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Survivor-Centered Advocacy Institute: Intake and Assessment Strategies Presented by the U. S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women in.

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Presentation on theme: "Survivor-Centered Advocacy Institute: Intake and Assessment Strategies Presented by the U. S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Survivor-Centered Advocacy Institute: Intake and Assessment Strategies Presented by the U. S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women in partnership with The Legal Assistance Providers’ Technical Outreach Project September 18-19, 2006 Pittsburgh, PA

2 LGBT Assessment Emely Ortiz, Lead Victim Advocate Domestic Violence Legal Advocacy Project LA Gay & Lesbian Center

3 What does LGBTIQQA mean?  Lesbian – A woman who is predominately or exclusively attracted to women emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually.  Gay – A term identifying a man who is predominantly or exclusively attracted to men emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually.  Bisexual – A term identifying a person who is attracted to men and women emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or sexually.  Transgender – An umbrella term used to describe a continuum of individuals whose gender identity and how its expressed, to varying degrees, does not correspond to their biological sex.  Intersex – A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. Ex: a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside.  Queer – (1) an umbrella term used to refer to the entire LGBTQQ community. (2) A term identifying individuals that identify as a sexual minority. (3) A term that some straight allies use to self-identify, acknowledging their connection to the community, based upon shared values, supportive behavior, commitment to social change etc…which isn’t contingent on their own sexual identity  Questioning – Someone questioning their sexual or gender identity  Ally- A person who supports the efforts and rights of the LGBTIQ community.  NOTE  An ally doesn’t self-identify. Someone from the community – any community – identifies who their allies are…

4 Transgender defined Transgender – An umbrella term used to describe a continuum of individuals whose gender identity and how its expressed, to varying degrees, does not correspond to their biological sex. Female to Male (FTM) – a person born female who transitions to live and identify full time as a male/man. Male to Female (MTF) – a person born male who transitions to live and identify full time as a female/woman. Transsexual – A person who has gone through any part of the process of Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS). Cross-dresser – person who wears clothing opposite their assigned gender, usually not all the time. Does not identify as the opposite gender identity. Drag Queen – person, sometimes gay men, impersonating famous females, usually for performance. Drag King – person, sometimes lesbians, impersonating famous males, usually for performance.

5 Heterosexism & Heterocentrism  Heterosexism is a belief that male/female sexuality is the only natural or moral mode of sexual behavior.  Heterocentrism is an assumption (often subconscious) that everyone is heterosexual, and the attitudes associated with assumption.  Heterocentrism often shows up in less intentional ways in every day life. For instance, when a woman says she is going on a date, many people will ask, “What’s his name?” or “Is he cute?” assuming it is a heterosexual date. Nevertheless, these people may not have anything against same-sex dating.

6 Advocacy Challenges Experiences of LGBT survivors reaching out to mainstream programs has been fraught with challenges: 1. Being ‘ outed ’ by shelter staff 2. Being asked to expose genitalia in order to determine their gender 3. Physical assaults by shelter residents 4. Being denied safety & shelter due to gender 5. Being ostracized and harassed by shelter staff 6. Shelter staff turning a blind eye to homo/bi/transphobic attacks on LGBT residents 7. Denial of restraining order - minimization of relationships by judges, advocates, attorneys Example: Being told by a judge, “ You two girls just need to stay away from one another. Is it that hard to just be friends? No more catfights girls! ”

7 LGBT Inclusiveness How do you determine if your program is prepared to assist an LGBT client? - Organizational commitment - Training, training, training - staff, volunteers - Zero tolerance in regards to homo/bi/+ on the part of staff, volunteers and clients clients Things to keep in mind: We cannot pick and choose who our survivors are - regardless of sexual orientation, race, age, ability, gender identity, lifestyle or religion - survivors are in need of assistance. As advocates - we have a RESPONSIBILITY & A COMMITMENT to assist survivors. As advocates - we are accountable to those we serve. If we judge survivors, we too are judged. Our credibility is based on our interactions with clients. Questions to consider: What is our commitment to underserved and marginalized communities? Is our organizational structure a reflection of the larger community?

8 Simple changes we can make 1. Gender neutral language. 2. If someone identifies as transgender, asking the simple question, “ Which pronoun do you prefer? ” & using it. 3. Never assume someone is out. 4. Never assume that the more ‘ masculine ’ partner is the abuser. 5. Please don ’ t “ Quiz the Queer Kid ” 1. When did you come out? 2. Was it hard? 3. How did you know? 4. When did you know?

9 “You fight like a girl!” - Feet hammered while asleep. - Feet hammered while asleep. - Arm wrenched out of socket. - Arm wrenched out of socket. - Eardrum ruptured by blows to the head with a shovel. - Eardrum ruptured by blows to the head with a shovel. - Gunshot wound to shoulder - not allowed to seek medical assistance for hours. - Gunshot wound to shoulder - not allowed to seek medical assistance for hours. - Brutal, vicious beatings lasting up to 12 hours. - Brutal, vicious beatings lasting up to 12 hours. - Forced to kneel on broken glass. - Forced to kneel on broken glass. As an advocate - if you heard that this was happening to someone at the hands of their partner, would you want to assist? What if she was a lesbian? What if he was gay? What if he or she were transgender? Bisexual? What stops us? Where does our fear/judgment stop & our instinct to assist kick in?

