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Committed to Safety for ALL Survivors: Guidance for Domestic Violence Programs on Supporting Survivors Who Use Substances

Published Date: 
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The goal of this guide is to assist programs and advocates in supporting survivors who use substances by providing practical strategies embedded within an accessible, culturally responsive, and trauma-informed (ACRTI) approach. The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health (NCDVTMH)’s understanding of the depth of this need is informed directly by survivors, advocates, program directors, and coalitions as well as by the research it has conducted over the past 15 years. Most recently, NCDVTMH surveyed domestic violence (DV) programs across states, territories, and tribal nations. Of the 527 programs that responded, 75% indicated an increased demand for substance use disorder treatment services from 2017 to 2019 (Phillips et al., 2019). While this guide makes reference to substance use disorder treatment, at times, the goal of this guide is to enable advocates to move beyond conversations about treatment. In the same way that DV advocacy is grounded in the ability to support survivors whether or not they have decided to or are able to leave an abusive relationship, this guide is a resource for advocates to be able to support survivors whether or not they have decided to or are able to stop using substances

Written by Gabriela A. Zapata-Alma and published by the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health