?
Sessions, both individual and group, will usually be held once a week. It's important that the sessions don't happen more frequently than this, as time is needed to reflect on the work you are completing, and to practice skills and complete homework in the time between your meetings.
Will I have to attend groups?
The Sarnia programme is broken down into modules. Some of these modules will be done one to one, whilst others will be in a group setting. The two formats allow for different learning styles, whilst offering the opportunity to learn from others experience's. Groups will normally be around 8 people, with 2 members of staff facilitating. All persons attending the group will also be completing the Sarnia Programme, and will likely be at a similar place in the programme to you. There will be very clear rules within group about protecting one another's confidentiality, and you will develop a contract with the other group members at the beginning that outlines your expectations of one another, and ensures that you are all treated with mutual respect.
When will sessions be held?
Individual sessions can be planned with your allocated officer for times that are most suited to you. Individual sessions will normally be 1, to 1.5 hours long. Group sessions will be run in the early evening on weekdays. Ordinarily, a group session will last 2 and a half hours, and will take place once a week. Dependant on need, we may also be able to offer day time group sessions.
What about my privacy?
Sarnia Programme takes your privacy and confidentiality very seriously. In order for a person to take part in the programme, we have to share information with other agencies. This is to ensure that everyone involved, both the individual completing the programme and their partners and families, are protected and supported as much as possible whilst we work together. We will talk to you at the beginning of the programme about who we might speak to, and the kinds of information that we may share. Information sharing for the Sarnia Programme is tightly governed by Data Protection Legislation. For further information on how your information will be used, please see the Fair Processing Notice on the main Sarnia page (under development).
Who will I be working with?
Individual programme modules will be completed one to one with a Probation Officer, at the Probation Service offices. These are located in the Tourist Information Centre in St Peter Port, along the sea front near Crown Pier. The programme is delivered by Probation Officers because they are best qualified to complete this work. Please be aware that they will be working with you on behalf of the Sarnia programme, not the Probation Service, and you will not be a client of Probation, nor will they be your 'Probation Officer'. Any officer completing Sarnia work with you will be known as your Sarnia Programme Facilitator.
What about my partner/children?
In order to work with you, the Sarnia programme may need to make contact with your current or former partner. This contact would be made by a professional whose role is to provide support to those that have experienced abusive behaviour through a partner, or other close relationship. This contact is necessary so that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure any risk of harm which is present is managed, and that all parties, including you, are effectively supported and safeguarded.
I'm not subject to Probation Supervision
You do not need to be working with Probation, or be subject to any court judgement or supervision order to complete the Sarnia Programme. The work will be completed with you by Probation Officers, and therefore many of your sessions may be based at the Probation Service, but you do not need to be a client of the Probation Service to take part.
Is there a waiting list?
We try to keep waiting to a minimum, but there is a possibility that there may be a wait when you are accepted. This is because we have a limited number of officers, and in order to complete the programme to its best, they can only work with a certain number of clients at any one time. Additionally, if you are due to start a group module, there may be a wait whilst we get enough people together to run the group. If there is going to be a wait, we will be able to give you an idea of how long this is likely to be when we meet with you at the end of your assessment.
My application wasn't accepted, what now?
There are a number of reasons why your application may not have been accepted, and the professional that referred you will get a written explanation of what the reasons were in your case. We will also give them a recommendation of things you could do to make yourself more suitable for applying in the future. This may be things such as working with health care services to stabilise your mental health or substance misuse, or working on your motivation to make you more prepared for completing the work on the programme.
I haven't been convicted of a crime related to domestic abuse
Sarnia Programme isn't a punishment, and doesn't have to be linked to criminal proceedings or court. The programme is designed to support those who want to address their own behaviours, and it does this in a non-discriminatory, non-judgemental way.
How difficult is the programme?
Sarnia Programme is about making change, and change worth making is rarely easy. Some of the work may be very straightforward for you, whereas you may find other areas of the work more challenging, and that's absolutely fine. The officers and facilitators that you work with will help you get the most out of all of your sessions, and will support you to access all the material you need.
I have dyslexia/literacy difficulties
Let the person making your referral know. They will pass this onto the programme. We will talk to you about how we can support you.
I think my partner would benefit from the programme - what do I do?
If you are working with a service currently, perhaps a social worker or Family Proceedings Adviser, or if your partner is working with the Probation Service, we would advise that you let the professional have this conversation. Speak to the professional and let them know your thoughts. You can do this in whatever way you feel most comfortable, be that by phone, email, or in person. Onlydo this if you feel able to have this conversation safely and independently.
Discussing domestic abuse can be incredibly difficult, and it is important to us that you are not placed at any increased risk by discussing access to the programme. We would advise against you speaking to your partner directly about Sarnia Programme without the prior advice and support of a professional.
We are working in partnership with Safer, a charity that provide support to those experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse. They are knowledgeable and supportive, and are happy to talk to any person who is looking for information or support. If you don't feel able to discuss the programme with a professional at this time, Safer are able to talk to you in a confidential, supportive and non-judgemental way.