Presentation on theme: "Domestic Violence Training for New Staff and Volunteers."— Presentation transcript:
Domestic Violence Training for New Staff and Volunteers
Exploring The context for our work Self care and other practices that sustain us What it means to experience domestic violence Perpetrators of domestic violence Responding to domestic violence–what we do Responding to domestic violence–how we do it Legal issues related to domestic violence
The context for our work Battered women Victims of violence Survivors Domestic violence Intimate partner violence Violence against women Family violence The language we use What does it mean to use inclusive language?
The context for our work Second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s. Influenced by the civil rights and anti-war movements. Used “battered women” to break through historic euphemisms. Consciousness-raising groups: a safe way to share experiences. Survivors created safe havens and communities of support. These led to the first publicly funded shelters for battered women and their children. The battered women’s movement
The roots of intimate partner violence Unequal power between men and women is the context in which heterosexual battering exists. It is also the context in which most Americans grow up. A relationship model in which one party holds greater power and control provides the foundation for GLBT battering. Unequal power
Patriarchy or male domination is the social structure underlying nearly every culture around the world. It dictates that men, by virtue of their gender, are entitled to control women and children. There are many different traditions in cultures around the world that keep women from attaining social and economic independence and thus maintain patriarchy. Violence against women is one of the most powerful of these. The roots of intimate partner violence Patriarchy—or male domination
The roots of intimate partner violence Racism in the United States continues to put communities of color at risk, disproportionately burdening them with unemployment, poverty, and poor health outcomes compared to white people. Risks may be exacerbated for families experiencing domestic violence. Racism
It has been observed that “the concept of human rights is one of the few moral visions ascribed to internationally.” Domestic violence violates the principles that lie at the heart of this moral vision: the inherent dignity and worth of all members of the human family, the inalienable right to freedom from fear and want, and the equal rights of men and women. The roots of intimate partner violence A violation of basic human rights
The roots of intimate partner violence The media portray family and community violence as commonplace, if not normative. One report estimates that a child who was two years old in 1993 would have witnessed 7,000 murders on television by seven years of age. That same child would have been exposed to 100,000 televised acts of interpersonal violence by high school graduation. Repeated exposure desensitizes viewers because the pain and other effects of violence are minimized or not shown. Impact of the media
The context for our work The battered women’s movement Domestic violence is rooted in gender inequality. A feminist, survivor-driven, empowerment-based movement A social justice and anti-oppression approach Institutional racism, classism, and homophobia reinforce unequal power in relationships. To end domestic violence, work for social justice and an end to institutional oppression. Approaches to domestic violence
The context for our work A human rights approach Domestic violence is a public (as opposed to private) issue requiring a public (as opposed to private) response. A public health approach Focuses on the prevalence, health impact, and societal costs of partner violence. Prevention is the key to responding to these impacts and costs. Approaches to domestic violence
Incorporating perspectives of survivors “I’m a formerly battered woman and a survivor of incest, and I’m not a victim and I’m not a client. I’m a woman in this struggle.” For Shelter and Beyond “Today I am more than a survivor.... I have learned to love others and myself...I continue on my healing journey and take great pride in who I am as an Indian and a lesbian. I advocate for women and children who have the right to be safe.” KJ, “Sharing My Story,” in Same-Sex Domestic Violence – Strategies for Change The context for our work
Men are working alongside women in organizations historically run and operated solely by women. Local and national campaigns Educate men and boys about domestic violence. Form alliances with battered women’s organizations. Work to create a future “with no violence against women.” The White Ribbon Campaign The roles of men
The context for our work Race, class, and culture impact the way people experience domestic violence. Our own race, class, and cultural experiences influence how we do the work. These are lifelong explorations. Some principles to guide our work
The context for our work We have been taught that there are naturally occurring and clear differences between people that describe distinct groups such as Black, White, and Asian. Science has shown that these beliefs and assumptions are incorrect. These beliefs serve no useful purpose but create false senses of separation and eventually false notions of superiority and inferiority. This is what racism is. Race and racism
If race is a myth, why not ignore it? Racially motivated stereotypes have given rise to inequalities that pose “the greatest barrier to equitable opportunities and results” for people of color in this country. These barriers can only be dismantled if we recognize their existence and work consciously to address them in all aspects of our work. Race Matters: How to Talk about Race, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Understanding racism Racism An ideological system of oppression...based upon unfounded beliefs (prejudices) about racial or ethnic inequality Prejudice An unjustifiable...attitude held by an individual or group toward another group and its members...usually based on unsupported generalizations (stereotypes) that deny recognition of individual members of the other group Privilege An invisible package of unearned advantages and benefits that people inherit based on their membership in a society’s dominant group Adapted from the Community Builder’s Tool Kit
Institutional racism Institutional racism refers to the differential access to the resources, goods, and services of society due to differential educational, financial, recreational, and social opportunities by racial identity. Given that mainstream domestic violence response models were based primarily on the experiences of white, middle class women, services and response systems may not be equally appropriate for, or available to, women, men, and children of color. The Boston Public Health Commission
Class issues The myth of upward mobility The American dream Economic success and social achievement are available to any one who follows the rules and works hard. The American reality Most children who are born to poor families remain poor all their lives. Children born into middle class families almost never move beyond that class.
