What Happens at a RAFT Advocate Workshop?
RAFT Team, July 13, 2020
Advocates who work with domestic and sexual violence survivors face many challenges. Supporting survivors requires focus, compassion, patience, and emotional output. All this takes energy — often more than they feel they have. That's why we host advocate workshops. Consider these sobering statistics:
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking
- One in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 59 men in the United States is raped during his/her lifetime.
- On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
When the individuals in these statistics are your daily caseload, the days can feel long and extremely heavy. It’s difficult to transition from work to home life. Advocates do it every single day, but not without consequences. They’re overwhelmed, exhausted and battling compassion fatigue.
Advocates Need More Support
Our research on Advocates has found that the better we are at taking care of ourselves, the better we are at taking care of others. We focus our RAFT Advocate Workshops on coping strategies and self-care. Research shows that increasing these skills can exponentially reduce stress and lead to greater resiliency. With top-down leadership that is transparent and supportive and grassroots level self-care, advocates can experience more job satisfaction, more enjoyment in their personal lives, and a better overall quality of life, all while working at a job they love. This leads to a better overall climate in organizations, which means more effective care for survivors.
The RAFT curriculum provides tools that teach Advocates to:
- Deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed and the exhaustion that leads to burnout
- Build resilience to compassion fatigue so you can remain empathetic
- Take care of yourself and your loved ones when you leave work
- Continue to show up and support your survivors
- Set boundaries for yourself and others so you don’t feel depleted
- Decrease physical, emotional, and mental stress with tangible relief techniques
What happens at a RAFT Advocate Workshop?
Shelters provide basic needs and often provide some physical safety. But what if a shelter could go beyond the basic provisions and provide tools that could help sustain people for the rest of their lives? What if we could do this without overtaxing the already exhausted shelter workers? What if there were a workshop that actually helps these workers avoid compassion fatigue and instead helps them build resilience?
This is how RAFT supports our Advocates — through workshops, but also through free, downloadable resources on all the things that help them avoid compassion fatigue and build resilience.
Consider this story (we’ve replaced the name and location to protect privacy):
Rachel* came to our RAFT Advocate Workshop when our team was in Tennessee*. She learned how to honor herself, protect her boundaries, and develop a consistent self-care habit. And you know what? She’s thriving now. Her work is more impactful, her personal life has a bit more sparkle, and her health is improving because she’s making rest a priority.
Join Us in the Work
If you’re an Advocate, get access to our free resources and learn the skills and knowledge that you need to promote personal and professional fulfillment. You’ll find:
- Downloadable resources
- Support calls
If you know an Advocate or someone who has experienced domestic or sexual violence, consider partnering with us as we pursue this work. You can accomplish this in a variety of ways:
- Helping us on the ground level with your time and energy
- Supporting us with your finances
- Sharing our work with your friends and family
- Introducing us to your local DV / SV shelter so we can host a free advocate workshop
Contact us as firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in hosting a free in-person or virtual advocate workshop.