10 True or False? Battering in LGBT communities isn’t as serious an issue as in heterosexual communities. Current research confirms that battering is just as prevalent (occurring in 25-33% of relationships) and just as dangerous among LGBT folks as among heterosexuals. LGBT batterers subject their partner to physical, emotional, sexual and economic abuse ranging from manipulation to murder. While many LGBT folks believe that they don’t know anyone who is being battered, that has more to do with a lack of awareness of battering in our communities that it has to do with actual frequency and severity LGBT domestic violence GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool, 2002

11 True or False? Battering only happens in butch/femme couples, and it’s the butch who’s abusive. Battering happens in all kinds of relationships. Batterers as well as those who are battered may not be into roles at all, or they may identify as butch, femme or androgynous. There are batterers who are not butch, and butches who do not batter. There are survivors who are not femme and there are femmes who are not battered. There are also femmes who batter. You can’t tell who’s a batterer or who’s battered just by looking. Battering is not about role or gender identity any more than it’s about size or strength – it’s about control, and anyone with the desire and willingness to do whatever it takes to control their partner. GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool, 2002

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13 Screening While sources of oppression such as disability status, class, race, physical strength, gender, gender identity, or age can be contributing factors to an imbalance of power in a relationship, no one factor or group of factors will indicate who is the abusive partner. Indeed, a partner who has an overwhelmingly more powerful status, yet who is unwilling to abuse that power, can be the victim of a partner of a less powerful status who is willing to act abusively to gain power and control. GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool, 2002

14 Screening Reasons to Screen  Ensuring appropriate services.  Safety – survivor/other program participants/staff:  Shelter safety  Abusers have learned how to access the system  Distinguish between acts of abuse and self-defense.  Affords the advocate an opportunity to evaluate the dynamics of the relationship

15 Our Goal Differentiation/Screening The Abuse The Relationship Example: --been together 8 years --have a joint account --domestic partnership --two children --no second-parent adoption The Abuse --Emotional --Financial --Physical --Verbal --Cultural --Sexual Differentiation/Screening Whose who?

16 There are no checklists… There are no rules, no guarantees, no assumptions that you can make about the person standing in front of you or whom you are listening to on the phone. Screening is about: Asking questions Asking questions Listening Listening Asking more questions Asking more questions Listening to the answers behind the answers Listening to the answers behind the answers …and then asking more questions …and then asking more questions

17 Categories of Questions General  This is where we have an opportunity to discover what has brought the person in to seek services and support.  General questions allow us to explore the history of the relationship. Example: Can you tell me about your relationship? Was there an incident that brought you in today? Do you feel like these types of incidences are common in this relationship?

18 Questions about the abuse & behavior When we screen people, one word that comes up time and time again… CONTEXT

19 Context What are the fights about? What are they like? Where and when do they happen? Is there any name-calling? Has there been physical violence by either person? What was happening at that time? This is the skeletal frame for our assessment.

20 Questions to assist in identifying patterns Part of the initial assessment is spent looking for patterns of control. Oftentimes, survivors will not see the systematic behaviors or patterns that are taking place. Sample questions: How are decisions made in the relationship? How do disagreements get resolved? What kinds of activities do you and your partner engage in separately? Do you have contact with family & friends? How does your partner act when you’re upset? How do you act when you’re upset? If you share money in any way, how was that decision made? What are the good times like?

21 5 Components to Screening +1 #1 TRAINING The following is a brief overview of screening and is not meant to replace a more thorough Screening training which addresses the subtleties of analysis used in conducting a screening. Screening training also assists in developing skills in interviewing and analysis.

22 5 Components Context, Intent, Effect Context, Intent, Effect Agency Agency Empathy Empathy Entitlement Entitlement Assertion of Will Assertion of Will GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool, 2002

23 Context/Intent/Effect Context – In which the behavior occurred Intent – of its use Effect – of the behavior GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool,2002

24 Agency The act of making decisions for oneself. GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool,2002

25 Empathy A survivor will often empathize with their partner’s feelings, opinions or reactions given circumstances such as family illness, trouble at work or other stressors. Abusers frequently have difficulty empathizing with the emotional experience of the victim in similar circumstances. GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool,2002

26 Entitlement Entitlement is an attitude, which is created by a lack of empathy, and it allows someone to assert their will over others (in this case, their partner). GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool,2002

27 Assertion of Will Are there repeated instances where one partner has voiced their desire to do something and the other disapproved? Then, despite the disapproval, has the first partner proceeded ahead with his/her desired course of action? GLBT Domestic Violence Coalition, Boston MA Intimate Partner Screening Tool,2002

28 Training Resources for the Intimate Partner Abuse Screening Tool Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project (617) 354-6056 support@gmdvp.org The Network/La Red: Ending abuse in lesbian, bisexual women’s and transgender communities (617) 695-0877 info@thenetworklared.org The Violence Recovery Program, Fenway Community Health (617) 927-6250


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