An expansive definition of “culture”...the shared experiences that develop and evolve according to changing social and political landscapes. It includes race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, immigration, location, time, and other axes of identification understood within the historical context of oppression. Culture Handbook, the Family Violence Prevention Fund
Principles of culturally competent domestic violence services Be mindful of personal biases and prejudices. Recognize our own histories and our experiences in relation to those we serve. Acknowledge the power we have over the lives of those we serve. Celebrate the diverse values we bring to the work. Learn about the cultural contexts in which survivors meet us.
Reflecting on cultural complexity As a Black, lesbian, feminist, socialist, poet, mother of two including one boy and a member of an interracial couple, I usually find myself part of some group in which the majority defines me as deviant, difficult, inferior, or just plain ‘wrong.’ I simply do not believe that one aspect of myself can possibly profit from the oppression of any other part of my identity. From my membership in all of these groups I have learned that oppression and the intolerance of difference come in all shapes and sizes and colors and sexualities; and that among those of us who share the goals of liberation and a workable future for our children, there can be no hierarchies of oppression.” Audre Lorde
Prevention Provide community education on domestic violence and our services. Participate in community efforts to develop inclusive, holistic responses to intimate partner violence. Provide direct services to survivors in ways that educate and empower those we serve. How we work to prevent intimate partner violence
Prevention Help community members prioritize family violence. Support strategies that do not stigmatize people as “abused” or “abusers.” Remember that communities mobilize within their own cultural contexts. Explore ways to hold perpetrators accountable without relying too heavily on either the criminal justice or child welfare systems. Build the capacity of individuals to intervene with family members and friends. Preventing Family Violence: Community Engagement Makes the Difference Family Violence Prevention Fund A community-building perspective
Secondary traumatic stress STS [secondary traumatic stress]... is a normal and universal response to abnormal (violence induced)... events. The enduring or negative effects of this response, however, can be prevented from developing into a disorder (STSD). Janet Yassen, “Preventing Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder,” in Compassion Fatigue, Coping with Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder in Those Who Treat the Traumatized
Secondary traumatic stress Decreased energy Disconnection Numbing Hopelessness Cynicism Anger Nightmares The nature of the work Personal history Current life events Fear of the unknown Cumulative exposure Signs Contributing factors
Secondary traumatic stress disorder The price we pay if we do not attend to secondary traumatic stress: Compassion fatigue Burnout
Preventing secondary traumatic stress disorder Physical activities Psychological or emotional care Attention to our spiritual needs that promote a feeling of well-being that promotes mental balance to remind us of our connections to nature and to people Engaging in social activism Practicing self care
Boundaries are unspoken limits in relationships between those who provide services and those who receive services. Maintaining boundaries gives those we serve a real sense of safety—they can focus completely on their own needs. Boundaries remind us that our power to guarantee safety is limited—the survivor is in charge of her or his life. Boundaries remind us of the power differential that is inherent in our relationships with survivors—they help keep the power in balance. Preventing secondary traumatic stress disorder Maintaining boundaries
Quality supervision helps prevent STSD: When it is prioritized and guaranteed. When it provides ongoing and structured support. When it helps us to be accountable for our work on behalf of others and to ourselves. Preventing secondary traumatic stress disorder Receiving quality supervision
What it means to experience domestic violence In some ways, the experience of domestic violence is universal. In some ways the experience of domestic violence is particular to the communities and cultures in which the violence strikes. Understanding this is a cornerstone of an empowering and trauma-informed response.
