Documenting the Success of Trauma-Informed Advocacy: Ohio’s Manual of Trauma-Informed Care Protocols and Best Practices

Photograph of a health care worker comforting a woman.Is there a difference between asking a survivor of domestic violence, “What’s wrong?” and simply inquiring, “What happened?” A trauma-informed approach will not only recognize there is a difference in meaning between these two seemingly equivalent questions, but also emphasize the impact on a survivor in shifting from victim-blaming language to forms of communication that acknowledge compassion for the trauma she or he has experienced. 

Trauma-Informed Care Protocols and Best Practices, a toolkit and manual developed by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network, breaks down the concepts behind trauma-informed approaches to serving victims and survivors of domestic violence. As the manual states:

Trauma-informed care views service provision through a lens of trauma. It involves having a basic understanding of trauma and how trauma impacts survivors, understanding trauma triggers and unique vulnerabilities of trauma survivors, and designing services to acknowledge the impact of violence and trauma on people's lives…a trauma-informed approach is sensitive and respectful: advocates seek to respond to traumatized individuals with supportive intent and consciously avoid re-traumatization.”

Produced in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Mental Health, the manual aims to build the capacity of state domestic violence programs to improve their responses to survivors who have experienced trauma. Comprehensive, accessible, and thoughtfully compiled, the manual defines trauma, highlights characteristics of trauma-informed services, and explains how trauma impacts the beliefs, emotions, feelings and behaviors of survivors and advocates alike. Advocates will come away from reading the manual feeling more effective and responsive to the needs of survivors, having developed an understanding of domestic violence in the context of trauma.

The Family Violence Prevention and Services Program is pleased to recognize the efforts of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network in producing Trauma-Informed Care Protocols and Best Practices, because it captures our commitment to bettering evidence-based, trauma-informed work. The manual not only improves the capacity of Ohio’s service providers and advocates to offer technical assistance, but also serves as a model for programs across the nation to better serve survivors.

For an electronic version of Trauma-Informed Care Protocols and Best Practices, visit the Ohio Domestic Violence Network’s website.

For more information about the work of state domestic violence coalitions, visit the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program’s State Domestic Violence Coalitions Fact Sheet.