Our Toolkit, called "Hard Times and Healing: Addressing the Intersections Between Domestic Violence and Other Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)" was launched at a statewide training with domestic violence advocates in Alaska at the end of February. In collaboration with the Washington State Domestic Violence Coalition and several tribes in Washington, the Toolkit will be shared through a series of training events in May, 2017.
The concept of creating a toolkit on ACEs for domestic violence service providers and community partners, was conceived during the Fulbright Arctic Initiative, 2015-16. With support from this Initiative, I conducted focus groups with domestic violence shelter directors and staff in Finland to examine how past and current co-occurring adverse childhood experiences, in addition to domestic violence, may influence and inform best practices for working with children exposed to domestic violence, adult survivors and domestic violence offenders. At the same time, as Director of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project and in partnership with the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, we conducted a statewide survey of domestic violence shelters using questions similar to those asked with focus groups in Finland. One of the key findings from both the quantitative and qualitative data was that an open access toolkit that provided information to understand the intersection between domestic violence and ACEs and that included simple strategies to promote resilience, self-regulation and healing would be useful. Findings from the on-line survey and focus groups with domestic violence shelters are being presented at several national conferences in the United States and in Sweden and Finland this spring and next fall.
The Toolkit is in the format of a PowerPoint presentation that is usually delivered during a half-day training. Informed by the latest science, the toolkit uses simple concepts such as the "Upstairs-Downstairs" brain graphic to provider user-friendly information that can be used with clients.
The Toolkit is only available in English at this time but it is hoped that users may translate it in the future. The following topics are addressed in the Toolkit:
- Trauma-Informed Approach
- Focus on Strengths and Skills → Understanding Resilience
- Vicarious Trauma
- The Brain and Stress
- Intersections Between Domestic Violence and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
- Simple Strategies to Promote Resilience, Self-Regulation and Healing
Having recently trained as a Capacitar facilitator, the second part of the day, when scheduling allows, is dedicated to teaching Capacitar, an international model that uses multiple modalities including breath work, movement, acupressure and easy to learn techniques for self-care, healing and preventing vicarious trauma. This skill-based approach builds on content in the toolkit.
Following the trainings in Washington State this May, final edits will be made and the Toolkit will be posted on this site in late summer. For any questions or comments, please contact Linda Chamberlain at email@example.com