Defining domestic violence Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviors that one person uses over another to gain power and control. Domestic violence exists along a continuum that includes: Verbal abuse Emotional and psychological abuse Physical abuse Sexual abuse
Types of abuse Constant criticism Belittling of one's abilities and competency Insults Put downs Name calling Verbal abuse Verbal abuse takes many forms Threats Direct threats of harm to the victim Threats to harm or leave with the children Threats to relatives or friends
Types of abuse Emotional, mental, and psychological abuse Controlling access to friends, school, work, or family Forced isolation and imprisonment Intimidation Using and manipulating a person’s fear of physical harm Threats to harm others Threats of suicide Emotional, mental, and psychological abuse include:
Types of abuse Slapping Hitting Biting, Kicking Punching Use of objects to inflict pain and injury Choking Pushing Physical abuse Physical abuse includes: inflicting, attempting to inflict, or threats to inflict physical injury, such as: Physical abuse is almost always coupled with verbal and emotional abuse.
Types of abuse Unwanted fondling Rape Oral or anal sodomy Treating a person in a sexually derogatory manner Forced pregnancy or abortion Inappropriate touch Intercourse Attacks on sexual areas of the body Use of objects or weapons The withholding of contraceptive methods Sexual abuse Sexual abuse includes any sexual contact without consent or any exploitive or coercive sexual contact
Teen dating violence Reciprocal use of non-sexual violence among teens appears to be common. Teen females sustain much more sexual violence than teen males. The more community violence, the more likely there is to be dating violence against female teens. GLBT youth in same-sex dating relationships are as likely as heterosexual youth to experience dating violence. As minors, teens face barriers to accessing confidential services.
Domestic violence among elders The longer the relationship the harder it can be to imagine a life apart from the batterer. Judges may hesitate to order an elderly perpetrator to leave the family residence. Adult children may conspire to protect the parent batterer and/or minimize the impact of the violence. Our elder protective services law mandates reporting of suspected abuse of an elder by a caretaker. Shelter services for frail abused elders may not be adequate to meet elders' needs for accessible services.
Trafficking and sex work Individuals who have been forced into sex work have needs similar to those who survive sexual and domestic violence. Many have had to endure extreme forms of physical and mental abuse—including rape, torture, and starvation. Violence is the norm for those in prostitution.
Violence against people with disabilities Personal caregivers can abuse people with disabilities in unique ways. They might: Withhold medication, personal care, or medical equipment. Refuse to fix meals or feed the person. Withhold access to communication such as interpreters and TTY. Dependence on the perpetrator can increase vulnerability. A person with disabilities may be economically dependent on the abuser. Accessible shelter can be difficult (or impossible) to locate.
Domestic violence in GLBT communities The threat to reveal the partner's orientation to family or to an employer can result in job loss and the destruction of life-long relationships. Historic homo/bi/transphobia of law enforcement can leave GLBT victims of violence believing that the police will not help them to secure safety. Courts do not necessarily enforce laws uniformly —though gay and lesbian people have some legal rights. Knowing this, many GLBT people hesitate to turn to the legal system for protection from abuse.
Domestic violence in communities of color This country’s history of violence against communities of color can leave victims of violence doubting whether that system is able or willing to respond to violence perpetrated by one person of color against another. Black women who are battered may find themselves in an exceptionally difficult position within the Black community. “The images and expectations of African-American women are actually both super- and sub-human. This conflict has created myths and stereotypes that cause confusion about our own identity and make us targets for abuse.” Evelyn C. White, Chain Chain Change
Domestic violence in immigrant communities Legal protection Immigrants too often assume that the law is not available to protect them from abuse. Distrust of government and law enforcement Some immigrants have come to the U.S. following experiences of brutality in their countries of origin. They may be deeply distrustful of government in general and of law enforcement in particular.
Fear of deportation Fear can keep a non-citizen victim of violence from seeking help. Language and culture Domestic violence agencies/organizations may not have staff or volunteers who are able to connect with a person whose first language is other than English and whose first culture is other than North American. Domestic violence in immigrant communities
Common myths about domestic violence Drugs and/or alcohol cause abuse to occur. Stress (problems at work, financial problems, and so forth) causes abuse. Only people of color and poor people are abusive in intimate relationships. When violence happens in relationships, the victim has usually provoked it. Abuse is a momentary loss of control. Abuse rarely results in serious injury. Abuse in an intimate relationship is a private matter and others should not interfere. There is no such thing as marital rape.
