In this final installment of the minisode series on worker safety and well-being, Ruth and David discuss the importance of best practices around the question of practitioners’ own fears about the safety of the family. Anyone who has worked with domestic violence cases has felt fear and worry for the safety of the adult and child survivors. Sometimes these fears are directly related to the facts of the perpetrator’s pattern. In other instances, they are artifacts of prior cases, overwhelm from crushing workloads, or lack of training in working with perpetrators. In this minisode, Ruth and David explore the factors that can influence professionals’ fears and some support strategies.
These factors include:
Fears that the professionals’ actions might make the situation worse
Being influenced by other cases where the adult or child survivors were seriously abused or murdered
Being overwhelmed with a heavy caseload, making it more difficult to focus on the specifics of a case
Feeling like the survivor is not acting as they “should”
Being hampered by a lack of skill and confidence working with perpetrators
Strategies to help can include:
Assessing perpetrators’ patterns – while it is no guarantee, getting a history of patterns is one of the best ways to predict future behaviors
Partner with the survivor who is the best source of information about the perpetrator’s pattern and gives other information on what on current protection efforts
Get supervision from your supervisor or from peers.
Bring the case to a Safe & Together Intersections Meeting or another collaborative meeting to discuss it
Use the Safe & Together Institute Ally Guide to increase family and friend support for the survivor
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 ongoing 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.