Red Wind Consulting’s Vision is to strengthen Tribal programs and Native organizations' ability to develop and enhance local responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking through training and tribal technical assistance.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
(800) 799-7233 (SAFE)
TTY 800-787-3224

National Sexual Assault Hotline
(800) 656-4673
connects you to a local rape crisis program near your phone area code

National Human Trafficking Resource Center
(888) 373-7888
SMS: 233733 (Text "HELP" or "INFO")
National Teen Dating Violence Helpline
(866) 331-9474
Text: loveis to 22522
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Tribal Transitional Housing Technical Assistance

Red Wind will provide customized Technical Assistance is targeted to OVW Tribal Governments grantees focused on Transitional Housing. Red Wind will assist Tribes with building their capacity to develop and implement their Transitional Housing within their communities.

  • One-to-one consultation, resource identification, and problem solving via phone or web conference (as requested).
  • Provide 8 - 10 Webinars. Webinar Schedule available for download.
  • Provide 8-12 Onsite Transitional Housing Trainings/Facilitated Meetings
  • Provide 2-4 Peer Site Visits for tribal programs to visit existing programs and learn from their work.
  • Provide a National Tribal Transitional Housing Conference for Grants to Tribal Governments grantees.
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TRANSITIONAL HOUSING POLICY TEMPLATE

Tribal Transitional Housing Programs just getting started find it helpful to have a template to build their policies. You can
download a policy TEMPLATE here.

Information about Transitional Housing

More than 1 in 2 American Indian and Alaska Native women (55.5%) have experienced physical violence by intimate partners in their lifetime and 40.5% of women have missed days of work or school because of their perpetrators actions (National Institute of Justice Research Report, Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men) This can create economic hardship making it hard to maintain housing. Not only do some women miss work but some women might be forced into not working, making it harder to leave because they have no money for housing.

The dynamics of domestic violence can impact the victim's access to safe housing. A perpetrator might use economic abuse, intimidation, threats, and/or isolation to make leaving or the idea of leaving off the table. Societal factors also impact the ability to access safe housing due to a lack of resources (affordable housing, room at shelters, no equal pay for women, lack of childcare support, etc.). 

The National Coalition for the Homeless explain that domestic violence is a contributing factor to homelessness because as women leave, they often have nowhere to turn. And according to The National Network to End Domestic Violence, "38% of all victims of domestic violence become homeless at some point in their lives and will often leave an abuser multiple times before finally escaping the violence, and therefore experiencing multiple episodes of homelessness." (2016). The percentage of mothers experiencing homelessness with children who previously experienced domestic violence is 80% (domesticshelters.org). The fear of becoming homeless becomes a barrier for women who would like to escape the violence, making the need for shelter and transitional housing critical in keeping women and children safe. 

Transitional Housing, according to
the homeless hub, is: "…conceptualized as an immediate step between emergency crisis shelter and permanent housing. It is more long-term, service-intensive and private than emergency shelters, yet remains time-limited to stays of three months to three years. It is meant to provide a safe, supportive environment where residents can overcome trauma, begin to address the issues that led to their homeless, and begin to rebuild their support network." (2016). 

For women who have experienced domestic violence, transitional housing provides a safe place to heal from the violence and build a life for themselves. Advocates in the transitional housing program have the opportunity to empower and support women into seeing their worth and helping them along their journey of healing. It is important we do it in a respectful and meaningful way. 

When a woman comes in, we take her to a comfortable place; we offer her a cup of tea and ask her if she’d like to rest.
~ Anonymous Advocate
Safety planning is pivotal for women in a transitional housing program. It helps them prepare for the likelihood of future violence and enables survivors  to have options and protect themselves when emergency responders might be too far (Creating Sister Space, Red Wind Consulting). Survivors are the experts in their life. They know what options will work for them and what will not. The advocates role is to simply get them thinking about these options. Keep in mind that not all women are the same. What has worked for some will not always work for someone else. Empowering the survivor to develop their safety plan encourages them to critically think about what will keep them safe, in turn developing their skills to safety plan on their own. 

Some things to consider when safety planning with a woman in a transitional program: 
  • Be sure to include children and pets into the safety planning
  • Talk to them about getting a PO Box 
  • Encourage them to talk to their family, friends and neighbors so that if they see or hear something, they can call the police. 
  • Talk to them about taking different routes to work, school or to the grocery store. 
  • Talk to them about social media and computer safety
  • Always lock doors 
  • Document any instances of threats or protection order violations
  • Keep important documents such as driver's licenses, birth certificates for children and survivor, extra keys etc. in a safe place. 
  • alk to their child's daycare/school so that they are aware and can protect children and privacy. 

When talking with a survivor about safety planning, ask questions that get them to clearly think about what they know (Creating Sister Space, Red Wind Consulting, Inc.): 
  • When do you think you are in danger? Where is that? 
  • What would help you feel safer, both physically and emotionally?
  • What have you done in the past to stay safe? 

