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"The Needs List" for Domestic Violence Victims

Posted Mar 10 2010 12:00am
Over the past year, I have been teaching battered women how to get proper assistance from Domestic Violence Organizations and state programs. It may seem easy- just call the DV hotline and all prayers are answered- but it isn't that simple. Some women go through years dealing with domestic violence advocates that simply don't care, organizations that never follow-up/respond, and promises never kept. In fact, every woman that reaches out to me has already gone through the typical "run around" from every organization that they have reached out to for help. Most of these women have been through the "system" and come to me for a new plan, and I give them one. Tonight I want to talk about something I discuss with every woman that seeks out my help-- I call it "The Needs List".

"The Needs List" is a list I have every domestic abuse victim think about and create for themselves. For many women affected by domestic abuse, it's hard to separate the story from their actual needs. Many are stuck in the details of the situation and can barely see what they are actually in need of. When I start working with these victims, I try taking them out of their own story and into the bigger picture: their NEEDS. What are needs? A need is the vehicle that takes you to your want. Many can't separate needs from wants, and as a result, this hinders victims from obtaining real assistance.

Before domestic violence victims reach out to large agencies for assistance, they should make a Needs List. A Needs List is basic. It should resemble this
Needs List1. Pro Bono Domestic Violence Attorney
2. Domestic Violence Advocate
3. Crime Victims Compensation Application

Instead of reaching out to Domestic Violence Organizations with a detailed story, victims should always highlight their needs first, and focus on their needs rather than the details of any situation. Highlighting your needs and staying focused on getting your needs met will ultimately bring you to your wants, which is safety, peace, and justice. My advice to any victim who is thinking about reaching out to large organizations/state agencies for assistance: Create a Needs List and make sure to make that the focus of any letter you send and any conversation you have.
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