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Healing from sexual violence is a process that often takes time, resources, and empathic support. A common analogy for the healing process is a spiral. You go through the same stages again and again, but traveling up the spiral, you pass through them at a different level, with a different perspective…

With each new cycle, your capacity to feel, to remember, to make lasting changes is strengthened (Bass & Davis, 2008, p. 59). Sexual assault services programs play a pivotal role in the healing journey of those who have experienced sexual violence. They provide advocacy services related to the immediate crisis and long-term needs of survivors, as well as prevention and education efforts focused on building strong and safe communities.

Many of the individuals served are survivors of multiple forms of trauma, including historical trauma, repeated victimization, marginalization, discrimination, and other forms of violence. When programs are grounded in this understanding, it sets the foundation for providing services that are anticipative of and responsive to the trauma that survivors have experienced.

This guide provides information to support sexual assault services programs in strengthening their organizational and individual responses to survivors of sexual violence through the use of a trauma-informed approach. Download the complete guide, Building Cultures of Care: A Guide for Sexual Assault Services Programs (PDF).

It is organized as follows:

  • Understanding trauma
  • Defining trauma-informed services
  • Core principles of trauma-informed services
  • Spheres of implementation
  • A guide for integrating trauma-informed services

Tips for Advocacy Programs

This guide provides information to support advocacy programs in strengthening their organizational and individual responses to survivors of sexual violence through the use of a trauma-informed approach. It provides an overview of the core principles of trauma-informed care and guiding points and questions to help advocacy programs build cultures grounded in the philosophy of trauma-informed service delivery. This guide, along with Picturing Your Program: Planning for Organizational Growth, can be used to build your organizational change plan in order to best meet the needs of survivors of sexual violence.

Tips for Coalitions

This guide provides information to support advocacy programs in strengthening their organizational and individual responses to survivors of sexual violence through the use of a trauma-informed approach. It provides an overview of the core principles of trauma-informed care and guiding points and questions to help advocacy programs build cultures grounded in the philosophy of trauma-informed service delivery. This guide, along with Picturing Your Program: Planning for Organizational Growth, can be used as your work with programs in your state or territory to build their organizational change plan in order to best meet the needs of survivors of sexual violence.

Tips for Administrators

This guide provides information to support advocacy programs in strengthening their organizational and individual responses to survivors of sexual violence through the use of a trauma-informed approach. It provides an overview of the core principles of trauma-informed care and guiding points and questions to help advocacy programs build cultures grounded in the philosophy of trauma-informed service delivery. This guide can be used to inform your work in funding services that best meet the needs of survivors of sexual violence.