Alliance to End Sexual Violence in Long-Term Care

People who experience sexual violence in long-term care need advocacy and support. However, studies show long-term care residents who experience sexual violence have little or no access to advocacy. Sometimes a report is made to law enforcement, or there is state abuse response, or a facility takes action; but the person who experienced the violence rarely gets individual support or service.   

The Alliance to End Sexual Violence in Long-Term Care set out to change this. DRW partnered with the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP) and the Washington State Long Term Care Ombuds (LTCOP) to build and bolster the advocacy response for long-term care residents who experience sexual violence. The Alliance developed tools and supports for disability, sexual assault program, and long-term care advocates to better respond to sexual violence in long-term care. Through a three-year project funded by the Office of Violence Against Women, the Alliance worked with residents of long-term care, and presented at statewide conferences, and created online resources and instructional materials, to bolster advocacy for survivors of sexual violence who have disabilities and live in facilities. In this video, long-term care residents discuss the importance of having an advocate.

Video

The collaboration:

  • Supports survivors to find their own voice, make their own choices and take action by providing advocacy training, skills and system knowledge;
  • Connects residents to advocates who are trained in the needs and circumstances of survivors in long-term care settings;
  • Creates platforms to expose the truth about sexual violence in long-term care settings and highlight how the current system promotes vulnerability;
  • Uses our influence and expertise to provide tools for change;
  • Creates models and benchmarks for achieving a violence and retaliation-free environment in long-term care settings; and
  • Cultivates trauma-informed practices at our agencies and assure our statewide constituents know how to prevent violence and respond to survivors.

Vision

The vision of the Washington state collaboration (DRW, WCSAP and LTCOP) is:

People living in long-term care settings experience safe, respectful and dignified environments over which they exert control, self-determination and independence. Long-term care environments communicate that residents are entitled to live free from violence, abuse and neglect with support to make choices about their sexuality, healing and justice pursuits. A strong system of advocacy responds to sexual violence in a trauma-informed, survivor-centered manner at every level. Care providers, organizations and public entities are self-aware of the risks of violence in long-term care settings. All are accountable to the people they serve and promote a model of non-tolerance of sexual violence.

Mission

The mission of the Washington State collaboration (DRW, WCSAP and LTCOP) is to:

  • Create networks of providers, long-term care residents, individuals with disabilities, and anti-sexual assault, long-term care and disability advocates who have the ability to create long-term care environments which are respectful and safe, and
  • Restore trust in the system through authentic long-term care system reform and transformation infused with cultural and disability humility, empowered residents and champions at every level who act against sexual violence.