Domestic violence is a cycle, and cycles can be broken. Each of our programs is guided by the five domains of well-being, promoting safety, stability, social connectedness, mastery, and access to meaningful resources. In evaluating our work, we apply these domains to survivors’ healing processes, integrating our own markers of success with those that are most important to survivors themselves.
Our work relies on a close, supportive relationship – an alliance – between clients and their advocates. By foregrounding this alliance and integrating it with proven-effective programming and access to meaningful resources, we dramatically raise the likelihood that interventions will have a lasting impact.
Marie first experienced domestic violence when her husband and father of her children physically and emotionally abused her. She fled with her daughters, first to emergency shelter and then to The Second Step. During her ten-month stay with us, Marie and her children accessed a variety of supports – emotional, education, and psychotherapeutic chief among them.
Advocates at The Second Step led residential meetings – bringing a sense of community back to Marie and her daughters – and helped Marie to apply (and eventually be admitted) to college in order to pursue her degree in medical imaging.Having found permanent housing with the help of her advocate, Marie now participates in our Community Programs, particularly peer support group sessions with other survivors. About the impact The Second Step has made, she says –
To have this support around me has given me the wind beneath my wings to keep on soaring. The Second Step is a true stepping-stone, which has given me the strength and the confidence that I can
– and will –
Amalia grew up in foster care, and had suffered a long history abuse. Brad, the father of two of her children, was violent, unpredictable, and intimidating. A permanent restraining order was in place, but Brad was bringing Amalia back into court to get increased access to the children, despite not complying with the terms of the order or paying child support.
Amalia was overwhelmed and terrified. A student legal clinician drafted the initial documents and advised her how to proceed “pro se”, and then referred her to The Second Step.
We took the case and represented Amalia at a lengthy and heated trial. Brad was aggressive, trying to interrogate and intimidate Amalia. Our attorney was able to protect Amalia and her rights, and to limit Brad’s cross-examination to relevant issues. Without this representation, Amalia could have been unable to put her strongest case forward, re-traumatized by Brad during the trial, and coerced into another agreement she didn’t want. Instead, Amalia won a favorable judgment protecting herself and her children.
When she met with The Second Step’s staff attorney, additional facts about the case and the history of Amalia and Brad’s relationship came out, as our staff established a connection and provided a safe, comfortable environment for her. It became clear that she needed more help.