Safety Planning withIndividuals with DisabilitiesSara Zesski – New Jersey Coalition for BatteredWomenErica Olsen, M.S.W. – The National Network to EndDomestic Violence
Topics for Today Risks to Leaving Risk Assessment Safety Plan Elements
Key Terms Safety planning is the process of supporting a survivor to identify resources and precautions that will help him or her avoid revictimization. Danger assessment is the process of gathering information to determine level of danger. Disability is a product of an interaction between characteristics (e.g., conditions or impairments, functional status, or personal and social qualities) of the individual and characteristics of the natural, built, cultural, and social environments.
Safety PlanningGuideline should: ◦ Consider environment and social barriers ◦ Support and encourage self determination ◦ Consider the diversity of the person’s needs ◦ Be developed together with the survivor ◦ Prioritize safety, needs and wants
Abuser-Generated Risks toLeaving Physical Injury Psychological Harm Child-Related Risks Financial Risks Risk to Family and Friends Loss of Relationship Risk Involving Arrest or Legal Status
Life-Generated Risks toLeaving Financial Home Location Physical and Mental Health Discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation
Risk/Danger Assessment Create a safe place Don’t make about assumptions their disability Start with the survivor’s questions and concerns Validate what the person is saying Use simple concrete language and avoid jargon
Risk/Danger Assessment Don’t pretend to understand if you don’t Ask about abuser and life generated risks Survivor is the ‘expert’ of perpetrator’s behavior and their own needs
Risk/Danger Assessment Understand that there may be other things on their mind besides the abuse Talk to them about what makes them feel safe and unsafe Ask about where and when abuse occurs Remember that they have experienced trauma and may not ‘react’ to things the way you expect
Preparing for Safety Planning Have they had a safety plan before? What worked? What didn’t? Is their disability status the same or different from last time?
Living with the Abuser Living in a Group Setting Do you feel unsafe at Where does the abuse home? occur? Are other people Do you have children? in the home at that time? Do you have a plan with What can you do to avoid them to stay safe? being alone with the Does the abuser meet abuser? any of your daily needs Which people in the (i.e. bathing, toileting)? house do you trust? Staff? Fellow residents? Safety at Home
Standard Safety Planning Disability Concerns What are the warning Survivor may not pick up signs that abuse may on social cues depending occur? on the disability. S/he may not trust their What happens when you own instincts due to are scared? compliance issues. Include not only the layout of the home, exits Where does the abuse and open areas but occur? which areas are accessible or not. During a Violent Incident
Standard Safety Planning Disability Concerns What knives, guns or other things This issue can be much can be used to hurt you? Where broader, especially if person are they? depends on perpetrator for personal care. Who is your network of support? Discuss friends, family, neighbors, other service providers and the reality of being able to help in an How would you let them know emergency. you needed help? Consider a person’s mobility and communication devices, how will they get help without them? During a Violent Incident
Standard Safety Planning Disability Concerns Are you thinking about Transportation can be leaving? What do you complex and often takes think will happen if you pre-scheduling. leave? Can the place they want to go accommodate their Where are you planning disability needs? to go? Stress importance of having those supports. Who are the people that you trust to help you? Getting Ready to Leave
Standard Safety Planning Disability Concerns Do you have your own If the abuser is the bank account? If not, set representative one up. payee, contact Social If they receive benefits – Security Administration to do you know how much change it. your benefits are? Do you have an award If abuser is primary letter? caregiver, consider a time that may be safe for someone else to help Prepare items you need to take with you when him/her pack belongings you leave. and hold them. Getting Ready to Leave
GETTING READY TOLEAVEDisability Concerns Is your abuser your caregiver? Explore alternative options to getting your needs met. What kind of assistive technology do you use? What are the must haves? Where can you get replacements or loans if you have to leave with it? What types of medications do you take and how much? Can these be left with someone else? Do you know where you can get refills?
Standard Safety Planning Disability Concerns Do you go to work or Discuss how they get to school? and from job/school. Does the abuser know Explore possibilities of where these are? changing work/school Are there times when locations. you are alone on the job/school? Talk with supervisors about changing Decide who you will inform of your situation. schedules or job duties. Devise a plan for arriving Consider accessibility of and leaving a building. the entrances or exits. Safety on at Job/School
Safety with a Protective Order Do you have a restraining order or are you thinking of getting one? Who knows that you have one? Consider who should get a copy of it. Make a plan for what to do if abuser does not obey the order. Keep it with you at all times!
Concluding the Safety PlanningProcess Ask the survivor if he/she has any further concerns or questions Review the key points of the plan Discuss the need and safety factors of taking a written or electronic copy of the plan
Concluding the Safety PlanningProcess Discuss items that require follow up by either the survivor or you Consider discussing possible scenarios and what they would do in that situation
Tips for Advocates When Supporting anIndividual with a Disability Ask the survivor about specific physical and attitudinal barriers they face Present materials in a clear, concise manner Be aware of your own assumptions about the survivor’s ability and disability Allow extra time to understand complicated choices
Tips for Advocates When Supporting anIndividual with a Disability Use opened questions to gather more information Confirm with the survivor that they understand the plan Listen to the survivor’s ideas about risks and resources Consider involving other agencies in the process if safe and confidential
References Joanne Berman, Eileen Dombo, Roy Froemming, Dianne Greenley, Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik, Leslie Myers and Christine White. Widening the Circle: Sexual Assault/Abuse and People with Disabilities and the Elderly. Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Fall 1998. Carrie Frasier, Linda Mintzer, Cindi Black, Mary Ann Gainey and Linda Spies. Open Minds, Open Doors. Denver, Colorado: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Denver, Colorado: Domestic Violence Initiative for Women with Disabilities, 1996. Jill Davies, Eleanor Lyon and Diane Monti-Catania. Safety Planning with Battered Women. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, 1998. Volunteers of Finex House. Escape: A Handbook for Battered Women with Disabilities. Jamaica Plan, Massachusetts: Finex House. Serving Crime Victims with Disabilities. DVD. Office for Victims of Crime, 2009. Domestic Violence Danger Assessment and Safety Planning – An Interactive Training DVD. DVD. Emerge Counseling and Education to Stop Domestic Violence. Hughes, Celia. Stop the Violence, Break the Silence (a training guide). Austin, Texas: Safe Place, 2003.
Helpful Websites Baylor College of Medicine - http://www.bcm.edu/crowd/index.cfm?pmid=1325 Washinton State Coalition Againt Domestic Violence –http://www.wscadv.org/docs/protocol_disability_safety_planning.pdf Accessing Safety –http://www.accessingsafety.org/uploads/File/Kansas_City_Advocate_Guide _Safety_Planning.pdf Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence - http://www.vaw.umn.edu/documents/safetyplandisability/safetyplandisabi lity.pdf Strengthen Our Sisters - http://www.strengthenoursisters.org/safetyplansos2010.pdf