Appeal as 'essential' Leeds domestic abuse service loses premises

Kathy Grogan founded STOP (Start Treating Others Positively) nearly 30 years ago.
Kathy Grogan founded STOP (Start Treating Others Positively) nearly 30 years ago.
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A woman who runs a voluntary group for domestic abusers who want to reform their behaviour is searching for a new space to operate before they lose their premises.

Kathy Grogan founded STOP (Start Treating Others Positively) nearly 30 years ago but after funding dried up in 2014 she has run a reduced service at a room offered by an organisation on Duncan Street.

Kathy Grogan.

Kathy Grogan.

That donor is losing one of its floors, meaning STOP will be without a premises from the end of Wednesday.

Ms Grogan, 69, stressed that she is not asking for money – just a space, ideally between Leeds Station and City Square, for groups to meet and work through their behaviour.

She helps people who have perpetrated domestic, psychological, emotional, financial, violent, sexual and spiritual abuse to change their ways. People volunteer to attend.

Ms Grogan said: “Sooner or later you have to go to the root of the problem, which is who is doing the damage. Working with perpetrators is essential.”

She believes that the effects improve life not only for them but their partner and children.

“It really makes a difference because there’s nowhere else for them to go,” she said.

“If you want help with this problem [normally], you have to go to court and be convicted for abuse before you go on a court-mandated programme”.

She added: “I always know when they’ve woken up.

“You can see the light go on. They think, oh my God, that’s what I used to be like.”

One member, who had been verbally abusing his wife and children and did end up in court, anonymously told the YEP how he got his family back after starting STOP sessions four years ago.

He said: “Without Kathy, I think some of us would be locked up.

“I got my family back because of Kathy. That was my life. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.”

The member now helps newcomers change their behaviour - and tells of the moment they realise their actions were wrong.

He said: “You feel rotten, you cry to be honest. You feel right down and you think ‘Is that me?’ It’s like looking in the mirror and thinking ‘I don’t want to be that person’.”

He fears current members could go “downhill” again unless a new place is found.

Anyone who can offer the group a space is asked to contact Ms Grogan at kathygrogan@hotmail.com.

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