Challenges to leaving a violent relationship Leaving can be dangerous The hope for change is strong Isolation Societal denial Economic dependence Threats of retaliation Leaving is a process
Domestic violence and sexual assault Sexual assault is any sexual activity that is forced or coerced. Rape, as defined by Massachusetts law, has three elements: There must be penetration. There must be force or the threat of force. The act must be against the will of the victim. Sexual assault is one of the ways in which perpetrators abuse their partners—it is not separate from domestic violence. The fact that the vast majority of sexual assault survivors know the perpetrator means that sexual assault is a common component of intimate partner violence.
Society's myths and misconceptions about sexual assault are pervasive When rape happens it usually happens to someone who is in some way to blame. Women secretly fantasize about being raped. Once a man is sexually aroused, he is unable to control himself. These myths are part of the complex dynamics contributing to a victim's belief that reporting rape is a fruitless undertaking.
The impact of domestic violence on adults who are battered They have fear of being battered again. Economic dependence keeps victims in abusive relationships. Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, more significant that auto accidents, rapes, or muggings. Psychological harms include: Low self-esteem Depression Post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD)
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) PTSD is caused by an overwhelming life experience that is not digestible—physically, emotionally, or spiritually—and that impacts the body, the mind, and the spirit.
Post traumatic stress disorder Recurring nightmares Intrusive and frightening thoughts that can occur anytime Extreme emotional and/or physical reactions (chills, heart palpitations, panic) Hyper vigilance—always being on edge Feeling emotionally detached and withdrawn Inability to concentrate Feeling jumpy and being easily startled Symptoms
Post traumatic stress disorder May have a hard time being loving family members. May avoid activities, places, and people associated with the traumatic event. May be so emotionally drained that they have trouble with basic daily functioning. Emotional consequences Survivors with PTSD
Individuals with PTSD may try to avoid situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. For some trauma survivors avoidance takes the form of seeking distractions that enable them to avoid thinking about the traumatic event. Numbing is a common strategy for avoiding the possibility of having to re-live the traumatic events that caused PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder Avoidance and numbing
FLASHBACKS Imagine experiencing the most terrifying horror movie you’ve ever seen playing over and over in your mind. You can’t make the images go away……..
Dealing with flashbacks: some ways to help Gently remind the person that this is a flashback, that the actual event is over, and that she or he has survived. Encourage slow breathing, focusing on the inhalation and the exhalation. (When there is panic, the body takes short, shallow breaths, leading to a decrease in oxygen and heightened anxiety. Increasing the oxygen in our system by slow breathing helps reduce anxiety.) Gently urge the person to return to the present by looking around and taking note of the colors in the room, listening to the sounds that arise and pass away.
Depression Depression is one of the most common consequences of domestic violence. Depression is NOT the result of laziness, weakness, personal failure, or lack of will power.
Symptoms of depression Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells. Loss of energy or persistent fatigue or lethargy. Significant change in sleep patterns (insomnia, sleeping too much, fitful sleep). Loss of interest and pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, social withdrawal. Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness. Thoughts of death or suicide.
Suicide Suicide is neither an illness nor a condition. It is a complex set of behaviors that exists on a continuum, from ideas to actions.
Warning signs of suicide Withdrawing from social contact. Wide mood swings, from emotional highs to deep lows. Preoccupation with death and dying. Talking about suicide, including making such statements as "I'm going to kill myself,“ or "I wish I were dead.” Risky or self-destructive behavior, such as drug use or unsafe driving. Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order. Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again.
Questions to ask someone considering suicide Are you thinking about dying? Are you thinking about hurting yourself? Are you thinking about suicide? Have you thought about how you would do it? Do you know when you would do it? Do you have the means to do it? Direct questions are best.
Complex PTSD Complex PTSD is a result of repeated or chronic infliction of traumatic violence. Victims have enormous difficulty coping or responding to offers of assistance.
Complex PTSD Feelings of extreme disconnection Fundamental changes in relationships to others Fundamental changes in basic belief systems Radical changes in self-perception Altered perceptions of the perpetrator Some signs and symptoms Victims are often diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mental illnesses. Addictive substances provide an escape from the pain.
Impact of domestic violence on children Children in homes where domestic violence occurs are physically abused or neglected at a rate 15 times the national average. Children exposed to the battering of their parents suffer the same harm and display the same symptoms as children who are actually abused. If untreated, trauma of this degree may thread its way into adulthood, appearing as emotional instability; the formation of volatile relationships; lagging work productivity; substance abuse; and inconsistent, if not abusive, parenting styles. The majority of studies of abusive men find that a high percentage of them come from homes in which there was abuse of a spouse, a child, or both.
