Towards Thriving Cover

April 9, 2020

close up of coronavirus The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to impact the incidence of domestic and sexual violence in much the same way as do disasters. Whether it is a pandemic or a hurricane, people have suddenly lost income and face new stressors, while community resources are simultaneously limited. Calls for help during an immediate crisis vary, but requests for assistance usually surge after people can safely leave their homes.

While it is too early in the COVID-19 pandemic for reliable nationwide data, reports from communities across the U.S. and other countries point to increases in domestic violence. Countries reporting increases in domestic violence include France, China, Australia, Greenland, Monaco, and Cyprus.

Some States and Cities Report Increased Incidences of Domestic Violence Some U.S. states and cities are already reporting increased calls for help or reports of abuse. State domestic violence coalitions have shared data from hotlines they operate and local programs they represent:

  • Violence Free Minnesota reported a 25% increase in calls to the statewide domestic violence hotline in the first weekend after a stay-at-home order was issued. Hotline staff reported survivors saying that their abusers will not allow them to seek medical care or COVID-19 testing. Shelters are open and services remain in high demand despite the virus.
  • The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported a sharp increase in hotline calls and requests for service at the majority of its domestic violence programs starting the week of March 30.
  • DC Safe, the largest crisis intervention agency in Washington, DC, reports that traffic on their hotline has doubled.

Reports of Abuse Will Vary as the Virus Progresses

Increases are not universal and are likely to come in waves as the virus peaks in different parts of the country. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has not yet seen a spike in calls, but they anticipate an increase once individuals are no longer sheltering in place. Their data from previous disasters consistently demonstrates this.

Civil Protection Orders Available Through Guide & E-File


Civil protection order forms can now be filed in any Idaho court online, via the Guide & File tool, which asks a series of questions to gather necessary information to complete and file court forms remotely. Civil protection orders can be used to restrict or prohibit contact between a victim of abuse and the abuser, giving law enforcement the ability to apply criminal penalties for violations.

Those seeking additional details on court protective orders, and who has eligibility to file them, can visit the Idaho Legal Aid Services webpage.

In addition to expanding filing capabilities without visiting the courthouse, Guide & File helps improve the accuracy and efficiency of any filing by selecting the appropriate forms based on interview questions, while minimizing any delays that illegible forms might cause. Many frequently asked questions can also be answered without the need to contact or visit the court. The civil protection order interviews are now available statewide, giving filers the ability to file court forms from anywhere with internet access and any time, including outside of court office hours. As many courts have altered operations with the intent to protect public health and promote public safety during the novel coronavirus outbreak, this is another option to provide court services remotely.

Those seeking access to the online court filing system should visit the Court Assistance Office and SelfHelp Center Website at Links to Guide & File and other resources are also on the Idaho Supreme Court site.

The Importance of Culture in Healing from Domestic Violence in Indigenous Communities

"Matriarchy" by Elsie Cree, Nez Perce Tribe, Lapwai, ID

“Matriarchy” by Elsie Cree, Nez Perce Tribe, Lapwai, ID

This article about our staff member, Tai Simpson, is featured in HHS FVPSA and was published on April 7, 2020.

Indigenous serving domestic violence advocates bring awareness to the importance of an intergenerational family approach to healing. Service providers highlight the importance of building authentic tribal partnerships and using culturally grounded approaches to supporting indigenous children and families’ healing from domestic violence.

Indigenous populations in the U.S. experience violence at alarming rates. Futures Without Violence, part of the FVPSA-funded Domestic Violence Resource Network, recently provided an in-depth look at two programs serving Native and minority populations during a 90-minute webinar, Lessons Learned: Supporting Indigenous Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence, to discuss progress made during the last four years of FVPSA’s Specialized Services to Abused Parents and Their Children (SSAPC) grant program. Two grantees, the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence and the Domestic Violence Action Center visit disclaimer page, joined moderator Jess Fournier for this February 4, 2020, webinar.

Under the SSAPC grant program, FVPSA funds 12 demonstration sites to work toward improving systematic responses to families exposed to domestic violence (DV); develop or enhance residential and nonresidential services for children and youth; and bolster evidence-informed and practice-informed services, strategies, advocacy, and interventions for young DV survivors. The primary objective was to help alleviate trauma experienced by children and youth exposed to family violence and to support the relationships between the abused parents and their children. Futures Without Violence provides intensive training and programmatic and evaluation technical assistance to these grantees through the Promising Futures Capacity Building Center, both individually and collectively as a cohort.

