AWARE: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION
The mission of the AWARE program is to make the health care system and the community at large a healthier place for those affected by intimate partner abuse by helping reduce or remedy the effects of intimate partner violence on their lives.
HISTORY OF AWARE
In 1994, Barnes-Jewish Hospital began the AWARE program to provide support and advocacy to women patients and employees of the hospital. Initially the program was established to provide a link between patients who were victims of domestic violence and the community resources available. Early on, it became clear that victims identified from within the health care system had different needs. Those needs were not being met by community services available, which are designed to best meet the needs of women who are specifically looking to leave their partners. Women referred to AWARE were also likely to be looking for resources and support to assist them while they were in the relationship and were trying to sort out their best options. Beginning in January 2008, AWARE services became available to men experiencing abuse by a partner as well as women.
AWARE ADVOCACY SERVICES
Once a patient or employee discloses they are experiencing problems from an abusive partner, AWARE services are offered and the patient or employee may choose to become a client of AWARE and work one on one with an advocate.
AWARE provides advocacy and support rooted in respect, self-determination and non-controlling beliefs that respond to the unique perspectives and resources of each client. AWARE advocacy builds a partnership between the advocate and the client to meaningfully address violence in the client’s intimate relationship. The client's and the advocate’s perspectives, information and knowledge are incorporated into a plan that responds to the particular risks each client faces.
This model of advocacy was developed by Jill Davies, Eleanor Lyon and Diane Monti-Catania as a part of the Model Court Response project supported by Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It was adopted and refined over five years through an on-going evaluation and analysis of the training and use of the model. The model is presented in the book “Safety Planning with Battered Women: Complex Lives/Difficult Choices” published 1998 by SAGE Publications.
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER EDUCATION
Barnes-Jewish Hospital nurses, social workers and physicians are the primary referral source for patients to AWARE services. To prepare patient care staff to serve as a referral source, AWARE provides training tailored to increase the practitioners’ skills in screening for and responding to domestic violence in a variety of clinical settings.
For more information or assistance, call 314-362-9273.