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Become an ally in service

Don't forget to register to become an Ally in Service.

As an Ally, you will be a leader in our community, advocating for domestic and sexual violence victims, armed with education materials to inform your organization of ways to not only recognize victims, but to help them, too.

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victims and social services

Victims of domestic and sexual violence often find themselves completely isolated from friends and family with no where to turn for help. Social service agencies are often the first place a victim may turn to for help or guidance in leaving the abuse or recovering for it. Social service agencies have the knowledge and resources needed to help a victim become a survivor. 

It takes more than just walking away to leave an abusive relationship or to recover from a sexual assault. Victims often need a job, place to live, food, furniture, transportation and even an ID and social security card. Social service organizations can help fill these needs or recommend a group that could. These organizations are also often armed with education materials and assistance to help a victim avoid revictimization.

leaders in social services

Social workers represent an integral part of the immediate identification and support to domestic and sexual violence victims. The innate nature of social workers is revealed in that they have chosen to enter a field designed to support the vulnerable families and individuals in our society. Social workers tend to create positive relationships with these members as social workers are known to be warm, open, trustworthy and to treat people with fairness. This bond allows social workers to potentially identify victims before a victim has admitted to others (or even her/himself) that she/he is a victim of domestic or sexual violence. 

As mandatory reporters, social workers need to know the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence and the best ways to support the victims.

signs that someone may be a victim of abuse

remember, you may be one of the few people who see the victim in a vulnerable state.

Signs to be aware of:

  • Does the victim have visible injuries, such as black eyes, bruises or broken bones?
  • Does the victim tend to miss work or services because of frequent "accidents?"
  • Does the victim's partner exert an unusual amount of control over their activities?
  • Do you notice the partner controlling family finances, the way victim acts or dresses or the victim's contact with family members and friends?
  • Does the partner ridicule the victim publicly? 
  • Have you noticed changes in the victim's or the children's behavior? Do they appear frightened, exhausted or on edge? Do the children seem to upset easily? Are they experiencing sudden problems in school or other activities?
sad kid with her mom

What every social worker should know

you can be part of a community's understanding that violence is not acceptable under any circumstance.

Ways to enhance your community's awareness of domestic and sexual violence:

  • Educate yourself about the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence
  • Understand that domestic violence is a crime that happens frequently. Some reports show it happens in up to 50% of relationships
  • Domestic violence occurs in all socioeconomic levels, race, education levels and genders
  • It is about power and control, not just anger and conflict 
  • Domestic violence harms children. Studies have shown that up to 70% of domestic violence abusers also abuse the children, but 100% of children living in a home with domestic violence are affected 
  • Victims are often blamed for the violence
  • People living with disabilities may be at higher risk for being a victim of violence as they are often dependent on family members or loved ones for daily needs
  • Money does matter. It isn't easy for a victim to leave for many reasons, but one is financial ability to leave. Often times a lower income victim has a choice to leave and live in her/his car (or on streets) or stay in the abusive relationship
  • Abusers aren't always alcoholics or addicts. Even more, the abusers tend to be very charming, appealing and manipulative people
  • Invite Hope Alliance to speak and facilitate discussions with the staff and volunteers of your organization
  • Display phone numbers and posters about Hope Alliance's services and hotline number in your restrooms and bulletins
  • Participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) and Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April)
Social issues, domestic violence with young husband trying to reconcile with abused wife

Types of Domestic Violence

Physical Abuse-Perhaps the most recognized form, physical abuse may include behaviors such as:

  • Hitting, slapping, punching, kicking
  • Burning
  • Strangulation
  • Damaging personal property
  • Refusing medical care and/or controlling medication
  • Coercing partner into substance abuse
  • Use of weapons

 

 

Emotional Abuse-Emotional abuse occurs when an intimate partner seeks to control his/her loved one by:

  • Name calling, insulting
  • Blaming the partner for everything
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Intimidation
  • Shaming, humiliating
  • Isolation
  • Controlling what the partner does and where the partner goes
  • Stalking

 

Teenage girl depression - lost love - isolated on white background
Thief Stealing Teenage Girl's Mobile Phone

Technology Abuse-This form of abuse includes the use of technology to control and stalk a partner. Technological abuse can happen to people of all ages, but it is more common among teenagers who use technology and social media in interact in a manner often unmonitored by adults. Examples include:

  • Hacking into a partner’s email and personal accounts
  • Using tracking devices in a partner’s cell phone to monitor their location, phone calls and messages
  • Monitoring interactions via social media
  • Demanding to know partner’s passwords

Financial Abuse-Any behavior that maintains power and control over finances constitutes financial abuse. Examples include causing a partner to lose their job through direct and indirect means, such as:

  • Inflicting physical harm or injury that would prevent the person from attending work
  • Harassing partner at their workplace
  • Controlling financial assets and effectively putting partner on an allowance
  • Damaging a partner’s credit score

 

Immigration Abuse-there are specific tactics of abuse that may be used against immigrant partners, including:

  • Destroying immigration papers
  • Restricting partner from learning English
  • Threatening to hurt partner’s family in their home country
  • Threatening to have partner deported

It is important to remember that in the U.S.  undocumented immigrants have rights and protections, and that in the case of an emergency, contacting the police should be a priority.

portrait of a asian woman victim of domestic abuse
A sad woman is sitting alone on the cold concrete behind a shed

Types of Sexual violence

The term "sexual violence" is an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. Please note that the legal definition of crimes vary from state to state. There are often other crimes and forms of violence that arise jointly with crimes like sexual assault, and these are described as well. Please note, this is not a complete list.

Sexual Assault-The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.

Rape-The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent.

Incest-The term incest refers to sexual contact between family members.

Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault-Drug-facilitated sexual assault occurs when alcohol or drugs are used to compromise an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity. These substances make it easier for a perpetrator to commit sexual assault because they inhibit a person’s ability to resist and can prevent them from remembering the assault. 

Child Sexual Abuse-The term refers to when a perpetrator intentionally harms a minor physically, psychologically, sexually, or by acts of neglect.

Abused child sitting on the floor in her home hold her teddy bear, suffering from a severe depression.

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