Over the past year, the DC Center for the LGBT Community, has been able to provide vital mental health support services and outreach opportunities to individuals in the community that are both survivors and supporters of survivors of violence, crime, and trauma. This work is made possible with the support of the Office of Victim Services and the CenterLink-Johnson Family Foundation Mental Health Initiative.
We provided individual and group therapy, case management, and intake assessments to over 50 survivors of violence, crime, and trauma. Sam Goodwin, LGSW, and Dr. Zelaika Clarke provided over 470 individual therapy sessions and provided case management to a total of 42 individuals through warm handoff referrals to trauma-informed providers and organizations.
The DC Anti-Violence Project, a program of the DC Center, has also lso focused on engaging and educating community members through presentations and outreach events, such as our ‘Taking the Stage, Taking a Stand: LGBTQ Voices Against Violence’ event, which uplifted the voices of LGBTQ individuals affected by violence and trauma through various artistic mediums of expression, including dance, song, slam poetry, storytelling and rap. In addition to the 5 ‘Taking the Stage’ events held over the past year, The DC Anti-Violence Project launched several presentations to increase awareness and educate community members, specifically around issues in the LGBTQ community.
One of these community presentations occurred on September 6th, 2017, when The DC Anti-Violence Project provided a community presentation training to rape crisis hotline trainee staff at The DC Rape Crisis Center. This presentation provided an overview of LGBTQ issues and terminology, which included interactive and experiential activities for participants to learn about the needs of LGBTQ survivors of violence, crime, and trauma. Role plays, videos, and didactic learning material were provided to trainee staff, and participants were invited to look at the differences between a negative experience for LGBTQ individuals in contrast to an experience in which service providers practice cultural competency and cultural humility. The DC Anti-Violence Project received a great deal of positive feedback from both participants and DCRCC staff, and have been invited back to train hotline staff in the next year.
Additionally, monthly meetings for The DC Anti-Violence Project are held on the 4th Thursday of every month, from 7-8:30 PM at The DC Center. These meetings attract members of the community searching for ways to get involved with local action to eradicate targeted violence against LGBTQ individuals, and over the past year, have focus on the following efforts: organizing action around local violence and hate/bias crimes against transgender women of color; working with Council Member David Grosso to support legislation for both increasing bystander awareness/intervention and for legalizing sex work in DC; writing community impact statements for LGBTQ-centered cases currently in the DC court system; and planning future community events and outreach with local survivor-serving organizations, such as Safe Bars, Defend Yourself, End Rape on Campus, and Casa Ruby.
Over the past year, The DC Anti-Violence Project has doubled in size of membership, demonstrating the draw and sustainability of this work, propelled forward by the deep passion and commitment of our increasing member base.
This year, The DC Anti-Violence Project was successful in referring over 122 unique individual clients to vital resources and trauma-informed services such as the DC Victim Hotline through the LGBTQ Violence Response Hotline, psychiatrists, medical doctors, and free legal aid services (e.g. The DC Volunteer Lawyer’s Project), Crime Victim’s Compensation, vocational and employment resources and classes, and law enforcement services.
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