A Window Between Worlds

Type of Approach:

  • Group

Provider Education Level:

  • Bachelors Degree
  • Masters Degree
  • Other
  • Para-professional
  • PhD


  • Less than 12 weeks

Trauma Type:

  • Domestic Violence
  • Homicide/Familicide
  • Sexual Abuse

Trauma Symptom:

  • Unspecified


  • Correctional
  • Day Care
  • Domestic Violence Shelter
  • Headstart and Early Education Programs
  • Homeless Shelter
  • Hospital-based
  • Other
  • Other Community Settings
  • Residential
  • School


Type of Services:

A Window Between Worlds (AWBW) is a non-profit organization dedicated to using art to help end domestic violence.

AWBW shares best practices based on more than 20 years of experience in partnering with domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) agencies in arts program development and using art as a healing tool.

The Children’s Windows Program supports healing by providing children with opportunities to tell their stories, express their feelings, and rebuild their self-esteem. Windows workshops offer a process of self-exploration and self-interpretation. Art gives children positive ways to handle their anger and pain—an essential step in breaking the chain of family violence for future generations. In a non-threatening environment, domestic violence survivors of all ages gain access to emotions that are buried deep inside as a result of the DV they experienced which can help them with self-expression and developing positive coping skills.

Through AWBW’s supplementary Teen Program, leaders gain access to comprehensive curriculum that addresses the unique challenges and needs of this important population. Our curriculum has recently expanded to include teen dating violence and other related topics.

AWBW builds capacity at each partner agency by providing initial and ongoing Leadership training, curriculum, and necessary resources including funding to maintain an effective art program and increase awareness of DV agencies and resources. AWBW will provide expertise and funding to collaborating agencies to hold exhibits of survivor artwork thus breaking the silence that allows domestic violence to continue in our communities.

During 2011, AWBW Children’s Windows Programs reached over 37,000 participants including 6,800 children that participated in an average of 5-6 art sessions during their shelter stay. A total of 5,592 workshops were held at 129 sites throughout Los Angeles, California and the U.S.

Many shelters have found that the AWBW workshops are particularly effective at bridging religious, ethnic, cultural and language divides by using art as a shared language.

In the words of one shelter leader, “Our programs have always used art to work with the residents, but it was not until we collaborated with AWBW that art has become a real tool for healing.”

Type of Provider:

Domestic violence and sexual assault advocates and service providers at other agencies (examples include family, women and children’s programs, schools, police departments and church groups) who provide domestic violence- and/or sexual assault-related support services. AWBW will also work with service providers in other settings such as private clinical practice and hospice.

Program Setting:

Any domestic violence, sexual assault or family services agency.

Length of Program/Number of sessions:

While the duration of the art program must be brief due to the nature of the crisis environment, the impact of each class often has a profound effect on the children. For this reason AWBW continually hones and adds to our curriculum to provide collaborating programs with 1-2 hour workshops that best meet the needs of their population. The curriculum consists of over 475 workshops searchable by age-level, art supply and emotional theme with links to tips, highlights, quotes and variations contributed by thousands of AWBW leaders over 20 years.

Types of trauma addressed:

All forms of interpersonal violence including domestic violence and sexual assault.

Date Added/Updated:



  • 0-5 (Early Childhood)
  • 13-17 (Adolescent)


  • English
  • Spanish

Ethnic Racial Group:

  • American Indian, Alaska Native, Other Indigenous
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Immigrant or Refugee
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • Unspecified
  • White

Caregivers Included:

  • Mother

Population Adaptations:

AWBW tries to be especially cognizant of issues surrounding marginalized communities. With this sensitivity in mind, we feel responsible and committed to making sure that all people are included and have access to equal resources. Our goal is to ensure that no community is excluded, by creating curriculum that crosses ALL cultures, religions, genders, classes, and sexual or affectional orientation.

Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

The art workshop model emphasizes respect for each individual’s creative expression and that there are no “rules” for making art. Art activities are designed to be accessible to “non-artists” and artists alike.

Languages available:

English and some Spanish

Parent/adult caregiver included in intervention:

Women’s programs and children’s programs are separate. AWBW offers a supplementary Family Windows Program, giving women and children an opportunity to bond/reconnect, to find new ways to communicate and envision a new future.


Theoretical basis:

Trauma-Informed Care Model

Outcome indicators:

On an ongoing basis, weekly, monthly, and annual evaluations are completed by staff at partner sites to capture quantitative and qualitative data. AWBW evaluates the impact of the art workshops through targeted and quantifiable questions on workshop logs completed after each session by art program leaders. The logs provide leaders with a way to debrief after each art session, to continually reexamine their approach, and to learn from their experiences. On a monthly basis, the leaders review their logs and submit them to AWBW, along with a monthly evaluation report that addresses specific questions regarding the effectiveness of the program, including its impact on their clients’ growth, healing, and empowerment over time. At the conclusion of each year, leaders submit an annual evaluation summarizing program accomplishments and its usefulness in their clients’ overall healing process.

Evaluation Studies:

At the end of 2011, 108 active children’s programs filled out annual evaluations to assess the usefulness of the art process in supporting children’s healing.

Feedback from 108 active Children’s Windows Programs indicated:

  • 98% of our program leaders reported that the art workshops helped the children to communicate in a non-violent way
  • 91% observed that the Windows program made a positive difference in the children’s relationships with their parents and/or siblings
  • 97% observed a positive impact on relationships with peers
  • 84% found the art program helped the women and children build trust with the staff and use the shelter’s support more readily

  • Comparing the AWBW art sessions to the other services provided at their agencies at year-end 2011, Windows leaders reported the following unique impacts:

  • 93% observed that the art workshops helped them to make breakthroughs with clients who are hardest to reach, and the majority of these found the art program MORE effective than ANY OTHER service in this regard
  • 84% found the art program helped the women and children build trust with the staff and use the shelter’s support more readily
  • 91% of the leaders observed that the Windows Program made a positive difference in the children’s relationships with their parents and siblings
  • 97% observed a positive impact on children’s relationships with peers

  • Published results:


    Pilot or evaluation studies in progress:


    Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

    This intervention was not rated by the registries/databases we reviewed.

Training Contact:

Christy Turek,, 310-396-0317 x 210

Training Notes:

Training manuals:

AWBW provides all collaborating programs with a Children’s Windows Program manual and supplementary manuals such as Family Windows, Teen Windows and Spanish Windows manuals. In addition, AWBW provides funding and ongoing curriculum.

Training available:

Children’s Windows Leadership Trainings are offered twice per year at our Los Angeles Studio. AWBW also offers opportunities for hosted trainings and through conferences such as NCADV and CPEDV. Scholarships and funding are available for domestic violence service providers. Applications and deadlines are submitted online at Training is also offered for a fee for service providers in other settings.

Program Contact