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#1 Build Partnerships-for Health Providers

Include DV/SA advocates as part of your multidisciplinary care team. Health centers find that establishing formal partnerships with community based DV/SA programs is crucial to providing trauma-informed care for survivors. Learn more about how DV/SA programs can also work to include health centers as part of their care team. 

Partnership Building Resources


One of our most important accomplishments was having our [domestic violence] advocate on site and available for a warm hand-off and regular communication from the advocate for updates and education.

— Keri Scott, Former Director of Quality, The Rinehart Clinic (Wheeler, OR)


Domestic violence and sexual assault (DV/SA) advocates offer support, safety planning, and coaching to address other social determinants of health.

Local and state DV/SA programs are integral partners to a successful team-based response to DV/SA and HT. Many DV/SA partners are equipped to provide supportive services such as translation, transportation, and legal support, which mirror the enabling services offered by health centers. DV/SA programs exist in many communities in which health centers are located and can offer a range of support to survivors identified in health centers. Such confidential patient support may include information on healthy and unhealthy relationships; emotional support; emergency and long-term safety planning; and supports related to other social determinants of health including housing, food insecurity and employment, as well as court and legal advocacy. DV/SA programs can provide similar services to HT survivors as well. Domestic and sexual violence coalitions, local DV/SA programs, tribal DV/SA programs, and culturally specific community based organizations are an integral part of any coordinated healthcare and social service response to DV/SA and HT.
Reach out to your local DV/SA program! Find a domestic violence program near you, or contact your state/territory DV coalition or tribal DV coalition.


DV/SA advocates can connect their clients to primary health care.

Partnerships promote access to health care for  survivors of violence because they may have been prevented from seeking care by their abusive partners or traffickers. In one study 17% of abused women reported that a partner prevented them from accessing health care compared to 2% of non-abused women.1   

DV/SA programs are in a unique position to reach clients as they come in for relationship and safety support. They can:

  • inquire about clients’ health and help-seeking on intake forms;
  • identify whether the client has a primary health care provider and offer referrals to partnering health centers, informing clients about health center services and sliding scale fees;
  • offer onsite basic support such as contraception, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing; and
  • some DV/SA programs have partnered with community health centers to offer more robust health services onsite at DV/SA programs.


  1. McCloskey LA, Williams CM, Lichter E, Gerber M, Ganz ML, Sege R. (2007). Abused women disclose partner interference with health care: an unrecognized form of battering. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(8):1067-1072.

Tools to Promote Universal Education

Safety Cards

Multi-lingual and population-specific safety cards. The resources panel may be localized by adding in a local DV/SA hotline number, health center logo, or other local resources for support. To learn more contact the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence.


Health Care Guide for Survivors of DV/SA

Trauma-informed health care tips for those who have survived childhood or adult violence or abuse and have difficulty going to their nurse, doctor, or dentist for care.

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