Substance Abuse and Violence Services Working Together
Tuesday, March 27, 2007 1:02 PM

Shelters providing services for women who are survivors of domestic violence have traditionally screened women with problems of substance abuse.  Treatment for substance abuse often focuses on personal responsibility, while service providers see this model as victim blaming when applied to domestic violence.  Still, links between the two are undeniable and agencies across the United States are beginning to work together to assist women with dual recovery.

St. Petersburg, FL agencies CASA and Operation PAR Inc. have formed a partnership in services that is working as a national model for how these two areas can come together for women.  Staff collaborate to create services that serve women who are trying to escape domestic violence and also receive treatment for their addiction.

Despite statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse showing ninety percent of women in chemical dependency treatment have experienced severe intimate partner violence, integrated services are not the norm.  Patricia Bland of the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in Juneau is currently travelling the country on a grant from the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women.  She co-authored "Getting Safe and Sober: Real Tools You Can Use: An Advocacy Teaching Kit for Working with Women Coping with Substance Abuse and Interpersonal Violence," to help improve collaborative services for women with domestic violence and chemical dependency issues.

Compiled from: "Services Converge for Battered, Addicted Women," by Marie Tressier, WomensEnews, 25 March 2007.