Working with Underserved or Marginalized Survivors

Incorporating population-specific information is instrumental in shaping programs that are sensitive, responsive, and effective.

= web resource    = downloadable file

From Organizational Culture to Survivor Outcomes: A Process And Outcome Evaluation Of The District Alliance For Safe Housing

2016
Nkiru Nnawulezi

The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) is a large, community-based organization located in Washington, D.C. It aims to provide services that promote self-determination, autonomy and safety for all survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, sex trafficking, same-sex IPV, and homelessness. DASH also engages in systems advocacy to increase survivors’ safe housing options throughout the housing continuum. DASH uses low-barrier, voluntary, trauma-informed approaches to service delivery in order to enact their core beliefs:integrity, sovereignty, empowerment, accountability, partnerships, compassion, and re-centering. In 2013, evaluators from Michigan State University’s Research Consortium on Gender Based Violence collaborated with DASH to implement a process and outcome evaluation of DASH's program model. This document summarizes their findings.

The Washington State Domestic Violence Housing First Program: Cohort 2 Agencies Final Evaluation Report

2015
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

WSCADV's Domestic Violence Housing First (DVHF) program was designed to eliminate housing as a reason for survivors to stay in abusive relationships by providing flexible advocacy. This approach gave survivors of domestic violence the ability to establish a home and the freedom to choose how best to rebuild their lives. Permanent housing was the beginning of their new journey. The first phase of the DVHF program began with a cohort of four domestic violence agencies. The second phase, known as Cohort 2, expanded the program to nine additional agencies. Cohort 2 agencies served survivors with higher barriers to housing, including those living in rural, tribal, immigrant, and culturally specific communities.

2013 Advocates' Guide to Housing and Community Development Policy

2013
National Low Income Housing Coalition

The National Low Income Housing Coalition publishes this guide in order to educate advocates of all kinds about the programs and policies that make housing affordable to low income people. The Guide includes an orientation to affordable housing and community development programs, explains how affordable housing works and why it is needed, and provides vital information to guide organizations and individuals in their advocacy efforts. Also includes information about the core affordable housing programs and policies that make housing and community development programs work on the ground.

Responding to the Call for Safe Housing

2012
District Alliance for Safe Housing

DASH was established in response to the shortage of basic housing services for survivors in the District of Columbia. This report chronicles the progress achieved over a fine-year period in DASH's primary goals: 1. Increase the supply of safe emergency, transitional, and supportive permanent housing for all domestic violence survivors and their children; 2. Build the capacity of all existing housing programs for women in the District, to be safe housing programs for survivors; and 3. Provide domestic violence training to staff at nonresidential programs serving diverse and specific populations.

A Call for Safe Housing: A Report on the Need for Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors in the District of Columbia

2007
District Alliance for Safe Housing

From June to August 2007, DASH set out to understand the dynamics that impact domestic violence survivors and their search for safe housing. DASH conducted focus groups with both survivors and providers to hear firsthand some of the obstacles to securing safe affordable housing. This report chronicles their findings and provides recommendations for change.

Tips for Using Video Conferencing for Victim Services

2015
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

Videoconferencing can be a good option because it provides survivors with an alternative way to meet with a provider or counselor. Additional benefits include increasing accessibility and allowing survivors to talk to advocates who have expertise in whatever service the survivor needs, such as being able to speak the same language or understand the survivor’s cultural background. Using video conferencing can also save money and provide high quality contact for those who are unable to travel to the program’s location due to lack of transportation or because they live too far from the program. Video contact also can be more personal than a phone call or email.

National Housing Law Project: Trainings and Webinars

National Housing Law Project

The National Housing Law Project provides webinars and trainings on a variety of topics relevant to programs working to provide safe housing for survivors. This link allows access to recorded versions and powerpoint slides of trainings on housing rights and protections for survivors, VAWA 2013 housing provisions, subsidized housing, credit and housing access, and many more.

Working with Older Survivors of Abuse: A Framework for Advocates

2016
Bonnie Brandl
National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life

Abuse in later life victims may benefit from services offered by domestic violence and sexual assault programs, such as crisis lines, emergency shelter, transitional housing, support groups, peer support, and legal and economic advocacy. This report will help in the assessment of existing services and offer guidance to enhance response to older victims. The document contains links to videos of subject matter experts discussing key concepts.

