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Supporting Families Who Have Experienced Trauma Training
On August 15 and 16, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin's Training Center was filled with victim advocates from across the state. The two-day training, Supporting Families Who Have Experienced Trauma, was designed and led by Tracy Plamann, the Community Education Coordinator at Harbor House in Appleton. Harbor House is one of End Abuse's member programs. Tracy was assisted by Cody Warner, Children and Youth Prevention and Outreach Coordinator at End Abuse.

The training provided a framework for understanding the ways in which many families who seek advocates' help have lived through multiple traumatic experiences. The wounds of childhood trauma often continue to drive behavior, feelings and attitudes into adulthood, and play a powerful role in parenting. The training helped advocates better understand how trauma affects children and parents, giving advocates a way to make sense of sometimes baffling and challenging behavior. 

“This two-day training gave advocates the chance to consider how they can better establish supporting and healing relationships with parents and children who have experienced trauma,” said Cody Warner, Children and Youth Prevention and Outreach Coordinator at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “To be trauma-informed, we must pause and understand where the survivors are with their healing journey to truly support them.  A key point is to have advocates reflect that we need to be connection focused more than program focused. Rather, making a meaningful connection to the survivor and their family is more important than the types of services offered in any particular program. These relationships create opportunities for the survivors and their families to heal and move forward from their trauma.” 

The training was unique in focusing on the needs of parents as well as children. This approach draws on the natural strength that exists within parent-child relationships.

In addition to providing a theoretical framework for understanding the impact of trauma, advocates came way with communication skills and techniques, ways to reduce stress and promote more positive experiences within the families, and within their own organizations. Often as much as anything advocates can offer, clients need empathetic and supportive relationships. These relationships create the conditions from which parents and children can let go of survival mechanisms and have better opportunities to thrive.

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We envision communities fully engaged to provide safety and to give a voice to all affected by domestic abuse, while creating the social change necessary to address its root causes. We honor the wisdom and strength of domestic abuse survivors across the lifespan. Our mission is achievable through survivor-centered work that includes strategic partnerships and collaboration. As advocates for social justice, we embrace the voices of diverse communities.