Voluntary Services and Trauma-Informed Approaches

Whether you work in the homeless/housing system or the DV/SA system, understanding and implementing a participant-driven and trauma-informed approach in your housing.

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DASH’s Safe Housing Model and Management Structure: Preserving Survivor and Staff Self-­Determination and Dignity

District Alliance for Safe Housing

This presentation describes DASH's low-barrier, voluntary, trauma-­‐informed approach to service provision in its programs aimed at helping survivors achieve safe housing. Includes discussion of how fidelity to core beliefs influence program outcomes.

Promising Practices and Model Programs: Trauma-Informed Approaches to Working with Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence and Other Trauma

Heather Phillips, et al.
National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

Based on a series of interviews with model programs, this report looks at how DV/SA programs are currently conceptualizing trauma-informed and trauma-specific work and how this translates into enhanced or improved services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence - including in shelter and housing programs. Authors discuss aspects of trauma-informed services that were identified as especially meaningful to survivors and ways that programs are measuring outcomes and evaluating the impact of their work. Includes a look at culturally specific approaches to trauma and healing, including collective approaches, community-based practices, and those that can be offered by advocates and/or by trusted community members. Taken together, the information gathered from these interviews provides valuable insights on myriad ways to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence who may have experienced multiple traumatic experiences over the course of their lives.

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

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.

Creating Trauma-Informed Services: A Guide for Sexual Assault Programs and Their System Partners

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

The advocacy field has used the term “survivor-centered services” for years to describe how we approach our work. Survivor-centered services use many of the concepts of trauma-informed services. However, the practice of trauma-informed services makes these principles accessible across disciplines, and is broader in scope. Survivor-centered services seek to meet the needs of identified individuals who have been victimized, in a respectful manner, whereas trauma-informed services acknowledge the high proportion of survivors, identified or not, served by professionals in the health, human services, and criminal justice arenas. Providers are challenged to offer all services in a manner that would support and empower survivors.

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

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.

2015–2016 Webinar Series: Trauma-Focused Interventions for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

This webinar series was designed to highlight some of emerging and evidence-based approaches to trauma-focused interventions designed specifically for responding to the traumatic effects of domestic and sexual violence. As part of that effort, this webinar series was designed to highlight some of these emerging and evidence-based approaches.

Creating Trauma-Informed Services Tipsheet Series: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Domestic Violence Advocacy

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

Trauma-informed advocacy requires attending to survivors’ emotional as well as physical safety. It also means ensuring that the service delivery environment is inclusive, welcoming, destigmatizing, and non-retraumatizing. This document discusses five core components of a trauma-informed approach to domestic violence advocacy.

Creating Trauma-Informed Services: Tipsheet Series: Tips for Creating a Welcoming Environment

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

The environment we create communicates our beliefs about the people we serve. This environment and the way we offer services are critical aspects of our work to increase access to our programs for women who are experiencing psychiatric disabilities or the effects of trauma. This tipsheet provides guidance as to how to better ensure a welcoming environment for all survivors.

Understanding Traumatic Triggers

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

Survivors may have adopted long-term patterns that reflect their efforts to adapt to a traumatizing life. This brief information sheet summarizes basics about traumatic triggers and how they reflect survivors' strength and resiliency.

Guidebook on Vicarious Trauma: Recommended Solutions for Anti-Violence Workers

Jan I. Richardson
Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children

This guidebook is written for those who have chosen to dedicate a time in their life to work with abused women, children and their abusers. It attempts to recognize the unique experience of anti-violence workers and to promote individual, professional and organizational solutions to support them. Vicarious trauma is one outcome of anti-violence work; its effects cumulative and build upon memories obtained through listening to the stories of one inhumane act of cruelty after another. Understanding and working with the trauma is both an individual and organizational challenge.

Creating Safe Housing Options for Survivors: Learning From and Expanding Research

Cris Sullivan

This research brief provides a brief overview of the current and expanding evidence behind best practices in helping domestic violence survivors obtain safe and stable housing. It begins with evidence for three common core components of this work: mobile advocacy, flexible funding, and attending to safety. It then provides evidence for how services should be provided: survivor-driven, trauma-informed, and voluntary.

Trauma Informed Organizational Toolkit for Homeless Services

Kathleen Guarino, et al.
National Center on Family Homelessness

Given the high rates of traumatic exposure among families who are homeless, it has become clear that understanding trauma and its impact is essential to providing quality care in shelters and housing programs. This realization has lead to the suggestion that programs serving trauma survivors adapt their services to account for their clients’ traumatic experiences, that is, they become “trauma-informed”. In order to respond empathically to the needs of trauma survivors, ensure their physical and emotional safety, develop realistic treatment goals, and at the very least avoid re-traumatization, all practices and programming must be provided through the lens of trauma. This Toolkit offers homeless service providers with concrete guidelines for how to modify their practices and policies to ensure that they are responding appropriately to the needs of families who have experienced traumatic stress.

