Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 155-171

First online:

Sanctuary in a Domestic Violence Shelter: A Team Approach to Healing

  • Libbe H. MadsenAffiliated withCenter for Trauma Program Innovation, Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (JBFCS). Consultant to the JBFCS domestic violence shelters
  • , Lisa V. Blitz
  • , David McCorkle
  • , Paula G. Panzer

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For survivors of domestic violence, the ongoing effects of trauma are compounded by the context of their abusive experience. Injury caused by a person one has loved and trusted damages beliefs about oneself, other people, and the world. Staff members of various disciplines and educational backgrounds who work in domestic violence shelters are dealing with this damage as well as the impact of trauma on shelter residents. They face the challenge of observing and responding to the effects of recent and past abuse, to traumatic reenactments within the setting, and to their own secondary trauma reactions. This paper explores the process of implementing the Sanctuary® model in a domestic violence shelter as a way to address trauma and its impact on clients and staff. The Sanctuary model was chosen because of its focus on teamwork, and the guidelines for treatment it provides that are accessible to all members of the treatment community.

sanctuary secondary trauma domestic violence shelter