Voices Rising Sessions Roundup: Innovations and New Perspectives

The national domestic violence conference by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence returns in 2018! Here at NCADV, our staff has been working hard for almost two years on this event, which will be held in Rhode Island for the first time in the conference’s history. NCADV’s conferences consistently offer advocates and survivors the most cutting edge content with its workshops, plenary sessions, and pre-conference intensives. We’ve rounded up 15 workshops that offer innovations and fresh perspectives on classic topics, which you will have the opportunity to attend when you register for the 2018 conference, Voices Rising! Read on for workshop descriptions of innovative work being done with the criminal justice system, domestic violence and brain injury, engaging men, firearms, forced marriage, housing, human trafficking, serving immigrant survivors and refugees, the impact of oppression, serving male-identified survivors, mobile advocacy, organizational transformation, and restorative justice.

Criminal Justice System

Redefining Safety and Accountability: Rethinking our Relationship with the Criminal Justice System

Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, Coalitions and agencies serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence have been inextricably linked with the criminal justice system. Communities of color warned at the time that this would have a negative impact on their communities, and nearly 25 years later, it's clear they were right.

Coalition representatives will share information about:

  • efforts they are undertaking to divest from the CJS and invest in communities
  • the partnerships that have evolved as a result, and
  • the alternatives to safety that are being considered.

Domestic Violence and Brain Injury

Beneath the Bruises: Using the CARE Model to work effectively with survivors

When most people hear the term "brain injury", their mind usually goes to football players or military veterans. But there is compelling evidence that domestic violence victims experience more assaults to the head than either of these groups. For decades we have known that abusers most often target the head, neck and face. But just recently have we started to realize the impact is much deeper and can affect how the brain functions.

Come to this session to learn:

  • an innovative model for making these invisible injuries visible and
  • accommodating the unique needs of survivors with head injuries.

Engaging Men

Ending domestic violence, Ten Men at a time.

Ten Men aims to shift harmful gender norms that contribute to a culture in which violence is tolerated. To this end, the RICADV recruits ten male community leaders annually who are asked to work within their spheres of influence by:

  1. educating themselves and others about men’s role in ending domestic violence (DV)
  2. bringing visibility to men engaged in DV prevention efforts through public awareness campaigns and communications strategies
  3. mobilizing the community to find solutions for preventing DV.

Participants will learn about Ten Men’s program structure and communications strategies.


Coming Together to Disarm Domestic Violence

Guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination. More than half of all women murdered in the United States are killed by an intimate partner with a gun, and the chance of being murdered by an abusive partner increases five-fold when there is a gun in the home. Abusers also use guns as a tool to terrorize and control victims in various ways. According to the latest research, policies that prohibit abusers from purchasing or possessing guns are effective at reducing intimate partner homicide. But despite this clear intersection, our laws still have far too many gaps that allow abusers to obtain and keep firearms. These loopholes are due in part to the variability in state firearm removal policies.

To shed light on these gaps, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV) and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility have teamed up to launch a new initiative: Disarm Domestic Violence. This collaborative effort will culminate in a website that allows individuals to research state-specific laws on domestic violence restraining order firearm removals.

The legal avenues available to survivors of domestic violence can change as soon as they step across state lines. While some states have strong laws regarding firearm prohibition and removal, others have nebulous policies – some never even explicitly mention guns in state law. Given this dramatic variability, exploring options for disarming abusers can be difficult for legal professionals and advocates – and even more difficult for survivors with no legal training. In order to prevent gun-related domestic violence fatalities, survivors, advocates, and those in the judicial system must have a comprehensive understanding of the existing legal nuances and options available to them.

The Disarm Domestic Violence initiative, which will launch in 2018, will demystify these discrepancies by providing a user-friendly, interactive map that allows users to see details about removal in their states. The website will be a one-stop shop for anyone seeking information on state firearm removal and domestic violence laws. By obviating the need for extensive legal research, the website will enable survivors to advocate for themselves more effectively.

Domestic Violence and Firearms: An Advocate's Guide to the Law, to Challenges and to Solutions

Domestic violence homicide accounts for a third of total homicides of women and one out of twenty homicides of men; two-thirds of these homicides are committed using firearms.  Recent high-profile mass shootings involving domestic abusers have raised awareness about the often fatal consequences when domestic abusers are able to obtain firearms.  Less recognized are the 4.5 million American women alive today who have been threatened by an abuser with a gun and the one million of those who have been shot or shot at.  Firearms are a potent tool of power and control.

In this session, we will explore:

  • some of the latest research about the use of firearms by abusers
  • develop an understanding of the strengths and limitations of federal law
  • discuss the importance and effectiveness of state and local laws.

We will also consider several federal bills that address, from a variety of angles, the danger abusers with firearms pose to their victims, their families, their communities, law enforcement, and the general public.