Reclaiming What is Sacred: Addressing Harm to Indigenous Elders and Developing a Tribal Response to Abuse in Later Life

2015
Lauren Litton
Vicki Ybenez

In 2015, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) hosted a listening session with representatives from tribal governments and service providers and those that work closely with tribes, tribal domestic violence coalitions and federal responders. The gathering was an opportunity for Native people to inform the field about what abuse in later life looks like in tribal communities and how to address it. This report contains potential strategies, additional resources, and tools to enhance conversation and planning.

Older Survivors & Economic Security

2013
Wider Opportunities for Women

This Population Policy Brief focuses on the victimization, costs of abuse and barriers to safety and recovery that older survivors experience. The Office of Violence Against Women defines older survivors as those over 50 years of age. This recognizes that older adults, who are largely past their reproductive years but are too young for services available to seniors, are particularly vulnerable due to a lack of programs and supports targeting this population. Include discussion of strategies and solutions.

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life

Seventy-seven million baby boomers are aging and people 85 and older, the fastest growing segment of the population, are disproportionately women. These demographic trends have significant implications for victimization, safety, suffering, health, and well-being of tens of millions of older Americans. Through advocacy and education, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) works everyday to improve victim safety, increase abuser accountability, expand coordinated community response, and ultimately, put an end to abuse in later life.

Linking the Roads: Working with Youth Who Experience Homelessness & Sexual Violence

2014
National Sexual Violence Resource Center

This guide focuses on adapting advocacy skills to help young people who experience homelessness and sexual violence build resiliency and lessen their traumas. It has three aims: (a) to provide an overview for the intersections between identity, trauma experiences, and resiliency among youth who are homeless; (b) to highlight core skills and techniques for advocates; and (c) to discuss how to tailor these skills in order to improve services for youth who identify as LGBTQ.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness

2006
Nicholas Ray
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Between 3 percent and 5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual, yet research suggests that between 20 percent and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). This reality prompted the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (the Task Force), in collaboration with the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), to produce this publication. Through a comprehensive review of the available academic research and professional literature, the question as to why so many LGBT youth are becoming and remaining homeless is addressed. This paper also reports on the harassment and violence that many of these youth experience in the shelter system and summarizes research on critical problems affecting them, including mental health issues, substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. The federal government’s response to youth homelessness is analyzed, including the specific impact on LGBT homeless youth of increased federal funding for faith-based service providers. Five social service agencies detail model programs designed to improve service delivery to LGBT homeless youth.

Homeless, Runaway & Throwaway Youth: Sexual Victimization and the Consequences of Life on the Streets

2004
Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

This edition of WCSAP's Research and Advocacy Digest is devoted to homeless and runaway youth. Topics include their exposure to violence while living on the streets, sexual victimization, antecedents to running away from home, challenges faced by LGBTQ homeless youth, and resilience.

Review of the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative Planning Phase

2016
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This document reports the planning phase-related findings and recommendations of HUD’s LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative (“initiative”). The findings illustrate that, while challenging, community-wide planning to address LGBTQ youth homelessness is possible with buy-in, resources, and a collective willingness to invest time in a planning process. The recommendations are intended to inform replication of similar LGBTQ youth homelessness prevention planning in communities nationwide.

Developing Culturally-Relevant Responses to Domestic Abuse: Asha Family Services, Inc.

2003
Antonia Vann

This report features the work of Asha Family Services, Inc., (Asha), a domestic abuse program in Wisconsin specifically designed to serve the needs of African Americans. Asha is governed by people of color committed to providing effective, comprehensive intervention services and prevention efforts to persons and families affected by violence in their homes. Guided by the notion that the most effective methods for increasing the safety and self-determination of women of color are grounded in the social, political and economic realities of their community, Asha has been in the national forefront of supporting and promoting culturally-responsive strategies.

Safety and Services: Women of Color Speak About Their Communities

2011
Jacquelyn Boggess
Jill Groblewski
Center for Family Policy and Practice

This report is based on a series of listening sessions in which African American women expressed their views on services for victims and survivors of domestic violence. The project focused on developing and improving the delivery of culturally competent domestic violence services in underserved low-income communities of color, particularly African American communities.

