Responding to Specific Access Barriers

Working with Victims with Brain Injuries in Domestic Violence Shelters

Brain Injury Association of New York State

Domestic violence victims who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may need help coping with the high levels of stress and stimulation that can exist in a shelter. Living communally is challenging, especially when other residents are dealing with trauma, high levels of stress and fear, and with distressed children. Because TBI affects different people differently, residents will have different needs. This article provides guidance about supporting victims with TBI while in shelter.

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.

Supporting Parenting in Shelter

Margaret Hobart
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

This webinar discusses the impact of domestic violence on parenting, and how organizations can work to create shelter environments that better support survivors as they reclaim their roles as parents.

Sufficient Sleep: A Necessity, Not A Luxury

HCH Clinicians' Network

This issue of Healing Hands, a quarterly newsletter produced by the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, discusses the difficulties homeless people can experience with getting sufficient sleep - both on the streets and in shelters. Sleep deprivation can contribute to chronic health conditions and a host of other problems. The authors suggest strategies that shelters can employ to mitigate this problem.

Strong Foundation for Healing: Shelter & Sexual Violence

Kris Bein
Christi Hurt

Sexual assault is a most intimate crime, and when it happens in our most intimate sanctuaries— our homes—the trauma is devastating and difficult to escape. Given that most sexual assaults take place in or near victims’ homes or the homes of victims’ friends, relatives, or neighbors, for many survivors of sexual violence, home often is not safe. The author asserts that until recently, the anti-rape field has not considered shelter and housing to be sexual violence issues. But now, equipped with research and inspired by some promising practices, the field is identifying housing as a core issue in sexual assault advocacy work. This paper considers issues and advocacy related to emergency shelter and longer-term housing for sexual violence survivors.

Self Assessment Tool for Ensuring Access for People with Disabilities

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.

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.