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April 1, 2013 | External Resource

Trauma-Informed Domestic Violence Services: Understanding the Framework and Approach

Publication Date:

April 01, 2013

In the past 30 years, there has been a profound shift in understanding about the impact of trauma on individuals, families, and society. A growing number of studies have documented the impact of trauma on the brain and have demonstrated that violence and trauma can affect our physical health, mental health, and relationships with others (Felitti, Anda, Nordenberg, et al, 1998De Bellis, Van Dillen, 2005;Classen, Pain, Field, Woods, 2006Lanius, Bluhm, Lanius, Pain, 2006Lyons-Ruth, Dutra, Schuder, Bianchi, 2006McEwen, 2006;Nemeroff, 2004van der Kolk, Roth, Pelcovitz, Sunday, Spinazzola, 2005Yehuda, 2006). At the same time, research on trauma and resilience, combined with what we have learned from the experiences of survivors, advocates, and clinicians has begun to clarify helpful ways to respond, both within and across cultures and communities. This emerging body of knowledge offers information that can be helpful to the domestic violence (DV) field in its work with survivors and their children.

Building on over 20 years of work in this area, the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health (NCDVTMH) has put into practice a framework that integrates a trauma-informed approach with a DV victim advocacy lens. The term trauma-informed is used to describe organizations and practices that incorporate an understanding of the pervasiveness and impact of trauma and that are designed to reduce retraumatization, support healing and resiliency, and address the root causes of abuse and violence (NCDVTMH 2013 adapted from Harris and Fallot 2001). The resources compiled in these linked collections reflect this integrated perspective.