Woman-Centered Advocacy & Empowerment Counseling

a woman is comforting another woman

Domestic Violence – A Gendered Issue

Domestic violence is a gendered issue. Many sources indicate that between 90-95% of victims of intimate partner violence are females with males as perpetrators. The population that calls domestic violence crisis hotlines and uses the services is over 95% women.

Domestic violence programs are often challenged on this issue. At some point in an advocate’s career, they will be asked if there aren’t just as many men battered as women. Statistics say otherwise. At the same time, we recognize that men may also be victims and offer services and support to male victims as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims.

Woman-Centered Advocacy…

simply means working with and on behalf of the battered woman, NOT for her or doing something to her. Advocates meet each battered woman where she is at any particular point in time, shaping responses to reflect and support her critical needs and choices, and being ever mindful of the experiences unique to her and which comprise her worldview.

Empowerment Counseling…

is crisis and short-term with a goal of restoration of the victim’s dignity, power, and control over her own life. It builds upon the victim’s own strengths and resources. It is not therapy. It requires an informed helper and includes information, resources, advocacy, and education.

The primary focus of the work of domestic violence advocates is being “change agents” – working with and on behalf of battered women, creating an environment in which the victim can identify, express, explore, and understand the feelings in operation in order to act on her own behalf or to ask for assistance.

DVSSP’s Empowerment Counseling is trauma informed.

Empowerment Counseling and Women-Centered Advocacy mean…

Women have a right to:

  • Control the decisions affecting their lives
  • Protection and safety
  • Access institutions like the police and courts
  • Expect the batterer to be held accountable
  • Autonomy

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