Adaptation Guidelines for Serving Latino Children and Families Affected by Trauma

2008
Workgroup on Adapting Latino Services, Chadwick Center for Children and Families

In an effort to improve services for Latino/Hispanic children and families who have experienced trauma, the Chadwick Center for Children and Families in San Diego, California, has coordinated a national effort to create Adaptation Guidelines for Serving Latino Children and Families Affected by Trauma as part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Oppression Within Safe Spaces: Exploring Racial Microaggressions Within Domestic Violence Shelters

2014
Nkiru Nnawulezi
Cris Sullivan

Racial microaggressions are often unintentional and subtle forms of racism that manifest in interpersonal communications, behaviors, or environments. The purpose of this study was to explore the presence of racial micro aggressions within domestic violence shelters and to understand how women respond to them.

New Report Details Need to Improve Access to Services for Deaf Survivors

2015
National Housing Law Project

A January 2015 report released by the Vera Institute of Justice describes how DV shelters often lack language and cultural competencies necessary for serving Deaf survivors. This article summarizes the issue confronting Deaf survivors specifically, and describes several pathways toward improving access to domestic violence resources for Deaf survivors discussed in Vera report.

Self Assessment Tool for Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities

2004
Disability Rights Wisconsin

This tool is to be used by sexual assault and domestic violence programs to review their programs and services to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access and an equal opportunity to participate. Accessibility includes removing not only physical barriers to participation, but also cultural and attitudinal barriers. Many of the suggestions about policies and communication are best practices, and some are required by law. This tool is designed to be used with an accompanying Accessibility Guide. Links to both the Guide and the Tool can be found below.

Intimate Partner Violence in Immigrant and Refugee Communities: Challenges, Promising Practices and Recommendations

2009
Michael Runner
Mieko Yoshihama
Steve Novick

This document describes intimate partner violence (IPV) in immigrant and refugee communities in the United States. IPV is a widespread, costly, and complex social problem nationwide, with serious health and safety implications. When IPV occurs in immigrant and refugee communities, additional challenges and complexities make it especially difficult to address. This paper examines the issue from a variety of standpoints, including the legal rights and practical challenges facing immigrant and refugee victims of violence, the ways systems are responding, and the promising practices that offer hope for these survivors.

Access to DV Services for Immigrant Survivors and Individuals with Limited English Proficiency

2013
Ambar Cristina Hanson
Rosario de la Torre

The objectives of this presentation are to: Provide demographic information; Promote a Human Rights perspective in addressing domestic violence; Provide information about the rights of individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP); Provide information about access to services for undocumented immigrants according to federal laws; and to discuss how to improve our advocacy efforts in these areas.

Federal Housing Rights of Survivors with Limited English Proficiency: An Information Packet

2015
Karlo Ng
Renee Williams
National Housing Law Project

The National Housing Law Project created this information packet for programs serving limited English proficient (LEP) survivors of domestic or sexual violence, dating violence, or stalking who are seeking to access or maintain federally-assisted housing. This packet gives an overview of the federal housing rights of LEP individuals and discusses how these protections apply to survivors.

Access to DV Services for Immigrant Survivors and Individuals with Limited English Proficiency

2013
Ambar Cristina Hanson
Rosario de la Torre

The objectives of this presentation are to: Provide demographic information; Promote a Human Rights perspective in addressing domestic violence; Provide information about the rights of individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP); Provide information about access to services for undocumented immigrants according to federal laws; and to discuss how to improve our advocacy efforts in these areas.

Making Domestic Violence Services Accessible to Individuals with Limited English Proficiency: A Planning Tool for Advocacy Organizations

National Latin@ Network
Casa de Esperanza

Creative and dedicated sexual and domestic violence programs and advocates have always found ways to improve our work toward safety, healing, and justice for those harmed by violence, and to end and prevent violence at home and in our communities. If we invest in a comprehensive, proactive approach to providing assistance for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), all survivors will have greater access to critical services and greater success in addressing the violence in their lives. This toolkit provides resources and support to build language access as a core service for survivors with LEP.

LGBT Homelessness

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This section of the HUD Exchange establishes a central clearinghouse of resources for the LGBT community, including information on and links to HUD's Equal Access Rule and program guidance, a toolkit on supporting transgender-inclusive projects, information on HUD's initiative for the community-wide prevention of LGBT youth homelessness, and links to LGBTQ resources and research reports.

