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.
The Collaboration Project has 4 phases: Planning, Implementation, Continuation, and Expansion.
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 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.
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 Coordinator, 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.
During our Expansion Phase (2013-2014) we expanded the focus of our work to include the civil legal system. We are creating tools and developing and delivering trainings for: Domestic Violence Advocates, Attorneys, Mental Health Service Providers, and Survivors.
For DV Advocates
We will better prepare advocates to discuss with survivors how their actual or perceived mental health symptoms may impact their experiences with the civil legal system and how their involvement with the civil legal system can impact their mental health. We will also address their documentation practices regarding mental health.
We will develop King County-specific materials to address civil legal issues pertaining to domestic violence and mental health. We will educate attorneys about these issues and train them to utilize these new materials.
For MH Service Providers
We will make recommendations for mental health service providers regarding documentation, releasing records, and testifying when service recipients are domestic violence survivors involved with the civil legal system.
We will develop briefs to address case law that is pertinent to the situations survivors with mental health concerns typically encounter. We will also compile materials that survivors can use to cope with the emotional distress they may experience as a result of civil legal system involvement.
To download a summary of this information click here.
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.