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Added Monday, July 01, 2019 by Action Alliance

Domestic Violence Homicide Response Plan: A Toolkit for Domestic Violence Programs

Every survivor that domestic violence programs work with is a potential homicide victim. Advocates know this as they work with survivors, advocating on their behalf and building relationships with them and often their families. Domestic violence programs deal with the reality of knowing that a homicide could happen at any time, yet not allowing this knowledge to overpower their work with victims. When this most tragic violation occurs the traumatic impact is profound. This is felt by everyone - no matter the nature of their relationship with the victim. The needs of those closest to the victim, including their children, family and friends are of utmost importance. In addition, domestic violence programs, their clients and staff, and the communities they work within are deeply impacted. A homicide can change organizations and communities forever.

During this time, programs are asked to fulfill a variety of roles and often at the same time are dealing with their own sense of loss. An important part of responding and coping with these events is to realize there is no single “right” answer. Each of these tragedies is as unique as the human being whose life was taken, and all aspects of this person’s life and death need to be acknowledged, respected, and addressed as your program and community decide how to respond. It is also critical for the domestic violence program to utilize the tools and skills of trauma-informed care in their interactions with colleagues and others impacted by the death.

Produced by End Domestic Violence Wisconsin, the objective of this document is to provide a framework for domestic violence programs to develop a plan for how they will respond to a homicide in their community, whether the victim had been a client or not. Additionally, many of the elements of this plan can be adapted for use when programs experience a death of a client in shelter, as often the effects felt are similar.


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