The STIM Protocol includes “real” intersections like the situation where the domestic violence perpetrator may have a pattern of more severe violence while under the influence of substances.
Adding another layer of complexity, intersections also encompasses the perpetrator’s use of false allegations of substance abuse or mental health issues lodged against the survivor as a form of manipulation or control. It also includes circumstances where the perpetrator causes a survivor’s mental health issues, like anxiety, or sabotages a partner’s substance abuse recovery. Complexity also arises when practitioners seek to treat a perpetrator’s family or cultural trauma history while addressing current abusive behaviors directed at family members.
Because the complexity of the intersection of domestic violence and other issues spans case management, service delivery and safety issues, it is valuable to have a specific meeting protocol that offers a framework for:
- Improving the assessment of how these issues intersect
- Ensuring the role of domestic violence is considered when developing mental health (MH) and/or addiction (AOD) treatment plans
- Developing domestic violence interventions that are domestic violence-informed
- Promoting cross-sector collaboration through the use of a common domestic violence-informed framework (the Safe & Together Model)
- Developing child protection case plans related to MH and AOD
The Safe & Together Intersections Meeting (STIM) Guide seeks to achieve the following key goals:
- Keeping a focus on the children and young people when there are issues of adult domestic violence, mental health issues and/or substance abuse. Work with domestic violence is often siloed as an adult-to-adult issue.
- Using a multiple pathways to harm framework that considers intersections can help in the assessment of how the perpetrator’s behaviors directly, or indirectly, through the impact on the partner’s parenting or the family ecology, have impacted child, partner and family functioning. The meeting protocol considers, but is not limited to, the following areas of potential disruption:
- Safe, stable, nurturing home environment
- The day-to-day functioning of the family
- The other parents’ parenting and their relationship with the child
- Their own relationship with the child
- Their partner and/or child receiving services for their needs
- Their relationship with kin and relative supports
- Connections with cultural heritage and community
- Education and learning
- Housing and economic stability
- Partnering with the adult child survivor by ensuring that adult and child survivors’ mental health and/or substance abuse assessments and treatments are domestic violence-informed.
This meeting protocol can be implemented without Safe & Together Model training. It will be significantly more effective when participants are trained in the Model. The protocol is designed to work best with the Safe & Together Model Mapping Tool but can be completed without it.