DV/Mental Health Publications

The Domestic Violence and Mental Health Collaboration Project

The King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence coordinates this project to make services more accessible, holistic, and effective for survivors of domestic violence with mental health concerns and to strengthen collaboration among service providers.

Learn about the history of the Domestic Violence and Mental Health Collaboration Project, as well as our current work, by viewing this webinar recording. It is from a July 1, 2014 webinar Alison Iser and Judy Lin did for other Disabilities Grant Program grantees entitled, Spotlight on the King County Collaboration.”

Articles about the Project:
Trauma Training or Traumatic Training?
Intersections – Domestic Violence and Allied Organizations Partnering for Health
DV/MH Collaboration Update (12/09)
DV/MH Collaboration Update (12/10/13)
DV/MH Collaboration Update (7/09/12)

The Collaboration Project has 5 phases: Planning, Implementation, Continuation, Expansion and Exploration.

Planning Phase and Implementation Phase partners: City of Seattle Human Services Department’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Division, Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, New Beginnings, Seattle Counseling Service, and Sound Mental Health.

During our Planning Phase (2007-2009) we created a Collaboration Charter, conducted a Needs and Strengths Assessment Findings Report, and engaged in Strategic Planning.

During our Implementation Phase (2009-2010) we implemented four initiatives:

1. Creating More Welcoming Environments
Our Welcoming Environments Initiative Report summarizes the changes the    partner agencies made to create more welcoming environments for domestic violence survivors with mental health concerns. For example, to create a more welcoming environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender people, each partner agency put up signs that say, All are Welcome Here Poster – English and Spanish.

2. Enhancing Knowledge
Our collaboration created an online Domestic Violence Basics course for Mental Health Service Providers and an online Mental Health Basics course for Domestic Violence Advocates.

3. Improving Responses
Our collaboration created an online Domestic Violence Response course for Mental Health Service Providers and an online Mental Health Response course for Domestic Violence Advocates.

4. Strengthening Collaboration and Communication
We created a liaison system between the partner agencies and developed a cross-disciplinary case review process. The Liaisons and Case Reviews Information Packet describes both. After holding case reviews for more than 2 years we issued our Case Reviews Summary report to provide an overview of our experiences.

Continuation Phase partners: Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, New Beginnings, Seattle Counseling Service, and Sound Mental Health.

Our Continuation Phase (2011-2012) began with a retreat to reflect on our successes, the challenges we experienced, and the lessons we learned. This is summarized in our Change is Possible report.

During our Continuation Phase we have been implementing four additional initiatives that build on our work in our previous phases. These initiatives are:

1. Providing Training and Technical Assistance
We have adapted our Online Training Courses for DV advocates and MH service providers who are not part of our project. We are also sharing what we have learned through technical assistance consultations, webinars, and workshops for local, state, and national audiences.

To request technical assistance or training, please contact Alison Iser, Project Manager, at Alison@kccadv.org or at 206.568.5454.

2. Integrating Trauma-Informed Practices
Our partner agencies have received training on trauma-informed care, trauma-informed supervision, and strategies for integrating a trauma focus into their agencies. They are putting these lessons into practice.

3. Engaging in Reciprocal Consultation
We developed a Reciprocal Consultation Guide to strengthen the ability of our partner agencies to provide each other with quality cross-disciplinary consultation.

4. Offering Co-Facilitated Support Groups
We have provided support groups for domestic violence survivors with mental health concerns that were co-facilitated by a DV advocate and MH service provider utilizing the Seeking Safety curriculum.

Expansion Phase partners: Consejo Counseling and Referral Service, King County Bar Foundation, King County Protection Order Advocacy Program, LifeWire, and Sound Mental Health.

During our Expansion Phase (2013-2015) we expanded the focus of our work to include  protection orders and the family law system. We created tools and developed and delivered trainings for:  Domestic Violence Advocates, Attorneys, Mental Health Service Providers, and Survivors.

We updated our Collaboration Charter and our project glossary, Words Matter.

Toolkit for DV Advocates
We  created tools for domestic violence advocates to help survivors explore the risks and benefits of disclosing mental health concerns in legal proceedings, and to address the backlash against the use of protective behaviors. The Toolkit for Advocates is not available online.

Toolkit for Attorneys
We created a safety planning tool and a guide for attorneys on weighing the relative risks of domestic violence, mental health, and substance abuse when developing parenting plans. We also created a King County supplement to a national handbook on representing survivors who have experienced trauma or other mental health challenges.

Toolkit for MH Service Providers
We created a tool for mental health providers on documenting domestic violence in mental health records. We also created a guide for them on preparing survivors for mental health and parenting evaluations in family law cases.

Toolkit for Survivors
We created tools to help survivors better navigate protection order and family law processes, to access the resources they need, and to cope with the stress involved.

During our Exploration phase (2015-2017), we are delving deeper into the work we began in our expansion phase. We have 3 new initiatives!

1. Evaluate and share our tools- We will evaluate their effectiveness, improve them if needed, translate them, create templates so others can adapt them, share them, and provide technical assistance and training or using them.

2. Enhance coping skills for service providers and for survivors involved in protection order or family law cases-  We will provide a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class for providers at our partner agencies, provide MBSR classes for survivors at our partner agencies, and evaluate the effectiveness of MBSR for providers and survivors.

3. Foster dialogue to deepen our understanding of emerging issues- We will hold critical dialogue series on the role of mental health evaluations in determining custody, and meeting the needs of survivors who have mental health concerns and are involved with the family law system regarding sexual assault they have experienced. We will produce reports about each series.

To download a summary of this information click here.

Please contact Alison Iser, Project Manager, for more information at alison@kccadv.org or call 206-568-5454.

This project is supported by Grant No. 2010-FW-AX-K007 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in project publications are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.