Forced Marriage

Dynamics of Forced Marriage – Closing Protection Gaps and Responding to Individuals at Risk

Forced marriage, itself a form of family violence, often results in physical, psychological, and sexual abuse and frequently intersects with other forms of harm. These intersecting forms of harm, often perpetrated by individuals close to the victim, make forced marriage cases extremely complex. Attendees will:

  • understand and appreciate these dynamics and
  • be equipped with guidance and tools on how best to assist through both direct service provision and policy advocacy, with special attention given to cases involving international travel, immigration concerns, and status as a minor.


Innovative Housing Responses to Increase Safe Housing Options for DV Survivors facing Homelessness

The Domestic Violence & Housing Technical Assistance Consortium (DVHTAC) is an unprecedented federal initiative created to improve policies, identify promising practices and strengthen collaborations necessary to improve housing options for survivors facing homelessness a result of violence. We will:

  • explore innovative safe housing models including: DV Housing First, Rapid Rehousing, prevention/diversion, and flexible funding;
  • a brief overview of HUD's Coordinated Entry and HMIS requirements; and,
  • the use of VOCA funds to create new, innovative housing alternatives

Human Trafficking

Strategies for Implementing Human Trafficking Services in Your Agency and Community

This workshop will focus on the information and tools needed to be successful in implementing human trafficking services and resources in pre-existing domestic violence programs and into communities collaborations. We will discuss ways that policies can be altered to fit this population, as well as adding questions to intakes and referrals. Last, we will emphasize the importance of a community wide response and share a guideline that will be implemented in our community so victims and agencies know who to contact and how to access services for victims. Discussion includes how to implement community education.

Immigrant Survivors/Refugees

Enhanced Safety Planning for Immigrant Survivors

This workshop will help participants create enhanced safety plans for immigrant survivors of violence. The presenter will offer best practices to help immigrants navigate a number of systems, including

  • encounters with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • housing authorities
  • Child Protective Services
  • health care systems, and others.

Impact of Oppression

Transforming the Economic Landscape Facing Survivors

This workshop will engage attendees in activities to address the questions:

  • What is the “economic ripple effect of domestic violence” in their communities?
  • How does racial bias show up for survivors, within our programs, and in navigating safety?
  • How do we develop strategies that center the voices and experiences of marginalized survivors and work towards systems change?

Male-Identified Survivors

Enhancing Services for Male-Identified Survivors of Domestic Violence

Utilizing information gathered through site visits to several local domestic violence programs and an expert roundtable convened by the Family Violence Prevention and Service Program (FVPSA), the presentation will highlight successes and challenges articulated by programs addressing the needs of male-identified survivors of domestic violence. In addition to providing an overview of the various approaches used by local programs and coalitions, the presentation will also provide guiding principles to support programs in building their capacity to serve male-identified survivors.

Mobile Advocacy

Advocacy in Motion

Mobile Advocacy is an option for survivors who do not need/want to enter shelter. To develop and maintain a mobile advocacy program, an organization has to make a commitment to provide this type of service and explore ways to support the process. Safety planning has to take a step further and not only address the survivor’s safety, but that of the Advocate providing the mobile services. Finding ways to increase access while decreasing risk is key to mobile advocacy. While the model is gaining popularity and sounds straight forward, there are challenges and barriers that must be addressed.

Organizational Transformation

Our Journey of Transformation

The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence has been on a transformational journey – from an inward-facing individual and organizational transformation to an outward-facing journey. Kelly Miller and Jennifer Martinez will share what inspired the transformation, and what did the internal individual and organizational changes look like as well as the external changes to the now what does this mean for our future work. The Idaho Coalition will share our theory of change process as well as ongoing challenges and successes in working toward a multi-cultural, liberating organization.

Restorative Justice

A National Portrait of Restorative Justice Approaches to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: Preliminary Findings from the United States

This presentation presents findings from a national survey of restorative justice programs and tribal peacemaking circles to address domestic violence and sexual assault conducted in 2018 funded by the Office of Violence Against Women and the National Institute of Justice. The presenters will share findings on where the programs are located, how long they have been in existence, why the programs were started, and the programs’ goals and objectives.

Discussions will include:

  • identified best practices, performance measures, challenges and
  • what is happening in participants' communities.

Restorative Justice: Promise and Perils

The presentation will address the history of restorative justice (RJ), as an alternative and community based vehicle for providing healing and accountability. It will then pull in statistics regarding the domestic/sexual violence context, particularly the increasing reluctance of some communities to engage with law enforcement, followed by a discussion of the potential uses of RJ to address some domestic/sexual violence cases as an alternative to engaging the carceral system. The presentation will also address the pros, cons and potential unintended consequences of restorative justice use.


We’ll be highlighting even more sessions over the coming weeks, so be sure to check back on the NCADV blog frequently for updates!

To see the full list of workshops, plenaries, and pre-conference intensives:

Visit Our Website

To see these workshops in action:

Register Now for Voices Rising


Posted by Lynn Brewer-Muse at 06:00
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Effective October 6, 2022, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) have joined together. To learn more about this exciting venture, to expand the eco-system of holistic and inclusive support for survivors and advocates, please visit Project Opal.