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Supporting critical thinking, learning and victim-defined advocacy...

Understanding what victims in your community think

How can my partner’s violence be reduced or stopped?How will I meet my family’s basic needs?How can I help my children?
Will life be better if I stay or if I go?


When I found them [domestic violence program], so many doors opened, they helped me so much, filing police reports internationally, dealing with added stress of international issues and limit of what I could do with 3 children under age 5 and pregnant.

— Asian & Pacific Islander Survivor, Asian/Pacific Islander Institute

Understanding what victims in your community think

How: There is a wide range of ways to gather and analyze information. Do not let the process or time keep you from finding out what victims think. Just ask! Ask a specific question at intake, or during support groups, or as part of community outreach. You might also ask advocates and others who regularly work with victims what they are hearing. Gather information from as many victims as possible, those you regularly serve and those you don’t. Know who is missing from your data. Is it women of color, immigrants, victims living in poverty, LGBT victims or other marginalized group? Make an effort to find out what they think.

Then think and talk about what you’re hearing. Information used in this process should be generalized to protect victims’ safety and privacy. If resources are available conduct formal research, inquire about a broader range of issues, or track information over a longer term. Do what you can, but do something.

What to ask victims about getting what they need:
Ask what is relevant to the priorities and context of your advocacy. Ask some open ended questions that will give you information about victims’ priorities. Do victims think that your advocacy will make life better for them and their children? What do they think you should do?

Sample questions to help you frame the ones you’ll ask:
What options, resources, strategies would make life safer and better for them and their children? What do they need? What are the barriers to them getting what they need?

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