Building Strong Brains: Tennessee's ACEs Initiative
WRAP is a proud partner of Building Strong Brains: Tennessee's ACE's Initiative. This initiative aims to equip every single Tennessean with knowledge of the impact that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have on us as individuals and as a community throughout our lifespan and across generations. WRAP advocates infuse an understanding of the neuroscience of trauma into their work with survivors and their children, providing survivors with information, tools, and resources that build the resilience needed to mitigate the impact of ACEs. WRAP also provides training on the Building Strong Brains Initiative, ACEs, and protective factors to interested student, professional, and community groups.
Bystander Intervention Program
Focusing on the three D's of Bystander Intervention (Direct, Delegate, and Distract), WRAP works with colleges and universities in the West Tennessee area to provide information and training to students on safe strategies for intervening to prevent sexual violence.
Campus Support Program
Because research has shown that those at highest risk for sexual assault are college students during their first fifteen weeks on campus, colleges and universities throughout West Tennessee have been proactive in their response to campus sexual assault. Recent legislation has also encouraged tertiary institutions to strengthen policies and practices around dating violence and stalking to lower the incidence of these crimes on campus, hold offenders accountable, and provide victims with needed services. Community-based advocacy agencies, such as WRAP, have been encouraged to reach out to colleges and universities in their areas to provide additional support. WRAP has reached out to all colleges and universities in our service area and, with the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, has held two well-attended Campus Roundtables for West Tennessee. As a result of those efforts, WRAP has provided support to several local campuses, and WRAP
Community-Based Advocacy Project (JARS)
WRAP was one of the first community-based non-profit agencies to implement the Community-Based Advocacy Project, an evidence based, survivor-centered approach to working with survivors of domestic and sexual violence that focuses on four main outcome areas:
Community Education and Awareness Program
WRAP provides education and training to allied professionals, faculty, students, and interested business or community groups on a wide array of topics. Some of the most common are below:
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Building Healthy Relationships
Faith and Domestic Violence
Parenting/Supporting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
Providing Trauma-Informed Services
Men and Sexual Assault
The Socio-Cultural Underpinnings of Violence against Women and Girls
Understanding and Preventing Domestic/Dating Violence
Understanding and Preventing Sexual Assault
At least once a year, WRAP also organizes a conference with other community partners on topics of current importance and/or interest. Past conferences have included:
2013: Conference on the Faces of Domestic Violence in West Tennessee
2014: Conference on Safe and Healthy Families—Ending Domestic and Sexual Violence in Our Community
2015: The 411 on Sexual Assault for Parents and Students
2015: Workshop on Coaching Boys into Men
2016: Conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences and Domestic Violence
2016: Advanced Issues in Intimate Partner Abuse and Sexual Violence
2016: Law Enforcement and Community Response to Interpersonal Violence with a Focus on Sexual Assault
2017: Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership for Domestic Violence Workshop for Faith Leaders on Partnering to Address Domestic Violence
2017: Praxis International/WRAP training in five counties on Building a Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence
Coordinated Community Response to Domestic and Sexual Violence Initiatives
Isolation is a salient characteristic of domestic violence: It occurs in isolation and it isolates its victims from community life. Countering this pervasive isolation with a coordinated community response is perhaps the strongest way to eliminate domestic violence from our society (Clark et al., 1996). "If we are ever to eradicate domestic violence, then the whole community must become alerted to the problem and how best to support the victims and convey to the abusers that abuse is a crime that is never justified" (Zorza, 1995a, p. 54).
WRAP is committed to partnering with our communities so as to maximize local resources, increase victim access to those resources, enhance a victim’s safety and experience with the civil/criminal justice system, increase offender accountability, and strengthen community support. Coordination also helps to eliminate costly service duplication and fill needed service gaps. Below are ways in which WRAP is coordinating our response with the communities we serve:
Counseling and Therapy Program
WRAP’s skilled advocates offer psycho-educational counseling to individuals and families affected by domestic violence. For adult counseling services, WRAP offers individual and group interventions that include education about intimate partner violence and its impact on survivors, raising self-esteem and mood, problem-solving skills for independent living, and mind-body activities to reduce hyper-alertness. WRAP also has licensed clinicians who may be consulted if an individual feels therapy would be helpful. These clinicians are skilled in working with victims of trauma and utilize such therapeutic approaches to working with victims of trauma as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR),
For children, interventions include groups, individual counseling or therapy, and dyadic counseling/therapy with their nonoffending parent. WRAP believes that an essential component of intervention with all children is the priority of supporting and strengthening the relationship between the nonoffending parent and the child. For most children, a strong relationship with a parent is the key factor in helping the child heal from the effects of domestic violence. The choice of intervention depends on the child's age, the nature and severity of the traumatic reaction, the circumstances of the family, and the availability of other supports.In either a group or an individual format, counseling can provide children and their caregivers with important information about domestic violence and common childhood reactions, which can help normalize their experience and decrease their sense of isolation.
