Last week, we talked about the dual-focused violence response teams. Specifically, I addressed some of the very big challenges faced by dual teams. This post will look at some of the benefits of choosing the dual focus teams—this is written in the spirit that the team is able to address all of the challenges listed in the previous post and has committed to ensuring an equitable response. Let’s look at the benefits of a successful dual-focused team.
- Maximizing limited resources. Many communities find that the same providers will attend both meetings and that the same representatives would be attending both meetings. In order to make the most of the staff time, travel costs, etc. the team becomes dual focused. This minimizes strain and maximizes available resources.
- Understanding connections between the two crimes. When working on a dual team, service providers have the opportunity to uncover the connections between these crimes. Domestic violence typically includes acts of sexual violence. Using the dual focus, this becomes much clearer to team members and agencies. Sexual violence in domestic violence often becomes a hidden crime and providers do not know how to respond. The successful dual-focused team sets providers up to know how to give appropriate support services to sexual violence survivors, which means they are capable of providing sexual violence related support to domestic violence victims/survivors. The dual team better prepares them to screen for and respond to sexual violence in domestic violence cases.
- Understanding the differences between the two crimes. Sexual and domestic violence often get lumped together under the “crimes against women” category. This results in many people assuming they are basically the same crimes committed by similar people in similar situations. The dual focus also allows services providers to see the very stark differences between the two types of crimes. For example, sexual violence has a small proportion of cases that occur between intimate partners. The vast majority of sexual violence cases occur with different contexts of violence (see previous post about complexity of perpetration type). These understandings can help providers educate their peers, victims/survivors, and the community to increase better outcomes for both types of victims/survivors.
There are other benefits for the dual focus team. This brief list provides some of the biggest perks to choosing a dual team. While dual teams can seem like an easy solution, they are incredibly hard to do in a way that equally supports work on both types of crimes. However, with the right information, people, and boundary setting, it can be done.