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Past Activity Spotlight - January–March 2021

Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence With Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders

Requester/Organization Supported: Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance

Type & Dates: Four webinars, November 3, 5, 10, 12, 2020

Description: The Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance requested a customized training on supporting victims of domestic violence with co-occurring substance use disorders. The training request focused on the common challenges associated with victims experiencing domestic violence and substance use. This included a discussion of the ways in which domestic violence agencies can collaborate with substance abuse programs and detox centers to provide wraparound services for victims in crisis.

Implementation: In the wake of pandemic-related travel restrictions, the training transitioned from a 1-day, in-person session to a series of four 2-hour webinars. The webinars explained the connection between the co-occurrence of substance use in victims of domestic violence, described different types of substances, and discussed how they may affect a domestic violence victim's physical and cognitive functioning. The consultant taught participants to recognize best practices for serving domestic violence victims who have a co-occurring substance use disorder and to identify ways to leverage agency collaboration with substance abuse treatment services.

Results: Following the training, participants demonstrated a greater understanding of substance abuse resources in their communities, how to access them, strategies for collaboration, and the importance of building trustworthy relationships with victims in order to have open discussions about substance use. Participants expressed appreciation that the strategies and resources discussed in the training were applicable to providers serving all types of communities, including those in rural areas. The requesting agency also reported that multiple agencies have since expressed gratitude for the opportunity to increase their understanding of the multi-directional relationship between substance use and domestic violence.