Remember, there are some different needs when it comes to safety planning and domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking: 
  • Safety planning for instances of domestic violence, the focus needs to be about anticipating the abusers actions, looking at the dangers and recognizing abusers shift their tactics. It needs to be adaptable and include children and pets. 
  • For instances of sexual assault, safety planning needs to focus on providing community resources, normalizing potential responses and triggers, creating a sense of safety with in themselves and within their personal space as well as anticipating dangers that may result from the perpetrator. 
  • When safety planning for instances of dating violence, it is important to know that many tend to minimize this type of violence. It is important that support systems believe the victim and that they are informed about social media and social community safety. Perpetrators might use social media to vilify and further violate further victimize. 
  • Stalking is not always the result of an intimate relationship. The abuser may not have had a relationship but becomes obsessed/infatuated with the person being stalked. According to the Stalking Resource Center, the majority of stalking victims know the person they are being stalked by.  According to Mullen, Mackenzie, Ogloff, Pathe, McEwan, and Purcell, "In most stalking situations, except where the target is a public figure, the presence of threats increases the risk of progression to violence." (2006) so it is critical to extensively safety plan with the program participant and to especially talk about the frequency of threats. Consider talking about alternative routes to places of work, school and stores; talk about getting a new phone but keeping her old phone to document threats and unwanted contact; keeping location of transitional housing address confidential and get a PO Box; inform neighbors and employer so that if they see or hear anything they report to the police and also to make sure they keep the victim's information confidential.
  • Vulnerable populations and special populations might have additional safety plan needs. It is important that that is addressed in policy and procedure. 
Confidentiality is critical for women's safety. It is incredibly important that a transitional housing program has policies and protocols set in place to maintain its residents’ confidentiality. Because many tribes can be small and in rural areas (Wasserman, 2000; Creating Sister Space, Red Wind Consulting, Inc.), it is not hard for people to identify who is coming and who is going. Advocates might know the participants personally or the offender and the families of each. It is important that in the circumstances of conflicts of interest, advocates refer them to another advocate. 

Access to confidential information should be limited, even within the program. Between advocates, information should only be shared on a
need to know basis. This makes it harder to accidentally share information that is identifiable. Information sharing between programs and organizations also needs to be limited. 

Some things to consider (from Creating Sister Space, Red Wind Consulting, Inc.): 
  • Is communication between advocates and victims confidential? Are there any applicable tribal codes or laws that address confidential victim-advocate communications?
  • Do policies of the advocacy program speak to survivor confidentiality?
  • Do advocates operate independent of government requirements to share victim information?
  • Are there impediments to maintaining confidentiality of survivor-advocate communications in your community. 
  • Anything that you document/write and put in the resident's folder, can be asked for in court by the perpetrator and their lawyer.  
  • Document what is needed for your funding and grant requirements, but keep in mind that anything else you document on might be asked for in court and can be used against the program participant. 
What mandates an advocate to report and what they are required to report on, depends on the state the advocate is working in.

Some of these instances where an advocate might need to report are in cases of child abuse and neglect, and the risk for suicide and homicide. To build and maintain trust with a program participant in a transitional housing program, it is important to be clear to them about your role as a mandated reporter and what that means. Explain what and when you are required to report on. This will have to be addressed multiple times. If there is an instance where an advocate must report, it is important to let the program participant know that you are going to have to report and give them an option to do the report in your office. 
  • Transitional housing programs should have a policy and procedure set in place so that an advocate knows who to report to and when a report is necessary so that Tribal, state and federal laws are being followed.
  • Some programs may require an advocate report to the director or executive director to determine if a report needs to be made.
  • For more information on what your state laws are, in terms of mandated reporting, RAINN is a great resource. 
An advocate for women who have experienced violence gets to be a biased supporter for them. Transitional Housing programs provide an opportunity to support and assist women and their children during their time of healing. Housing is just one piece of the puzzle that leads to healing. Advocates should be knowledgeable on community resources. Advocates should never enforce women in the transitional housing program to participate in anything they do not want to participate in. It is also important that advocates understand the effects of trauma. 

Violence is a traumatic experience and it is important that advocates approach their advocacy in a mindful way that addresses and understands how trauma affects the person who has experienced violence. According to
SAMHSA, there are immediate and delayed reactions to trauma that affect the emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral well-being of the person responding to trauma. Substance abuse can be a delayed behavioral reaction to trauma and should not be reason alone to be kicked out of the transitional housing program. Advocates should be aware of rehabilitation programs that are trauma-informed. It is also up to the participant whether they want to accept help for substance abuse. It is important to continue to safety plan with the survivor from a harm reduction approach. The Harm Reduction Coalition is a great resource and provide a worksheet on overdose prevention. 

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It is important to provide women with many options to help with healing. Traditional healing methods should be an option for Native women in the Transitional Housing program. This might be access to ceremonies, traditional medicines such as sage, cedar and sweetgrass. 
Advocates have the opportunity to make their transitional housing program a space where everyone is treated like a sister, like a relative. And that is critical for the healing and well-being of our communities. 
This project is supported by Grant No. 2015-TA-AX-K069 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in any of these webinars are those of the author(s)/presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.