The East Los Angeles Women’s Center is a leading voice and advocate for survivors and their families affected by sexual, domestic, and intimate partner violence and HIV/AIDS. In 1976 a small group of dedicated Latinas in East Los Angeles established the first-in-the-nation bilingual hotline for Spanish–speaking survivors of sexual assault. Today, ELAWC delivers innovative, comprehensive, culturally-responsive services that build on a foundation of trauma-informed, evidence-based practices designed to heal, support, protect, and empower the communities we serve. Working in collaboration with our partners we also foster the implementation of policies and practices that support social justice and human rights. ELAWC has earned a reputation as a trusted and compassionate resource working to empower and transform lives – and the lives of future generations.
Statement of Commitment to Trauma Informed Care
Throughout the history of the East Los Angeles Women’s Center, we have recognized how deeply trauma has affected the lives of the survivors and their families who reach out to us seeking safety and healing. The histories of traumatic events, brought on by violent interpersonal relationships, physical and sexual assaults and abuse, have impacted the survivors’ sense of emotional safety and physical well-being.
We as a community of advocates are committed to providing trauma informed care in all aspects of our responses to the survivors who seek our services.
We are committed to a public health approach to trauma informed care, which realizes the effects of trauma are wide spread and have the capacity to affect anyone in our greater communities who have experienced adverse experiences in their lives.
We as an agency are committed to integrating the knowledge of trauma informed approaches into our policies, procedures and practices. We recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma and we resist the re-traumatization of each individual we encounter, including survivors who come through our doors, callers who reach out to our hotlines, staff and volunteers who provide support and services and the community members we collaborate with in our mission.
The East Los Angeles Women’s Center is committed to operate with a Trauma Informed Care that embraces the Six Key Principles of a Trauma Informed Approach, which include and are demonstrated by:
Safety: We will sustain an emotionally, psychologically and physically safe and respectful space for all individuals who come through our doors. Our environment and interpersonal interactions will promote a sense of safety for both clients and staff. The maintenance of a safe space for all will always be our highest priority.
Trustworthiness and Transparency: The organization’s operations and policy decisions will be conducted with transparency, open communication with the goal of creating and implementing an institutional framework for trauma-informed services in program delivery and staff development, policies and procedures, administrative practices, and organizational infrastructure in the overall implementation of services.
Peer Support: We will have circles of support and development for staff, volunteer advocates, youth leaders and Promotoras, that are safe and have a foundation of mutual self-help. The goal is to provide peer supporters—both male and female—with the understanding, tools, and resources needed to engage in culturally responsive, trauma-informed peer support relationships.
Collaboration and Mutuality: We recognize healing happens in relationships. Clients and service providers engage in mutually respectful relationships, as survivors are empowered and work in collaboration with their service providers as their safety plans of action are developed and implemented. Likewise, staff are empowered to do their work as well as possible by receiving organizational support and maintaining mutually respectful and collaborative relationships with peers and leadership. This is the parallel process that staff need to feel safe, as much as the individuals need as they are receiving services.
Empowerment, Voice and Choice: Our organization believes in the resilience and the ability of individuals, organizations and communities to heal and promote recovery from trauma. Clients are respected as they reveal their stories and are supported in decision making, their choices and goal setting to determine the plan of action they need to heal and move forward. Staff are facilitators of recovery rather than controllers or enablers of recovery. We understand that healing takes place within the context of community, which might look different from a mainstream model that emphasizes individualistic therapy. Instead, healing connections for many may happen in a collective healing circle that reflects the origins of their culture.
Cultural, Historical and Gender Issues: Throughout our organization, we embrace three cultural core values respeto, personalismo and simpatia.
Respeto (Respect) is about a demonstration of mutual respect for one another.
Simpatia (Sympathy) an environment of compassion and understanding.
Personalismo (Personal Connection) whereby survivors come together to connect in a group
process of learning, support and empowerment.
Our organization recognizes and addresses the origins of historical, collective, structural and intergenerational trauma and actively moves forward past cultural and gender biases. We recognize the strength of the survivors, their wisdom and journey. We outreach and offer access to services to those who may not feel welcome in other settings due to stereotypes or their fears. We incorporate policies, protocols and procedures that are responsive to the racial, ethnic, gender-specific and cultural needs of the individuals and the community served.