Re-centering Indiana’s domestic violence services to meet survivor needs

The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence is looking to fundamentally shift the way we address domestic violence services and prevention in our state.

After two and a half years of extensive research, ICADV has published a comprehensive report of recommendations for communities and domestic violence programs based on interviews conducted with survivors of domestic violence.

Going forward, the report – entitled Re-centering: Indiana’s Movement to Ground Domestic Violence Programs in Survivor-Defined Success – will guide statewide programs, trainings, legislative advocacy and violence prevention initiatives.

“Advocates in the domestic violence field are committed to providing accessible, relevant and compassionate services to every survivor,” said Laura Berry, executive director of ICADV. “Centering survivors’ voices will allow domestic violence advocates and our community partners to continue to do our best work.”

In order to learn what types of programs and services were most valued, what needs were unmet, and how communities could reduce violence, ICADV collaborated with member programs across the state to conduct 91 individual interviews and five focus group discussions with survivors.

Key needs survivors identified from the community were safe and affordable housing, financial stability and assistance, neighborhood safety, and acceptance.

“They need guidance, resources. It takes time. Lots of people get out and are homeless, broke, unsupported, jobless, etc. We need to help them plan. We need to guide them out, not push them out,” one survivor who participated in the interviews said.

From domestic violence and other community programs and agencies, survivors said they would like to see more supports (such as mentoring programs and support groups), affordable legal assistance, compassionate responses, inclusive programs, and spreading awareness of the issue in the community.

“I think one way the communities can help survivors is to realize that if many different community services or community agencies were to work together like spokes of a wheel, to provide different types of services, that could make a big difference,” said another survivor in the report.

When recruiting survivors to participate in the study, the cohort made a concerted effort to include those who have been unserved or underserved because of barriers related to identity-based discrimination, disabilities, homeless status, criminal justice histories, immigration status, or challenges related to mental health or addiction.

“These perspectives were a critical part of figuring out strategies to increase the awareness, availability and competence of our services for survivors who did not know or believe we were there to serve them,” said Colleen Yeakle, coordinator of prevention initiatives at ICADV and author of the report. “We hope to address the factors that caused them to believe our programs didn’t recognize and support their needs.”

To read the full report, click here.

Leave a Comment