Voluntary, Survivor-Centered Advocacy in Domestic Violence Agencies
Keywords:Survivor-centered, trauma-informed, domestic violence agency, voluntary services, interpersonal violence, intimate partner violence
Voluntary, survivor-centered advocacy is a model of practice used in domestic violence organizations; however, more information is needed from the perspective of survivors on how to best facilitate survivor-centered approaches in a voluntary service format. This qualitative study used a thematic analysis to uncover core advocacy approaches from 25 female-identified survivors dwelling in domestic violence emergency shelter and transitional housing programs in two states. Themes revealed that three core approaches aid a voluntary, survivor-centered advocacy model: 1) Establishing a safe base for support, 2) Facilitating access and connection, and 3) Collaboration. Advocacy approaches that emphasize safety, mutuality, and availability of support best engage survivors in voluntary services to address needs and meet goals. Use of a strengths-based approach, psychoeducation, and resource-building contributes to the social and emotional well-being of survivors. Findings indicate community DV advocates should use adaptable advocacy models aimed at service access, connection, and collaborative resource acquisition. Voluntary, survivor-centered models use principals of trauma-informed care, though more widespread use of trauma-informed care (TIC) in voluntary services are needed. Advocates need organizational support to meet survivor needs. Implications for research include the need for fidelity studies and longitudinal research.
Allen, N. E., Bybee, D. I., & Sullivan, C. M. (2004). Battered women’s multitude of needs: Evidence supporting the need for comprehensive advocacy. Violence Against Women, 10(9), 1015-1035. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801204267658
Allen, N. E., Larsen, S., Trotter, J., & Sullivan, C. M. (2013). Exploring the core service delivery processes of an evidence‐based community advocacy program for women with abusive partners. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.21502
Baker, C. K., Niolon, P. H., & Oliphant, H. (2009). A descriptive analysis of transitional housing programs for survivors of intimate partner violence in the United States. Violence Against Women, 15(4), 460-481. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801208330933
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Basile, K. C., Walters, M. L., Chen, J., Merrick, & M. T. (2014). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization—National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Surveillance summaries (Washington, DC: 2002), 63(8), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1037/e541272013-001
Bybee, D. I., & Sullivan, C. M. (2002). The process through which an advocacy intervention resulted in positive change for battered women over time. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30(1), 103-132. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1014376202459
Campbell, J.C. (2002). Health consequences of intimate partner violence. The Lancet, 359(9314), 1331-1336. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(02)08336-8
Cattaneo, L. B., & Goodman, L. A. (2015). What is empowerment anyway? A model for domestic violence practice, research, and evaluation. Psychology of Violence, 5(1), 84-94. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035137
Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative research. Sage.
Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2013). Teaching thematic analysis. Psychologist, 26(2), 120-123.
Constantino, R., Kim, Y., & Crane, P. A. (2005). Effects of a social support intervention on health outcomes in residents of a domestic violence shelter: A pilot study. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 26(6), 575-590. https://doi.org/10.1080/01612840590959416
Creswell, J. W., & Miller, D. L. (2000). Determining validity in qualitative inquiry. Theory Into Practice, 39(3), 124-130. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip3903_2
Damschroder, L., Aron, D., Keith, R., Kirsch, S., Alexander, J., & Lowery, J. (2009). Fostering implementation of health services research into practice: A consolidated framework for advancing implementation science. Implementation Science, 4(50), 1-50. https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-50
Davies, J., & Lyon, E. (2014). Domestic violence advocacy: Complex lives/difficult choices. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483352916
Dominelli, L. (2002). Feminist social work theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
Goodman, L. A., & Epstein, D. (2008). Psychology of women. Listening to battered women: A survivor-centered approach to advocacy, mental health, and justice. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/11651-002
Goodman, L. A., Banyard, V., Woulfe, J., Ash, S., & Mattern, G. (2016a). Bringing a network-oriented approach to domestic violence services: A focus group exploration of promising practices. Violence Against Women, 22(1), 64-89. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801215599080
Goodman, L. A., Fauci, J. E., Sullivan, C. M., DiGiovanni, C. D., & Wilson, J. M. (2016b). Domestic violence survivors’ empowerment and mental health: Exploring the role of the alliance with advocates. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(3), 286-296. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000137
Goodman, L. A., Thomas, K., Cattaneo, L. B., Heimel, D., Woulfe, J., & Chong, S. K. (2016c). Survivor-defined practice in domestic violence work: Measure development and preliminary evidence of link to empowerment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(1), 163-185. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260514555131
Haj-Yahia, M. M., & Cohen, H. C. (2009). On the lived experience of battered women residing in shelters. Journal of Family Violence, 24(2), 95-109. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-008-9214-3
Hedden, S. L. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 national survey on drug use and health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Department of Health & Human Services. https://doi.org/10.3886/icpsr32722.v3
Jasinski, J. L., Wesely, J. K., Mustaine, E., & Wright, J. D. (2002). The experience of violence in the lives of homeless women: A research project. Department of Justice (NCJRS 211976). https://doi.org/10.1037/e513742006-001
Klein, L.B., Chesworth, B.R., Howland-Myers, J.R.m Fraga Rizo, C. & Macy, J. (2019). Housing interventions for intimate partner violence survivors: A systematic review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse. 1-16.