HUD LGBT Rule Webinar

2012
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This YouTube webinar is a training on HUD's final rule, Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (also know as the HUD LGBT Rule) implemented in 2012. The webinar includes an overview of the final rule provisions, examples and analysis of possible rule violations, and information on where someone would go for assistance if the rule is being violated.

Equal Access Self-Assessment for Shelters and Projects

2016
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This self-assessment is a spreadsheet that projects can use to figure out their top priorities for improving policies and procedures as regards implementation of the Equal Access Rule on transgender status and gender expression. Projects can assess their own inclusivity through answering a series of questions. The tool generates the top three action steps based on those responses. Users can re-assess their performance periodically to continue operational improvement.

Equal Access for Transgender People: Supporting Inclusive Housing and Shelters

David Canavan
Fran Ledger
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Individuals and families seeking services from HUD funded homeless projects have nowhere else to go. Too many LGBT youth and adults meet this standard and have nowhere to turn other than a HUD funded project. Acknowledging their need for assistance and seeking help is often its own struggle for those who have sacrificed much simply to recognize themselves. Transgender individuals in particular are impacted by violence and discrimination in ways that both contribute to their homelessness and keep them from accessing necessary shelter and services. HUD funds welcoming and inclusive housing programs open to all eligible individuals; the Equal Access Rule and follow-up guidance ensure that local projects know how to implement and enforce this requirement. These training materials provide CoCs and projects with the framework to create welcoming and inclusive projects for transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Review of the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative Planning Phase

2016
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This document reports the planning phase-related findings and recommendations of HUD’s LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative (“initiative”). The findings illustrate that, while challenging, community-wide planning to address LGBTQ youth homelessness is possible with buy-in, resources, and a collective willingness to invest time in a planning process. The recommendations are intended to inform replication of similar LGBTQ youth homelessness prevention planning in communities nationwide.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness

2006
Nicholas Ray
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Between 3 percent and 5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay or bisexual, yet research suggests that between 20 percent and 40 percent of all homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). This reality prompted the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (the Task Force), in collaboration with the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), to produce this publication. Through a comprehensive review of the available academic research and professional literature, the question as to why so many LGBT youth are becoming and remaining homeless is addressed. This paper also reports on the harassment and violence that many of these youth experience in the shelter system and summarizes research on critical problems affecting them, including mental health issues, substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. The federal government’s response to youth homelessness is analyzed, including the specific impact on LGBT homeless youth of increased federal funding for faith-based service providers. Five social service agencies detail model programs designed to improve service delivery to LGBT homeless youth.

Sheltering Transgender Women: Providing Welcoming Services

2014
michael munson
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
FORGE

Transgender and non-transgender survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) share the same vital need for safety, shelter, and support services. All trans individuals who have experienced IPV deserve and are entitled to the same level of support and services that other trans and non-trans individuals can access. Although the majority of barriers all gender vectors of trans people face are similar, there are some challenges to shelter access, system structures, and trans-specific issues that are unique to individuals on the trans-feminine spectrum, trans-masculine spectrum, and to those who are androgynous or gender non-conforming. To better discuss the unique challenges and solutions for these populations, this document focuses on trans women and references separate tandem documents that concentrate on trans men and gender non- conforming individuals who are seeking shelter. The recommendations within this document apply to the majority of trans women, however, there may be unique variables for immigrant1 and non-English-speaking trans women, as well as for trans women of color, who may have additional layers of intersectional barriers. 

Mainstream Practice: Highlights from the LGBTQ DV Capacity Building learning Center Literature Review

2015
National LGBTQ Domestic Violence Capacity Building Learning Center

This article summarizes and analyzes the body of literature from the mainstream DV movement and discusses its insights, models, and cautionary tales in terms of their applicability to LGBTQ IPV. Includes discussion of DV shelter models and new low-barrier approaches such as DV Housing First.

Open Minds Open Doors: Transforming Domestic Violence Programs to Include LGBTQ Survivors

2011
The Network/La Red

Despite the prevalence of LGBTQ partner abuse, there are only a handful of programs in the country specifically serving LGBTQ survivors. The need for more inclusive services for LGBTQ survivors is great in all areas, but shelter and housing are especially wanting. Many LGBTQ victims become homeless due to the abuse, and there are significant gaps in the critical continuum of services, including adequate shelter and transitional living programs for LGBTQ survivors. This guide is intended to assist programs to increase their capacity to serve LGBTQ survivors.

