Domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are all-too-common experiences for women and teens who are pregnant or have recently given birth. The Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence have developed a toolkit for professionals in order to better work with women and teens who are pregnant or have children. The toolkit includes discipline specific guidelines for Domestic Violence Advocates. The goal of the guidelines is to present an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to service delivery in order to meet the needs of pregnant and parenting survivors of these forms of victimization.
The strategies in the WA Toolkit were developed by advocates to enhance the services you provide and to promote advocates’ leadership in developing an integrated community response. Look them over and see which guidelines suit your work. You will find practical suggestions to help you:
- Let women know about birth control options that are less likely to be interfered with by an abusive partner
- Understand how reproductive coercion affects the women and teens you help
- Help survivors handle the trauma triggers that may affect their participation in health care or their experience of childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting
- Connect with support professionals such as midwives and doulas who can support women who have experienced trauma
- Reach out to community partners to create a “safety net” of effective services for pregnant and parenting survivors
Reprinted from Pregnant Survivors