Impact of domestic violence on children A sober look at our world reveals... all too many children struggling to move forward, but [who] are being diverted, or even blocked by the adults who surround them.... Abused women and front-line staff in shelters have spoken out for over a quarter century about violence in the lives of women and children. Gradually, social scientists have 'validated' these observations with increasing evidence that witnessing violence is neither a benign nor passive event. Violence and the misuse of power and control may gradually traumatize even the most resilient of hearts and minds among our children.... [It is] our strong belief that stopping violence and healing from its effects are possible only through a coordinated, multi-system response. Peled, Jaffe, and Edleson, Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to the Children of Battered Women
Perpetrators of intimate partner violence Characteristics of perpetrators ■ An inflated attitude of entitlement that manifests as a tendency to dominate not only intimate partners but others as well ■ Possessiveness toward a partner and/or possessions, which appears as intense jealousy ■ A tendency to be easily offended and an explosive temper, with the result that relatively minor disagreements can rapidly escalate ■ Generally low self-esteem
Perpetrators of intimate partner violence Brother, I don't want to hear about how my real enemy is the system. i'm no genius, but I do know that system you hit me with is called a fist. Pat Parker
Batterer intervention vs. anger management Addresses general violence. The targeted violence tends to be characterized as a momentary outburst. Focuses on simply managing one's behavior. Is designed to focus on perpetrators of intimate partner violence. The targeted violence is a pattern of behavior that uses violence to achieve control over one person by another. Focuses ultimately on changing belief systems. Anger management: Batterer intervention:
Perpetrators as parents There is a high correlation between partner abuse and abuse of children. Batterers often use children as pawns in their efforts to control and torment their partners.
Perpetrators as parents Conduct family-centered safety planning. It takes into account the batterer's behavior toward the children. Collaborate with batterer intervention programs. The implications for services
Crisis intervention skills The ability to listen fully and attentively Listen with empathy, respect, and acceptance and without interrupting. The ability to assess the situation Understand the caller’s level of crisis and help to clarify the situation so that the caller can make action decisions. The ability to support action Support the caller’s effort to examine alternatives and settle on one or more action steps.
SafeLink (at Casa Myrna Vazquez) (877) Confidential response 24/7/365. In English, Spanish, and Portuguese with access to TTY and translation services through on-call specialists at the ATT Language Line. Safety planning Direct linkage to emergency shelter Resource linkage to supportive services such as counseling and legal advocacy Statewide, toll-free, domestic violence hotline
Danger assessment instrument The Danger Assessment was developed by Dr. Jacquelyne C. Campbell in 1986 with consultation from battered women, shelter workers, law enforcement officials, and other clinical experts on battering. It includes a 20-item instrument that uses a weighted scoring system to count yes/no responses of risk factors associated with intimate partner homicide. The Danger Assessment is available as a free download at
Advocacy Providing information and support to a person who is working to achieve self-defined goals Taking action to achieve specific goals
Empowerment Empowerment is a process that supports a survivor’s intrinsic inner awareness, strength, and capacity to gain the skills and knowledge needed to exercise positive power in her or his life. The empowerment model assumes that every survivor has personal and community strengths that can be summoned in support of safety and recovery from the effects of domestic violence.
Trauma informed services “Trauma informed services” refers to a way of responding to survivors that takes into account the likelihood that those who seek services will have experienced (or will still be struggling with) a depth of intimate partner violence that causes trauma. Trauma informed services respond to the specific experiences and needs of survivors.
Empowerment counseling Empowerment counseling invests survivors with self-confidence and authority to act by offering support, resources, advocacy, information, and education. The goal... is to equalize power between a survivor and a counselor thereby enabling shared growth. Susan Schecter
Empowerment counseling skills Non-verbal communication and attending skills The ability to reflect content The ability to reflect feelings Clarification and problem identification skills The ability to educate and share information
Mandatory reporting Any [mandated reporter] who in his [or her] professional capacity shall have reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen year is suffering serious physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him [or her]...or from neglect including malnutrition... shall immediately report such condition to the [Department of Children and Families]…. Mass. General Laws, Chapter 119, Section 51A
Massachusetts General Laws As used in this chapter the following words shall have the following meanings: “Abuse”, the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members: (a) attempting to cause or causing physical harm; (b) placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; (c) causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress. Chapter 209A, Abuse Prevention Section 1. Definitions