Nonprofits that focus on working with survivors of domestic violence face a specific set of hurdles that they must overcome. Not only are there specific reporting requirements that need to be met in order to receive funding, serving your clients to the best of your ability include holding yourself to a high standard. Knowing and operating with best practices for domestic violence service delivery can provide peace of mind and valuable data to help you deliver more.
Effective service delivery starts with effective intake
Understanding that each client’s situation is different is the first step in service delivery. Effective case management leads to sustainable change for your clients, and collecting and tracking data is what enables you to help make lasting change in their lives. Intake is particularly important to this process. The more information available to your case managers, the better they can serve your clients.
Some information that should be asked upon intake include:
- Abuser: What is the relationship between the client and their abuser? Do they live in the same location as their abuser? Gathering all the information possible about how the abuser is in the client’s life can inform how to proceed. If they are living with their abuser, for example, finding safe shelter is an early priority.
- Children: Are children involved in the abuse being experienced by the client? Will the client be taking children with them to a safe space? This will help frame the type of services needed.
- Safe contact information: What is a safe phone number for you to reach them? Is it safe to leave a message? Being able to keep in contact in a safe manner is critical. Your data should tell you whether you can or cannot leave message, because an abuser’s potential access could risk the client’s safety.
What makes a good intake question in victim’s services? Effective intake accommodates a wide range of situations. Not every domestic violence survivor has had the same experiences. What you need for service delivery is to gather the right information to place clients in the correct programs.
Documentation is Key
Documenting is important, not only for case managers in their day-to-day work, but also for your organization while applying for grants. Having accurate, up-to-date records that are readily accessible gives your case managers all the information they need. Not only do they save time, but allows them to consistently work with the most current information while helping clients. Using case management software makes documenting easy, and it makes information readily accessible.
Always Follow Privacy Laws
When it comes to working with domestic violence survivors, privacy is of the utmost importance. Not only is meeting current privacy requirements set by HUD and VOCA imperative for funding opportunities, case managers can reassure their clients that their information is not being viewed without permission, and only by those who require access. And of course, it is the law!
The Human Element
An important part of working with clients is having compassion. Working with survivors of domestic violence isn’t easy at times, but the ability for case managers to remain professional when dealing with clients is important. Finding that middle ground of staying professional and showing compassion for your clients plays a role in service delivery.
Part of successful work with clients is also accepting the fact that client and case manager pairings sometimes don’t work. Keep an open mind for when that happens, as finding that “right fit” for your client can really make a difference in their life.
Outcomes Drive Service Delivery
Effective case management is outcome-based. Incorporating best practices, including collecting important information for case managers at intake, thorough documentation that ensures up-to-date information while working with clients, and understanding the human element every case manager brings, will lead to positive outcomes. Being able to track data like…
- The number of hours you’ve worked with a single client
- The number of calls your hotline gets each week
- How many hospital-visits one of your case managers made in one month
…all provide useful insight into where you can make the most impact. And those just scratch the surface!
Where does your organization stand with these best practices? If you’re lacking in certain areas, don’t worry! Nonprofits are ever-evolving, and knowing what to improve upon will bring you closer to making more positive outcomes. Choosing the right software option for your organization can also play a role in helping you make a bigger impact.