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  • Building Comprehensive Solutions
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Self-Care and Wellness

stethoscope.jpgMany survivors in shelter are recovering from acute physical, mental, and emotional trauma at the hands of their abusers. Survivors are therefore often in need of wellness and healthcare services, including but not limited to therapy, rehabilitation due to an injury or acquired disability, and general medical examinations. Learn more about the preventive health services offered to women under the ACA on this FVPSA Fact Sheet: The Affordable Care Act and Women’s Health. The NRCDV, working with key partners, has developed a special collection of resources that address the intersection of Domestic Violence and Healthcare.

Support existing health/wellness related awareness programs and medical services for those injured as a direct result of experiencing domestic violence. Futures Without Violence has created an online toolkit of resources and materials for providers, health plan administrators, domestic violence victim advocates, and others seeking to implement effective strategies to identify and support victims of violence. Visit the Health Cares About IPV: Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Counseling Toolkit for more information.

Survivors can also benefit from engaging in activities that are designed to nurture and relax the mind and body, such as experiencing healing touch after they have been exposed repeatedly to damaging touch and physical abuse. Many survivors view self care as a luxury they cannot afford or are not entitled to as many victims of abuse are often forced to put the needs of their abuser before their own.

How can someone skilled in personal care and wellness help?

1. Raise Awareness at the Hair Salon

Many survivors of abuse are not able to maintain a professional hair style or cannot afford salon appointments to help maintain their hair and help with a professional appearance. Some abusers will viscously pull their victims hair, cut out or pull out chunks of hair, beat them about the head, or cause other damage to their scalp and hair. This may impact a survivors ability to appear professional in the workplace or at job interviews, and may impact her overall self-esteem. A hair dresser that actively supports the growth and healing of survivors can promote and create survivors' access to self care activities, in this case, hair care, scalp massage and professional grooming. Hair dressers can lift up spirits and increase self-esteem, while at the same time ensuring that survivors have a professional hair style that can be an important piece in their journey to find employment and start a life free of violence.

CUT IT OUT
There are a number of salon facilities across the country joining in the fight against domestic violence. CUT IT OUT is a program of the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund started in 2002 in Alabama and quickly taken to the national level. The program is “dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to fight the epidemic of domestic abuse in communities across the United States...build[ing] awareness of domestic abuse and train[ing] salon professionals to recognize warning signs and safely refer clients to local resources.”

Individuals employed by salons can call (866) 871-0656 for more information on how to introduce the program into their own facilities. Moreover, individuals can make a donation to the program by sending a check to: Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund, 15825 N. 71st Street, Suite 100, Scottsdale, AZ 85254. Please visit the website listed above for more information.

Hairdressers Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence | HTML HTML
by National Public Radio (December 8, 2008)
This podcast spotlights New York hairdressers who are partnering to fight domestic violence by learning the warning signs and extending help to clients who may be suffering in silence by participating in the Beauty Salon Awareness Project. + View Summary

It Takes Guts To End Abuse Campaign 
In addition to helping raise money for local domestic violence shelters through participation in the “It Takes Guts” campaign by Beauty Brands, salon professionals can become involved on a personal level by donating directly to their local shelter, by providing supplies for shelter clients and by volunteering. The “It Takes Guts” campaign was created not only to raise money for the cause but also to raise awareness of domestic violence and offer solutions for those in need. Useful links and information are provided year-round for those who need help and those who want to help at ittakesguts.org, including local, state and national crisis telephone numbers.

2. Screen for Abuse and Refer

Domestic Violence Screening Tips, Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness
Doctors in private practice can offer free health screenings to survivors, and can also partner with shelters by providing check-ups, gynecological health screenings, and fulfillment of pharmacy needs onsite. Doctors unable to conduct exams at shelters can still collaborate with them by providing transportation to and from shelters, so that survivors can be seen in fully equipped offices. For more information on screening for signs of domestic violence, please visit the above website. A link to a PDF entitled “Domestic Violence Screening Tips” can be found under the heading “Handouts for Health Care Providers.”

Futures Without Violence
Futures Without Violence (FWV) works to prevent and end violence against women and children around the world, and is the recognized national technical assistance provider on health issues affecting survivors of domestic violence. FWV trains professionals, including doctors and nurses, on improving responses to violence and abuse. Please visit the website above to find resources such as an interpersonal violence screening and counseling toolkit and information on the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Take Actionwith five simple steps designed to improve the lives of patients.

3. Donate to Medical Programs Specific to Survivors

FACE TO FACE (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
FACE TO FACE is a program that was started in 1994 by the Educational and Research Foundation for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The FACE TO FACE Program offers facial plastic and reconstructive surgery to domestic violence survivors to repair injuries on the face, head and neck caused by an intimate partner or spouse. The toll-free number for the FACE TO FACE Program is 1-800-842-4546. NCADV works closely in partnership with this program to assist survivors of domestic violence who cannot afford the cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and dentistry needed to repair the injuries they have received from an intimate partner.

Give Back A Smile (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
Give Back A Smile (GBAS) is a program that was started in 1999 by the National Humanitarian Program of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) and the AACD Charitable Foundation. The GBAS Program offers cosmetic dentistry to domestic violence survivors to repair injuries to the front teeth in the "smile zone" caused by an intimate partner or spouse. The toll-free number for the GBAS Program is 1-800-773-GBAS (4227). NCADV works closely in partnership with this program to assist survivors of domestic violence who cannot afford the cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and dentistry needed to repair the injuries they have received from an intimate partner.