In this third installment of the multi-part minisode series on worker safety and well-being, Ruth and David explore the connection between worker safety and victim-blaming. In a just over 15 minutes, David & Ruth discuss:
How a lack of knowledge of how fathers’ choices impact families and engagement skills with men hamper work with violent fathers
How these gaps can be worse for fathers from communities where racism has led to the further vilification of men, as being dangerous, irresponsible, or irrelevant
How this lack of knowledge, skills and confidence can lead to workers feeling unsafe about engaging fathers who have been violent, which leaves the worker to focus on survivors’ choices as a means to keep children safe
Victim blaming results when the survivor doesn’t act in accordance with agency wishes
In the second half of the minisode, David and Ruth outline some steps agencies can take including:
Training workers to have the skills and confidence to assess the influence of all father’s choices on the family functioning – not just seeing the mum as the responsible for the functioning of the home.
Training workers in the skills and confidence to engage fathers, even ones with histories of violence
Prioritize whole- of-family work including incorporation in to reflective supervision
Require regular conversations about worker emotional and physical safety in domestic violence cases as a regular, proactive part of supervision
Create a culture where workers know that expressing safety worries is normal, and that they will be supported around strategies for safety, not judged for disclosing fears
Ensure that domestic violence case are explicitly mentioned in any worker safety policy
About the worker safety and well-being minisode series The goal of the series is to address the critical issues of worker safety and well-being as a critical aspect of domestic violence-informed systems. This is a series for frontline staff across child protection, mental health and addiction, courts and other systems. We hope it will validate their experiences. This is also a series for human resources managers and organizational leadership. Setting policies and procedures to address worker emotional & professional safety in the context of domestic violence cases is essential to creating a domestic violence-informed agency.
Topics in the series include:
When workers are targeted by the perpetrator of one of the clients
The connection between worker safety in engaging perpetrators and mother-blaming practice.
When workers are being targeted by their own perpetrator (through the workplace and at home)
When workers own experience of abuse are triggered by their work with families
Managing your own fears, as the worker, about the safety of the family.
You asked, we answered. Amidst our current, global political and social upheavals, during movements, activism and testimonies, legal cases, fear and victim-blaming – we’ve heard your voice asking for clarity, insight and thoughts about how all of this is reflected in the Safe & Together Model. Many of the stories and news pieces we hear about from our partners all over the world involve complex questions, yet the beginnings of change and hope are based on the sound, simple principles of the Model.
To that end, in our new podcast, “Partnered with a Survivor,” S&T’s Executive Director and Founder, David Mandel and Ruth Stearns Mandel offer a raw and intimate glimpse into their personal and professional partnership and what it means to truly partner with a survivor, raise a family based on S&T principles and engage in social change at every level. This is a podcast for practitioners and parents, partners and employers, coworkers and friends – and anyone else who may want clarity, understanding, hope and healing.
What does it mean to give consistent consent? What is coercive control? How do you probably see it or feel it every day? This is a podcast you’ll wish you had heard when you were a teenager. In unsure, confusing times, it’s our goal to widen the audience for the Safe & Together Model-associated material to survivors, their family members, and even perpetrators. For professionals familiar with the Model, it will offer another angle on the issues addressed by the Model. For those who don’t know Safe & Together, it offers a connection to the themes and ideas behind the work.
These podcasts are a reflection of Ruth & David’s on-going conversations which are both intimate and professional and touch on complex topics like how systems fail victims and children, how victims experience those systems, and how children are impacted by those failures. Their discussions delve into how society views masculinity and violence, and how intersectionalities such as cultural beliefs, religious beliefs and unique vulnerabilities impact how we respond to abuse and violence. These far-ranging discussions offer an insider look into how we navigate the world as professionals, as parents and as partners. During these podcasts, David & Ruth challenge the notions which keep all us from moving forward collectively as systems, as cultures and as families into safety, nurturance and healing.
Note: Some of the topics discussed in the podcast are deeply personal and sensitive, which may be difficult for some people. We also use mature language to describe some feelings. Finally, we use gender pronouns like “he” when discussing perpetrators and “she” for victims for two reasons: 1.) statistically, more men are perpetrators than are women when it comes to domestic violence, abuse and coercive control; and 2. For clarity’s sake, sticking with one pronoun causes less confusion for the listener. We know there are many men who are in abusive relationships and we are not invalidating their situations.
About the podcasters: David and Ruth are committed to creating systems and cultures of nurturance and safety. David Mandel founded the Safe & Together Institute which trains systems in domestic violence aware practices from a child safety lens. Ruth Stearns Mandel is a survivor of complex abuse, child abuse and domestic abuse growing up in a cult. She is a former teacher and trainer using her experience to clarify messages and complexities around abuse and survivors.