Kulkarni, S., Bell, H., Hartman, J. L., & Herman-Smith, R. L. (2013). Exploring individual and organizational factors contributing to compassion satisfaction, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout in domestic violence service providers. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 4(2), 114-130. https://doi.org/10.5243/jsswr.2013.8
Lietz, C. A., Langer, C. L., & Furman, R. (2006). Establishing trustworthiness in qualitative research in social work: Implications from a study regarding spirituality. Qualitative Social Work, 5(4), 441-458. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325006070288
Lyon, E., Lane, S., & Menard, A. (2008). Meeting survivors' needs: A multi-state study of domestic violence shelter experiences. University of Connecticut: School of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1037/e529462009-001
Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. (2012). How the earth didn’t fly into the sun: Missouri’s project to reduce rules in domestic violence shelters. https://vawnet.org/sites/default/files/materials/files/2016-07/NRCDV_ShelterRules_0.pdf
National Network to End Domestic Violence. (2017). Domestic violence counts 2016: A 24-hour census of domestic violence shelters and services. Washington, DC: National Network to End Domestic Violence. Retrieved from https://nnedv.org/mdocs-posts/census_2016_handout_report/
Nnawulezi, N., Godsay, S., Sullivan, C. M., Marcus, S., & Hacskaylo, M. (2018). The influence of low-Barrier and voluntary service policies on survivor empowerment in a domestic violence housing organization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000291
Panchanadeswaran, S., & McCloskey, L.A. (2007). Predicting the timing of women’s departure from abusive relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 50-65. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260506294996
Ramsey, J., Carter, Y., Davidson, L., Dunne, D., Eldridge, S., Hegarty, K., & Feder, G. (2009). Advocacy interventions to reduce or eliminate violence and promote the physical and psychosocial well-being of women who experience intimate partner abuse. The Cochrane Collaboration. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005043.pub3/full
Rivas, C., & Vigurs, C. (2018). A realist review of which advocacy interventions work for which abused women under what circumstances: An exemplar. Cochrane Database of Systematic Review, (9). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd013135
Roberts, A. (2007). Domestic violence continuum, forensic assessment and crisis intervention. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 88(1), 42-54. https://doi.org/10.1606/1044-3894.3591
Rodgers, B. L., & Cowles, K. V. (1993). The qualitative research audit trail: A complex collection of documentation. Research in Nursing & Health, 16(3), 219-226. https://doi.org/10.1002/nur.4770160309
Saldaña, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Sage.
Slattery, S. M., & Goodman, L. A. (2009). Secondary traumatic stress among domestic violence advocates: Workplace risk and protective factors. Violence Against Women, 15(11), 1358-1379. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801209347469
Smith, S. G., Chen, J., Basile, K. C., Gilbert, L. K., Merrick, M. T., Patel, N., Walling, M., & Jain, A. (2017). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 State report. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://doi.org/10.1037/e308842004-001
Sullivan, C. (2016). Theory of change. Domestic Violence Evidence Project. National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. https://www.dvevidenceproject.org/wp-content/uploads/DVEvidence-Services-ToC-2016.pdf
Sullivan, C. (2018). Understanding how domestic violence support services promote survivor well-being: A conceptual model. Journal of Family Violence, 33(2), 123-131. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-017-9931-6
Sullivan, C. M., & Bybee, D. I. (1999). Reducing violence using community-based advocacy for women with abusive partners. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(1), 43-53. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006x.67.1.43
Sullivan, C. M., Aguilar, E., López-Zerón, G., & Parra-Cardona, J. R. (2016). Disseminating the community advocacy project in Mexico: A feasibility study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(14), 2920-2937. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260516663901
Sullivan, C. M., Goodman, L. A., Virden, T., Strom, J., & Ramirez, R. (2017, August). Evaluation of the effects of receiving trauma-informed practices on domestic violence shelter residents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 88(5), 563-570. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000286
Tiwari, A., Fong, D. Y. T., Yuen, K. H., Yuk, H., Pang, P., Humphreys, J., & Bullock, L. (2010). Effect of an advocacy intervention on mental health in Chinese women survivors of intimate partner violence: A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 304(5), 536-543. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2010.1052
US Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau The AFCARS Report: Preliminary FY 2011 Estimates as of July 2012 (No. 19). Administration for Children and Families. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/afcars-report-19
Wachter, K., Voth Schrag, R., & Wood, L. (2019). Coping behaviors mediate associations between occupational factors and compassion satisfaction among the intimate partner violence and sexual assault workforce. Journal of Family Violence, 35, 143-154. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-019-00072-0
Wathen, C. N., & MacMillan, H. L. (2003). Interventions for violence against women: Scientific review. Jama, 289(5), 589-600. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.289.5.589
Weintraub, S. R., & Goodman, L. A. (2010). Working with and for: Student advocates' experience of relationship-centered advocacy with low-income women. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80(1), 46-60. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.2010.01006.x
Wood, L. (2014). Domestic Violence Advocacy (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/bitstream/handle/1805/5605/Wood_Leila_Dissertation_April30.pdf;sequence=1
Wood, L. (2015). Hoping, empowering, strengthening: Theories used in intimate partner violence advocacy. Affilia, 30(3), 286-301. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886109914563157
Wood, L., Cook Heffron, L., Voyles, M. E., & Kulkarni, S. (2017, Online First). Playing by the rules: Agency policy and procedure in service experience of IPV survivors. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517716945
Wood, L., Wachter, K., Rhodes, D. M., & Wang, A. (2019). Turnover intention and job satisfaction among intimate partner violence and sexual assault professionals. Violence and Victims, 34(4), 678-700. https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.vv-d-18-00134
Copyright to works published in Advances in Social Work is retained by the author(s).