April 25, 2014
Last month the transitional housing team at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) hosted and presented, along with other national presenters and local programs as panelists, a Voluntary Services Training in Washington, DC for Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Transitional Housing Grantees.
Survivors of domestic violence often face a lot of barriers when escaping abuse, including accessing housing. For some survivors becoming safe may mean entering a shelter or transitional housing program. Shelter typically houses victims up to 60 days while transitional housing may give them a place to live for up to 24 months. During this time, survivors may receive financial assistance for rent, utilities, childcare and other necessities allowing them an opportunity to heal and increase their economic stability.
However, often time's programs institute a number of rules and policies which can mirror the characteristics of an abusive relationship, such as dictating when survivors and their children can eat and sleep, when and where they should be going, who they can see. Often abiding by these rules is a requirement for survivors to remain safely housed. Program structures that recreate the dynamics of a controlling environment can revictimize survivors during a time when they are seeking freedom and safety.
All OVW transitional housing programs are required to provide support services on a voluntary basis. This means participation in services such as clinical counselling, peer-to-peer counselling, support groups, employment training, and referrals to outside agencies cannot be a condition of being eligible for, or maintaining housing. This approach also recommends reducing the amount of rules and policies thus giving survivors the power to make their own decisions. The voluntary services approach is a nationally-recognized best practice that is now a requirement under VAWA and Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) funding.
This two-day training offered information on how to provide housing and support services that are trauma-informed and survivor-focused. It also offered an interactive space where programs discussed positive experiences or challenges with incorporating the voluntary services approach in their programs. NNEDV and OVW's goal is to provide practical methods and resources to implement this approach as well as challenge grantees to meet the individual needs of each survivor.
In our more than eight years providing support and guidance to transitional housing service providers, survivors have reported that their time in transitional housing is more meaningful and supportive because services are suited to their specific needs. NNEDV recognizes the complexities of offering services specifically tailored to each survivor and we commend these programs for their effort and commitment in this work. NNEDV works daily with local domestic violence and sexual assault programs, state coalitions, and other homeless service providers to provide resources and education around creating programming that does not dictate a survivors experience in their program but rather allows them to partner with each survivor to best meet their needs. It is our hope that grantees will continue to explore ways to engage with survivors and analyze success without mandating services.
April 17, 2014
State and territorial coalitions have played a unique role in our nation’s response to domestic violence. Their history is rooted in the battered women’s movement and the values that define this movement, including working towards social justice, self-determination, and ending the oppression of women.
April 15, 2014
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Safety Net project is hosting the second annual Technology Summit for advocates and professionals addressing technology and intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and trafficking.
April 9, 2014
Today, the Senate failed to move forward on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have required employers to demonstrate that pay differences between men and women are based on legitimate business reasons, and not based on sex. The Act would also end pay secrecy by prohibiting retaliation against employees who disclose salary information.
April 7, 2014
For survivors of domestic violence, personal safety is closely linked to economic stability. In fact, the inability to support themselves and their children is one of the top reasons survivors stay in or return to an abusive relationship.
There are lots of ways we are working to increase survivors' economic stability, and one of them – the Paycheck Fairness Act – is coming before the Senate for a vote! Like all women, survivors of domestic violence need equal pay initiatives like the Paycheck Fairness Act. As long as women are paid less than men, most survivors will have less ability to gain financial stability and independence.
Women, on average, still only receive 77 cents for every dollar paid to men – and the gap widens even further when you compare the wages earned by women of color to those of men. This pay gap over their lifetime also means women have smaller Social Security checks, lower savings, and less pension income -- which seriously hinders their long-term financial security.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would require employers to demonstrate that pay differences between men and women are based on legitimate business reasons, and not based on sex. The Act would also end pay secrecy by prohibiting retaliation against employees who disclose salary information.
For all women – and for survivors of violence, who need fair pay to achieve economic security – take action now and tell your Senators that it's time to close the pay gap.
- NNEDV and The Allstate Foundation are partnering to end financial abuse and empower survivors of domestic violence. Check out our Moving Ahead Through Financial Management curriculum.
- Learn more about how we're saying "No More" to financial abuse and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest for more information and ways you can get involved.
April 2, 2014
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) recognizes April 6-12, 2014 as National Crime Victims' Rights Week.