Trauma-Informed Care and Trauma-Specific Services: A Comprehensive Approach to Trauma Intervention

Carmela DeCandia, et al.

This brief addresses the need for a comprehensive approach to trauma intervention across service settings and identifies next steps for providers, researchers, and policymakers to ensure that all service systems are prepared to implement and sustain trauma-informed approaches.

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.

A Long Journey Home: A Guide for Creating Trauma–Informed Services for Mothers and Children Experiencing Homelessness

Laura Prescott, et al.

The Long Journey Home draws on existing guidelines from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to create trauma-informed environments and implement trauma-informed mental health, substance abuse, and other support services for women and children who are homeless. The authors start with a brief overview of family homelessness, why shelter providers should become trauma-informed, and how to create an organizational philosophy that is trauma-informed. They then discuss specific actions that organizations can take to create a trauma-informed environment, policies and procedures, and services and supports.

Trauma-Informed Organizational Capacity Scale (TIC Scale)

Kathleen Guarino

Organizational trauma-informed care is a system-wide approach to addressing trauma that ensures the entire service delivery system is grounded in an awareness and understanding of trauma and its impact and designed to foster healing and resilience for everyone in the system. All dimensions of an organization – mission, culture, and practice – are aligned to support wellbeing and success and lessen the detrimental effects of trauma on individuals, communities, and organizations. The TIC Scale provides an opportunity for health and human service organizations to measure the extent to which they provide trauma-informed care agency-wide at single point in time or repeatedly to assess for changes in level of trauma-informed care. The tool provides a common definition and measure of organizational trauma-informed care for a wide range of service systems.

Trauma-Informed Approaches: Federal Activities and Initiatives

Women and Trauma Federal Partners Committee

The Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma was formed in 2009 and has been instrumental in stimulating interest in trauma-informed approaches with its more than 30 federal member agencies and in the people and organizations they influence. This report discusses the progress made since release of the Committee's 2011 report on SAMHSA's five-year “Women, Co-Occurring Disorders and Violence” Study (1998-2003).

Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma: Implications for Working Effectively with Adults and Adolescents

Janine D’Anniballe

This PowerPoint presentation addresses the topic of trauma and its psychological effects. Explores the nature of traumatic events (such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and witnessing violence), and the difference between normal, situational, and traumatic stress. Also discusses physiological components of trauma, such as brain structures and biochemistry, and the essence of phenomena such as dissociation, hypervigilance, and flashbacks. Offers information about holistic interventions in mitigating the post-traumatic stress response.

Report of the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma - A Federal Intergovernmental Partnership on Mental Health Transformation

Women and Trauma Federal Partners Committee

In the early 1990s, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) began a series of initiatives to raise awareness regarding the increasing numbers of women seeking services from public mental health and substance abuse programs who had experienced personal histories of violence and trauma, frequently beginning in childhood. The Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma is an outgrowth of the SAMHSA-sponsored “Federal Intergovernmental Partnership on Mental Health Transformation Working Group on Women and Trauma.” This report provides background on women and trauma, describes a Roundtable held on April 29, 2010, and presents an outline of what the Committee plans for the coming year.

Organizational Prevention of Vicarious Trauma

Holly Bell
Shanti Kulkarni
Lisa Dalton

Research on vicarious trauma has identified both personal and organizational correlates. In this article, the authors review the growing literature on the organizational components of vicarious trauma and suggest changes in organizational culture, workload, group support, supervision, self-care, education, and work environment that may help prevent vicarious trauma in staff.

Suicide and Homelessness: Data Trends in Suicide and Mental Health Among Homeless Populations

National Health Care for the Homeless Council

This factsheet provides data on the prevalence of suicide in the United States and information about common risk factors for the general population and the increased risks among homeless populations. It includes data from a 2017 study that found school-age children and youth who are homeless are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their housed peers. The factsheet provides resources for additional information and support, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Needs Assessment Report: Promising Practices and Interventions to Address the Housing Needs of Domestic Violence Survivors

Oyesola Oluwafunmilayo Ayeni

The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) conducted a two-part needs assessment project. The first part of the assessment documented domestic violence survivors' current and emerging housing needs, centering on the perspectives of marginalized populations, particularly Black and Brown communities. The second part of the assessment documented the innovative practices, promising housing approaches, and interventions implemented in the field by grassroots organizations and community-based agencies to address the housing needs of survivors. 

Housing Barriers and Emerging Practices to Centering Survivors: Findings from the NRCDV Needs Assessment

Oyesola Oluwafunmilayo Ayeni

In 2022, NRCDV conducted a Needs Assessment project to document the current and emerging barriers to safe, stable, and accessible housing for BIPOC survivors, as well as the innovative practices implemented by grassroots organizations and community-based agencies to address survivors' housing needs. It included a desk review, listening sessions with service providers and survivor-advocates, and interviews with researchers.