Tai Simpson and Melanie Fillmore of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence kicked off the webinar with a lesson in the confluence of ceremony, healing, and sovereignty in indigenous DV work. Their coalition works with three Indian tribes (Coeur D’Alene, Nez Perce, and Shoshone-Bannock) and the Boise Urban Indian community. The Coalition also supports the LatinX and refugee and resettled communities throughout Idaho. According to Ms. Simpson, “Thriving Families’ work over the last four years has also reflected the change of priorities and culture at the Coalition.” Ms. Fillmore discussed the varied and sacred practices of sweat that allow participants who have experienced DV to be vulnerable in community with others as they heal. They presented the themes that emerged during the listening sessions with indigenous communities:

  • Learn sovereignty. Indigenous communities are sovereign nations that are self-governing and self-determining with distinct land, language, culture, and treaties. Discover how they story the creation of their Tribes.
  • Identify community matriarchs who are often lifelong DV advocates, but more importantly, are the women others turn to for comfort, safety, and education. The matriarchs are accountable to their people.
  • Understand how indigenous people connect with one another (i.e., storying connection) is more relevant than other credentials (e.g., college degrees, certifications). Nonindigenous providers should share their own stories of how they began doing this work and learn the stories of the communities of color or marginalized people they are serving. Always keep in mind that “the stories are the data.”
  • Provide access to ceremony, which can be simple gestures such as offering quiet space for smudging, talking circles, music, food, representative posters, etc.
  • Develop relationships with Elder mentors by asking for their support and knowledge when building tribal DV programs.

Next, Ella Mojica of the Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC) described how the Pulama I Ka ‘Ohana (PIKO), which means cherish the family, program applies Native Hawaiian culture to help DV survivors and their children find safety, peace, and healing. Hawaii is very multicultural. For instance, approximately 30% of DVAC clientele is foreign born. Therefore, DVAC programs have become culturally specific and adaptive by hiring bilingual and bicultural team members to better understand different perspectives on domestic violence and help overcome language and immigration barriers.

Despite being only 10% of the state’s total population, the Native Hawaiian population experiences the highest rates of domestic violence and child abuse compared with any other ethnic group. As a result, DVAC provides support and services to Native Hawaiians more than other ethnic groups. To confront this issue, DVAC looked at cultural issues during the assessment and planning phase of the SSAPC project by conducting a listening tour with Native Hawaiian Elders and conducting community peace polls. HUI, or groups, were formed to discuss how to respond to the high rates of child abuse and domestic violence. The groups included community leaders, cultural navigators, content experts, and DV survivors. This input helped develop their project’s framework and curriculum.

The resulting curriculum helps DV survivors foster healthy relationships with themselves and their children. Many survivors express to DVAC providers that they have lost a sense of who they are at their core as a result of their traumatic experiences. Ms. Mojica explained that the PIKO program uses cultural practices and traditions by emphasizing natural elements to help DV survivors and their children to connect to their ancestors and the land. These traditions include dancing hula, making leis and baskets, chanting, and singing. One participant stated, “The program is different from other programs because of the Hawaiian culture and focuses on healing. I liked the symbolism of releasing old shells in the ocean with my children to let go of past experiences that hurt my family. It felt cleansing to be in the ocean.” For example, mothers and children pound kalo plants to make food. Working with these plants represents sustenance and rebirth. A program participant stated, “Using kalo to learn about where I come from, about life, about me, was my favorite part so far. It opened my eyes to learn to love myself so I can be better for my kids. Before I thought kalo was just food.” DVAC uses the Lokahi Wheel to integrate traditional Hawaiian values into their curriculum and services. In the Native Hawaiian culture, Lokahi means harmony, balance, and unity as it relates to emotions, body, mind, spirt, responsibility, and family.

Ms. Mojica discussed the importance of using a multigenerational approach to services to help survivors and their families recognize and understand how generational patterns of abuse can cause trauma throughout the lifespan. Like the Idaho tribes’ storying connection, talk story is the act of sharing history, ideas, opinions, and daily events with one another. This storytelling creates open dialog among survivors, their children, and their Ohana, which refers to extended family and community. In addition, DVAC coordinates culturally and linguistically based support to help build community.

