Community Collaborative Substance Abuse Program 

Coping with emotional and psychological traumas often becomes burdensome for survivors of domestic violence. Substance abuse can be sparked by violence and maltreatment. While substance abuse does not cause domestic violence, there is a relationship between the two.  In The Faces of Fatality, volume III, June 2013, there was known substance use by the domestic violence perpetrator in 59% of incidents, with reviewers identifying substantially more substance use by both perpetrators and victims at the time of incident in 2013 than in 2012.  Additionally, domestic abuse increases the probability that victims will use substances to cope with the violence.

Our collaborative mission with both the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) and David Lawrence Center (DLC) provides a fulltime co-located Substance Abuse Specialist to offer treatment to survivors wanting to address their substance use. The program offers:

  • Confidential onsite substance abuse assessments and individual and group counseling by a DLC Substance Abuse Specialist
  • Cross training for staff at both agencies on the nuances of domestic violence and substance use, abuse and dependence, and correlations with domestic violence survivors
  • A multidisciplinary team to focus on confidentiality, privilege, referrals, procedures and documentation for the initiative
  • Survivor listening groups to further assess need and evaluate provision of services
  • A newly developed substance abuse safety plan and brochure for survivors
  • Weekly supervision with a trauma-informed approach provided by DLC for domestic violence Advocates on their concerns about survivors’ substance abuse issues
  • Creation of internal protocols and policies for DLC that are responsive to employees who may be survivors of abuse