Crisis Response Program
WRAP maintains a 24/7 crisis response system managed by skilled advocates who provide information and referral, crisis counseling, safe home assessments, and hospital accompaniment. WRAP also partners with local law enforcement to ensure immediate advocacy response to high danger situations.
The immediate need of a survivor fleeing domestic violence is safety. Some survivors may be able to safely stay in their own home with some additional financial support through rental assistance while others may require a stay in a WRAP Safe Home before re-entering their own independent housing. WRAP uses short- and long-term rental assistance to help survivors regain permanent housing. Having an affordable place to call home is crucial for survivors of domestic violence to both reduce their risk of homelessness as well as the possibility of future violence. Research indicates that families that receive housing assistance are far less likely to experience interpersonal violence than those that do not. Beyond addressing their immediate safety and housing needs, survivors of domestic violence require supportive services that can help them heal from the trauma of abuse and improve their economic security and well-being. Participation in WRAP's Housing Program ensures that survivors receive the supportive services they need.
Nurturing Parenting Program
The Nurturing Parent Program is an evidence-based, trauma-informed program that is a family-centered initiative designed to build nurturing parenting skills as an alternative to abusive and neglecting parenting and child-rearing practices. In integrating the Nurturing Parenting Program into advocates’ work with survivors with children, WRAP aims to mitigate the effects of emotional and psychological trauma on children who have witnessed violence against their caregiver by coaching and mentoring their caregiver. The primary goal of this work is to strengthen the positive bond between caretaker and child by equipping caregivers with nurturing parenting strategies.
Victims of sexual abuse in confinement deserve advocacy and treatment services comparable to those available to victims outside of confinement. Several Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards set requirements for the level of victim services that correctional agencies are responsible for providing or coordinating, including:
Establishing partnerships with community-based service providers is the optimal way to meet these requirements and ensure that victims’ needs are met. To this end, WRAP has established Memoranda of Understanding with five facilities: Whiteville Correctional Facility; Henderson County Jail; Northwest Corrections Complex; Madison County Juvenile Detention Center; and West Tennessee Detention Facility.
Resource Linkage Program
Linking and integrating community resources is essential -- not only to ensure that the needs of individual survivors (and batterers) are met but also to raise public awareness and to begin to create the coordinated community response that is necessary for change. These efforts must address needs for housing, child care, emotional and physical safety, health and mental health care, economic stability, legal protection, vocational and educational services, parenting training, and support and peer counseling, among others.Linkages help each participating agency fulfill its own mission. Few programs have the resources available to address the sometimes overwhelming number of problems faced by those who are affected by domestic violence. Increasingly, programs are looking to strong collaboration and linkages with other service agencies to meet their clients' needs. Such collaboration is particularly important in isolated rural communities in West Tennessee where lack of resources and distance from services are significant problems. WRAP works hard to identify resources in each community we serve and to collaborate with those resources to ensure effective and efficient service provision to and improved outcomes for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Some of these local linkages include Jackson Center for Independent Living, JACOA, ASPELL, Quinco, Carey Counseling, Pathways, the Dream Center, the Care Center, Hope House, Free Will Shelter, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, Southwest Development District, Jesus Cares, RIFA, Area Relief Ministries, Heathy Start and Healthier Beginnings, Head Start, Tennessee Career Counseling, Goodwill Solutions, Ray of Hope, and local churches and businesses.
Safe House Program
WRAP has three safe homes: WRAP House Jackson, WRAP House Trenton, and WRAP House Union City. WRAP Houses are temporary but warm and welcoming safe havens for those victims whose physical safety is at immediate risk. Because many victims of abuse arrive with only the clothes on their backs, WRAP Houses provide clothing, personal items, food,, and supportive services that may be needed by those who come. WRAP House locations are confidential and well-monitored to provide residents with an enhanced sense of safety and security.
WRAP is proud to have team members certified to use SOAR to assist survivors. SOAR is a national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. SOAR seeks to end homelessness through increased access to SSI/SSDI income supports, directly addressing WRAP’s belief that, to be truly safe from abuse, survivors need a safe stable place to live. This is particularly true for survivors who are suffering from disabilities or who have mental health disorders, often directly the result of the abuse they have experienced. And for many survivors who are healing, accessing benefits is a first step. But SOAR extends beyond and also encourages employment as a means to increase individual income and promote healing, which is also consistent with WRAP’s outcomes of autonomy and restoration. At WRAP, we believe that meaningful work and the ability to enhance skills through education not only fosters independence but also restores self-confidence and self-esteem.
The WRAP Team is committed to a survivor-centered, empowerment-focused practice model that embraces a more holistic approach to the provision of services. To meet the specific needs of survivors of domestic and sexual violence, WRAP programs and services are rooted in an understanding of the effects of trauma on the lives of survivors, support survivor growth and autonomy through collaboration and survivor-led decision-making, and actively work to build resilience and prevent and lessen trauma.
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