Support groups are a part of the services the Domestic Abuse Resource Center (DARC) offers domestic violence survivors. These support groups aren’t your typical ‘sit in a circle and talk about your feelings’ groups. We have offered yoga, art therapy, cooking, fitness, walking, and financial themed groups. We meet survivors’ interests and needs, for example, by facilitating a group focused on Spanish-speaking survivors. One group serves incarcerated women so they are able to not only get support and information but also connect to area resources. As part of our child advocacy program, children exposed to violence can have their own sibling support group. This ten session curriculum invites siblings to form their own club, facilitated by an advocate, to discuss feelings, explore healthy family dynamics, universal safety planning, healthy conflict resolution, and more. These activities are conducted with the aid of puppets, crafts, story-telling, and games and are suited for kids ages 4-17.
Whatever the theme of the group, our goal is to make its members comfortable enough to discuss their thoughts and experiences. So many aspects of a survivor’s life are affected by abuse and for many it is beneficial to hear from others who have been through similar circumstances. This happens when group participant’s share what has helped them cope and allows others to assist them in celebrating their triumphs and success. Domestic abuse often isolates the survivor from friends, family, and resources and sharing with others about how they are affected takes time, trust and patience.
Groups are offered throughout the year in different locations within our seven-county service area. There are some challenges in coordinating groups, such as weather, access to transportation, competing work/family schedules, and child care to name a few. If anyone is interested in attending a group or would like to assist us in co-facilitating a group, feel free to contact the resource center staff at 1-800-383-2988, firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.helpingservices.org/services/domestic-abuse-advocacy.