Increasing Access for Male Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

2015
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence

The intent of this training is to provide trauma-informed best practices related to new guidelines presented by Office of Civil Rights and VAWA 2013. Discusses provisions for sex-segregated and sex-specific services, comparable services, and provides program examples of shelters housing male as well as female survivors.

Reclaiming What is Sacred: Addressing Harm to Indigenous Elders and Developing a Tribal Response to Abuse in Later Life

2015
Lauren Litton
Vicki Ybenez

In 2015, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) hosted a listening session with representatives from tribal governments and service providers and those that work closely with tribes, tribal domestic violence coalitions and federal responders. The gathering was an opportunity for Native people to inform the field about what abuse in later life looks like in tribal communities and how to address it. This report contains potential strategies, additional resources, and tools to enhance conversation and planning.

Best Practice Toolkit for Working with Domestic Violence Survivors with Criminal Histories

2011
Sheryl Kubiak, et al.
Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Produced by the Open Doors Project of the Michigan State Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, this toolkit is aimed at helping domestic and sexual violence programs meet the challenges posed by the individual, community, and systems-level barriers faced by survivors with criminal histories. Includes a section on housing and employment barriers.

Victimized Again: How the Reentry Process Perpetuates Violence Against Survivors of Domestic Violence

2014
Courtney Cross
National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

Most women reentering their communities after serving time in jail or prison are survivors of some form of trauma; many are also victims of intimate partner violence. This expansive overview of survivors' reentry issues includes discussion of how the structure of community supervision can compel survivors to remain in unsafe homes by stripping them of other viable options, how abusers often use the processes of reentry and community supervision against them, and how traditional domestic violence responses may not apply.

Domestic Violence Victims in Rural Arizona: Needs in the "Balance of the State"

2015
Bill Hart
Eric C. Hedberg
Anthony Hack

This study was sponsored by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Arizona Department of Economic Security (ADES). It had two main goals: (1) To survey rural DV victims, shelter operators, advocates and other stakeholders concerning the needs of rural Arizona victims; (2) Based on this information, to suggest questions for discussion about how best to improve service delivery in Arizona’s rural areas and small towns. Most victims and advocates surveyed in this project indicated that emergency shelters retain an important role in rural and small-town Arizona – in part because relatively few other services are available at reasonable distances. However, survivors indicated that their needs tended towards practical necessities, such as housing, transportation, and help finding employment, rather than the physical protection provided by shelter. Most advocates acknowledged the value of the “rapid rehousing” approach to serving DV victims, but expressed doubts that many of their clients could succeed in such a program, especially given a general lack of affordable housing and transportation.

Trauma Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

Women's Bureau
U.S. Department of Labor

Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers, also known as the “Trauma Guide,” was created to address the psychological and mental health needs of women veterans. The guide is also a compilation of best practices aimed at improving effectiveness in engaging female veterans. Written for service providers, the guide offers observational knowledge and concrete guidelines for modifying practices with the goal of increasing re-entry outcomes.

Model Medication Policy for DV Shelters

2011
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

As state domestic violence coalitions and local domestic violence programs across the country work to create more accessible and trauma-informed shelter programs, staff and advocates have sought guidance on designing medication policies that better serve survivors who are experiencing mental health symptoms or living with mental health disabilities. This Model Medication Policy for Domestic Violence Shelters, developed in response to these requests, is intended to provide coalitions and programs with guidance on designing medication policies that reflect survivor-centered values and to help to create more accessible and trauma-informed shelter environments. It also provides guidance on drafting policies that comply with ethical and legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These three federal statutes have implications for how domestic violence shelters screen and admit survivors and how they store and handle medications.

Real Tools: Responding to Multi-Abuse Trauma - Chapter 10: How Should Advocates Respond?

2011
Debi Edmund
Patricia Bland
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

This toolkit was designed in hopes that it will be widely used for training advocates and other service providers, creating support groups for individuals coping with multi-abuse trauma issues, and educating and advocating in the community. The excerpted chapter describes how advocates and programs can support survivors seeking safety, sobriety, wellness, autonomy and justice by reducing service barriers and ending isolation for people impacted by multiple abuse issues. Policies and procedures to ensure culturally competent, appropriate, non-punitive and non-judgmental accessible services are key.