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Helping Abused Women in Shelters

Helping Abused Women in Shelters

101 Things to Know, Say and Do

by Alison Cunningham & Linda Baker (2008)
ISBN 978-1-895953-42-8

Helping women in a residential program such as an abused women's shelter, refuge or transition house is a unique opportunity to provide intensive support at a time of crisis and transition. Building on the material in the "Helping Hands" guide called Helping an Abused Woman: 101 Things to Know, Say and Do, this second "Helping Hands" guide is written specifically for those who work in women's shelters, transition houses and refuges, grounded in an understanding of the unique context and the needs expressed by women. You'll find concrete "tool box ideas" for interventions with women, reference to the latest research, ideas for discussion as a staff team, and also worksheets and other handouts to supplement your one-on-one or group work with women.

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Helping Abused Women in Shelters

Table of Contents

  • 10 Assumptions About Women Living in Shelters

  • 10 Assumptions Guiding Work in a Shelter Context

  • 10 Principles in a Staff Code of Conduct

  • 5 Points About Stress Reactions in Anti-Violence Work

  • 10 Issues With Which a Woman Might Want Assistance

  • 10 Potential Barriers Between Your Help and Her Needs

  • 5 Ways to Match Your Support to Her Stage in the Leaving Process

  • 5 Challenges Faced by Women Living in Shelters

  • 5 Types of Coping You Might See in Shelter

  • 10 Strategies to Intervene with Women Living in Shelters

  • 5 Dilemmas Sometimes Facing Shelter Workers

  • 5 Suggestions from Women as they Exit Shelter

  • 10 Celebrations of the Work

  • 1 Final Thought

  • Handouts for Women

    • Ideas About Using the Worksheets/Handouts
    • Have I Left Yet? The Process of Ending a Relationship
    • Barriers to Physical Leaving
    • Thoughts and Feelings Maybe Blocking Emotional Leaving
    • Reasons I Think About Leaving
    • Life in the Balance: The Stay/Leave Decision
    • The Power of NO: 10 Tips for Saying "N" - "O"
    • S.O.S.: Signs of Stress
    • How Full is My Tank?
    • 10 Things I Can Do for ME
    • Red Flags in Relationships
    • My Life in the Balance
    • The Soundtrack of My Life
  • About the first guide in this series: "Helping an Abused Woman"


Integrated throughout the resource you will find references to:

  • suggested further readings
  • concise summaries of the latest research
  • "tool box" ideas and suggestions for practice
  • caution flags for issues of safety
  • ways to discuss controversial issues as a staff team

Took Box Ideas for Practice

Shelters workers will find suggestions and ideas about how to work with women.

  • Helping a Prospective Resident Know What to Expect
  • Leaving as a Process
  • The Power of "No"
  • Collaborating to Create a Full Spectrum of Services
  • Reporting to Child Protective Services
  • Being Conscious About Using "I" Statements
  • The "Fairness Filter" to Aid Decision Making
  • Healer, Heal Thy Self
  • Red Flags for Abuse While Dating
  • The Power and Control Model for Women's Substance Abuse
  • Choosing Words to Speak with a New English Speaker
  • Helping the "Time-out" Woman
  • Helping the Women Who is Leveraging Power
  • Helping the Decision-making Woman
  • Helping Transitioning Women
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Avoid Triangulation of Staff
  • 10 Simple Strategies for Self Care
  • The Soundtrack of my Life
  • Being Ready to Capitalize on "Reachable Moments"
  • The Story of my Life
  • The Miracle Question
  • Coping Among Sheltered Women
  • The Exit Interview

Research Summaries

The latest and highest quality research addressing a relevant topic is briefly summarized in small highlight boxes throughout the text. These topics are addressed.

  • Homicide Rates Among Separated Women
  • Profile of Violence Experienced by Shelter Residents
  • Shelter Admission Patterns and the School Year
  • Returning to Partners After Shelter Stays
  • Balancing Empowerment and Control
  • Thinking About Staff/Resident Roles
  • Don't Generalize Research Results to Individual Women
  • Burnout Among Shelter Workers
  • What Women Want
  • Revictimization by New Partners
  • Health Antecedents of Abuse
  • Mental Health Profile of Sheltered Women
  • How Shelters Respond to Substance Abuse Among Women
  • An Integrated Shelter Model
  • Shelter Worker's Opinions of Women�s Mental Health Needs
  • Life After Shelter
  • Comfort Levels in Disclosing Personal Information
  • Can She Find You?
  • When Leveraging Power Works
  • Historical Abuse Among Women Seeking Counselling
  • Mothering in a Shelter
  • Stalking with Technology
  • Music and Mood
  • 10 Categories of Strengths
  • Assessment for Addictions Among Women Entering Shelter
  • Broader Dilemmas in Feminism
  • Measuring Satisfaction with Shelter Services
  • Keeping Women Safe in their Own Homes

Ordering Information

This resource is designed to be used in conjunction with material in Helping an Abused Woman: 101 Things to Know, Say and Do so they are distributed as a 2-volume set. You can purchse the pair for $45.00 plus the cost of postage. See the Publication Order Form for more information.

Red Flag Checklist for a Potentially Unhealthy Relationship

Are you in a potentially unhealthy relationship? Do you know a woman who might be?

Use this 2-page checklist to understand the early warning signs.

Red Flags in Relationships

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