Outreach Services

Not all women need refuge; some may require support attending court or may just want to talk to women in similar situations to get more information on how to deal with the abuse. For a majority of women, coming into the Refuge is just not an option due to work commitments or other family circumstances. By providing a service within a setting suitable to the clients needs, it allows them to continue normal day to day living while dealing with the abuse with outside support.

The aim of the Outreach Service is to offer support and information in the community to women experiencing abuse. Rather than having to leave home to come into Refuge, the outreach worker will work with the woman in her own home if it’s safe to do so or in an alternative place suitable to the woman. The Outreach Service offers a broad range of supports for its clients:

The Court Accompaniment Service
This service ensures that clients do not have to face the legal system alone when seeking Protection, Barring, Safety Custody or Maintenance Orders. By developing a close link with the court service in Trim, the outreach worker is available when the court is sitting to support women applying for court orders. Although the judiciary is understanding of the nervousness of people attending court in family law application, it still remains nerve-racking for clients. An added difficulty for women can also come when applying for protection orders, as they are scheduled for the afternoon, putting pressure on women with school-going children. Where possible, the MWR will provide childcare.

Information or Referral

Clients are provided with information on, or referral to, appropriate agencies. Supporting the woman through the process is the main focus of our Outreach Service.

The Weekly Support Group
This Support Group offers a great opportunity for women to meet other women and discuss their experiences; how they have coped with either leaving the situation completely, or continuing in the relationship, with or without legal action. Childcare facilities are provided to the women attending the group. This is a very important element as it is seldom that the women get a chance to address issues of concern to them without interruption.

One to One Support
One to one support is provided 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. This can range from being available for a distressed woman’s call about recent abuse to helping an overburdened mother with related issues.


The Pattern Changing Programme was developed in the U.S. in 1984, as a response designed to address the problem of domestic violence. It became clear through a lot of research that what was needed to help women through this issue was assertiveness rather than counselling. Pattern Changing came into being through attentive listening to the expressed needs of women in abusive relationships, and a deep commitment to attempt to fill those needs. Pattern Changing is an educational group programme designed to address the problems of abuse.


Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services believes that if a woman is not to be a chronic victim of domestic abuse she must possess a three-fold foundation of:

Rights, Boundaries, and Assertiveness.

The structure of the programme is based on the expressed needs of women and incorporates:

  • A comprehensive educational programme for women
  • Group support and counselling if required

It will consist of a two-hour session once a week. It involves fifteen sessions for up to ten women. The sessions will include a balance between a structural educational programme and a time for sharing and support from each other in the group. Pattern Changing is not group therapy, clients who are not already in counselling, but through their involvement in the programme now feel they need to speak to a counsellor, can be referred to one by the programme facilitator.


The programme will cover the following topics:

  1. Your rights and the impact of abuse.
  2. Family roles and abuse, why is it so hard to leave?
  3. The dysfunctional childhood legacy.
  4. Boundaries and good-byes to old patterns.
  5. About feelings: Grief, fear, and guilt.
  6. More about feelings: Anger.
  7. Boundary setting using assertiveness skills {1} Myth and Reality
  8. Boundary setting {2} Techniques.
  9. Boundary setting {requests and authority figures}
  10. Boundary setting {Pratice}
  11. Setting realistic goals.
  12. New patterns of decision making.
  13. Healthy relationships.
  14. Changed patterns.
  15. Endings and beginnings.

The primary goals of the programme are:

To provide a safe, challenging and supportive environment in which interactive learning can occur.

To provide an understanding of the abuse problem

To allow victims of abuse to see in clear perspective the negative childhood patterns and their legacies to the adult victim.

To introduce practical tools for changing these patterns.

To identify the problem {the abuse} and to correct it.

The Goals of this Programme are:

  • For women to understand abuse and its realities for the entire family
  • To become aware of their life long patterns
  • To set realistic goals
  • To learn new techniques for developing new patterns of there own choosing.

Pattern Changing offers education, support and practice in developing skills and techniques for positive change. The group experience is a critical factor in the success of the programme. It permits women in an abusive relationship to meet others in the same situation, and relieves the feeling of total isolation which so many women in abusive relationships experience. They encourage one another in the learning process and share the challenge of change as well as drawing strength and determination from one another.


This programme is offered by Meath Women’s Refuge and Support Services, as part of its Outreach Services. If you wish to find out more about this program please contact

Christine Devlin


Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Meath Women’s Refuge and Support services

Tel: 046- 9022393.