Tai Simpson Staff Photo Tai Simpson

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OVW Rural Grant Update

Break the cycle image

Idaho Rural Collaborative for Underserved Youth Victims of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking (OVW Rural grant) is a statewide initiative in partnership with ten community based domestic and sexual violence programs to provide services to youth victims ages 13 to 10 from communities impacted by marginalization, including but not limited to youth from Black, Indigenous, Latinx and communities of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ communities, and people who are gender oppressed. Youth from communities impacted by marginalization experience dating violence and sexual assault at disproportionate rates.

Jennifer Martinez, who provided support to programs on the previous OVW Rural grant has transitioned from the Idaho Coalition to a political consulting firm. We are excited that Dalton Tiegs will now be coordinating with all partners on this initiative which include Safe Passages, ROSE Advocates, Advocates Against Family Violence, The Advocates, Boundary County Youth Crisis & DV Hotline, Shoshone County Women’s Resource Center, Priest River Ministries, Oneida Crisis Center, Family Safety Network, and Voices Against Violence.

Dalton is a first-generation immigrant and from Vallivue High School, and Boise State University. He moved here in 2008 to the Nampa/Caldwell area with my family. His dad came from a long line of farmers who moved to the Treasure Valley during the mid 19th century growing potatoes, onions, and sugar beets until developers came and bought out the land late 1990s. His mother has since moved back to the Philippines, but after 10+ years living here, Dalton is finally calling Idaho’s mountains, rivers, valleys, and people home.

Training & Events

“Moving at the Speed of Trust” Disability Justice and Transformative Justice
A conversation with Elliott Fukui & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Friday, April 10th | 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM MT | 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM PT

In response to heightened levels of abuse and violence experienced by people with disabilities, disability justice organizers have developed tremendous knowledge and creative approaches to care, safety, and preventing and stopping violence without relying on the state. How do disability justice strategies and knowledge inform transformative justice practices? How are disability justice and transformative justice interconnected? Register for the BCRW conversation online at

RSP will host a conversation to debrief and discuss on Monday, April 13 at 4:00 pm Eastern, 3:00 pm Central, 2:00 pm Mountain, 1:00 pm Pacific, and the following day at 6:00 am Guam & CNMI. Please come ready to discuss your insights and reflections from the BCRW webinar with peers! Register for this RSP follow-up conversation at

Teen Dating Violence Webinar
Monday, April 13th | 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM MST

As part of our efforts to support and convene peer to peer learning opportunities and to build the capacity of community and tribal programs to provide services to adolescents impacted by dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, we are hosting a webinar with Jasmine Uribe, Chief Program Officer from Break the Cycle on the prevention and response to dating violence on April 13th, 11:30 AM to 1:00PM MST. We encourage an advocate to join the webinar if interested.

Please register here for the webinar! We will send the Zoom link out prior to the webinar to everyone who is registered. If you have any questions regarding the OVW Rural Grant, or need support with youth organizing, please contact Dalton at or call 208-570-4392.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-WR-AX-0008 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice.

Webinar: Preventing violence in our homes: Meeting this moment with connection, care, and justice
Tuesday, April 14th | 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Pacific | 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern

In this web conference, speakers will talk about their communities’ experiences with COVID-19 and emerging strategies to understand community needs in this moment and respond to them. We will also offer ample time for participants to share what they’re learning and what actions they’re taking. Whether you are a public health practitioner, community health worker, educator, or advocate, we can meet this moment of major individual and collective upheaval with connection, care, and an unwavering commitment to justice. Together, we can support and advocate for children, youth, and families, and prevent violence in our homes.

Register here!

Webinar: Keeping the Doors Open: How to Talk to Staff, Board Members, and Survivors about Maintaining Services During COVID-19
Wednesday, April 15th | 12:00 PST | 1:00 MST | 3:00 pm EST

Hosted by: The NNEDV Transitional Housing Team
Presenter: Teresa Mills, Peace at Home Family Shelter
This webinar will provide information and resources for: (i) thinking through service provision during COVID-19; (ii) how to discuss service changes with advocates, survivors, and board members; and (iii) how to support staff and survivors during COVID-19. **This webinar is pending OVW approval**

Click this Link to register.

April 19-25, 2020 – International Anti-Street Harassment Week
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of International Anti-Street Harassment Week, and it will be the last. Don’t miss your chance to raise awareness and speak out against street harassment. Use #StopStreetHarassment and visit for more details.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – Denim Day
Wear jeans with a purpose, support survivors, and educate yourself and others about all forms of sexual violence. Register now at to participate in Denim Day.

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Engaging Voices Website Store *** ALL material orders are currently on hold, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. ***

Reminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.

Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn.

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