Beryl Women Inc. works within the following definition of trauma informed care:
“…Trauma-informed care is a strengths-based Framework that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological and emotional safety for both providers and survivors, and that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment”.
Beryl works to ensure that the following principles underpin its service response:
- Trauma Awareness: the need to incorporate an understanding of trauma into the work of staff, including providing staff training, introducing practices such as trauma screening, assessments of safety and ensuring there is an emphasis on staff self-care.
- Emphasis on safety: practices that work towards building physical and emotional safety for both service users and providers. There is the need to reflect on trauma dynamics, and systems built that ensure clear roles, responsibilities and boundaries. Privacy, confidentiality and mutual respect is paramount, as is the need to respect cultural differences and diversity.
- Opportunities to rebuild control: there is a need to emphasise the importance of choice for clients and create predictable environments where individuals are able to rebuild a sense of control over their lives. This should include involvement of clients in the design and evaluation of services.
- Strengths-based approaches: these approaches work with clients to identify their own strengths and enhance their own coping skills. These service settings focus on the future and utilise skills-building to further develop resilience.
Working within this framework is time consuming and is work that cannot be rushed as we are working at the client’s pace – timeframes do not factor into this. Our focus is on supporting the client through this process, which does not leave much room for other service delivery demands. Staff time is split between doing therapeutic work and non-therapeutic practical work; which often is in contention with each other. Finding a balance is difficult at times. The costs of working within a trauma informed framework does not match with general homelessness funding, as Beryl women Inc. is a specialist domestic and family violence service that provides crisis accommodation. Homelessness cannot be our sole focus when we are dealing with the impacts of violence on women and children, with safety and security, assessing risks, and empowering women to make informed decisions in a complex social and legal environment. Homelessness becomes part of the picture as a direct consequence of domestic and family violence. Beryl is funded under the National Affordable Housing Agreement, a Federal Government initiative with funding matched by the States and Territories. The current formula used to fund the service looks at homelessness only, and does not take into account the complex nature of domestic and family violence.