SPAN’s programming is evidence-based and driven by research that shows that there are proven pathways to improved well-being, safety and stability for survivors and their children. Studies show that there are five distinct domains that make up well-being: social connectedness, access to resources, stability, safety and mastery. SPAN staff routinely review our services ensuring they support one or more of these domains.
Research also highlights the importance of long term support for survivors and their children, with the best outcomes acheived after at least two years of support and services.
SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS: Survivors of domestic violence and their children often suffer from the burdens of isolation and shame. One of the most powerful tools for helping people overcome these feelings is a community that cares. SPAN offers a variety of support groups, including groups in Spanish, for older adults and for families.
In 2015 Shelter Program staff added a group just for teen residents. Staff transformed a 2nd story conference room into dedicated teen space. The room is one of the nicest spaces at shelter, with large windows and lots of light. Staff keeps the room stocked with snacks, art supplies, books, writing materials and kids at shelter organize peer support groups. This project is empowering for young people who can feel as if they have lost control of every aspect of their lives. Back to top
ACCESS TO RESOURCES: Maybe the most critical resource for victims of violence and abuse is access to affordable housing. Think about it: if you can’t find an affordable place to live, then you are faced with a host of tough options. Women and children are one of the fastest growing populations of homeless people in the Denver/Boulder area, and domestic violence is the leading cause of their homelessness. In 2015 SPAN’s advocates helped 118 people find affordable housing, an amazing accomplishment in our high-priced, low-inventory rental market. Still, this is a problem with no easy answers. Last year 83% of adults in SPAN’s Shelter Program did not even qualify for housing support programs and of the individuals and families that did successfully apply for these programs, nearly 40% could not find housing before their vouchers expired.
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MASTERY: Mastery is the feeling that we can navigate life situations. An inspiring example of a survivor finding a sense of mastery for themselves is “Ani’s” story. This client, an immigrant from Nepal, had been trapped with her children in an intensely abusive situation, isolated and controlled. She did not speak English and felt as if she literally did not have a voice.
“Ani” entered SPAN’s services, first finding refuge at Shelter with her children, and then engaging in the holistic support services SPAN provides. After a year of hard work, she had divorced her abuser, secured housing at San Juan El Centro, an affordble housing community in Boulder and had become English-proficient.
When her children experienced bullying at San Juan El Centro, she reached out to SPAN’s advocates and asked them to intervene. Instead, SPAN’s advocates supported “Ani” as she discovered just how empowered she had become. The client worked with staff to arrange Family Support Groups in her community, bringing together families from diverse backgrounds for ongoing community conversations and support.Back to top
STABILITY: The obstacles that survivors face as they work to transcend the violence and chaos in their lives cannot be understated. But with support and access to resources, these brave, resilient people accomplish amazing things! 97% of survivors who exited SPAN’s Transitional Services Program in 2015 had found permanent, stable housing by the time they left the program. 83% had gained or maintained stable employment and another 23% completed their GED or enrolled in higher education while in the program.
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SAFETY: Safety involves not just physical, but emotional and economic safety as well. SPAN advocates work diligently to support survivors as they maximize their own and their children’s safety, SPAN’s advocates work diligently and creatively to support clients’ emotional, physical and spiritual health in all of SPAN’s programming. For instance, there is an onsite health clinic at shelter with staff from Clinica Family Health Services visiting to conduct basic health screenings and make referrals.
Long term safety is not a “one size fits all” solution and SPAN staff work with individual survivors to identify what safety looks like for them. Survivors and their children deserve to be free of physical and sexual abuse, but also of threats, intimidation, stalking, economic abuse, coercion, and isolation. Ultimately though, it is up to abusers to stop the violence and mayhem, and it is up to all of us to create a community that holds abusers accountable, not their victims! Back to top