Addressing System Barriers to Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence

Many of us encounter survivors of domestic violence at some point in our journey – either in the field we’ve chosen, personal experience or the experience of those close to us, or perhaps both. Advocacy in this field can be tough. Advocates for survivors of domestic violence can come up against many barriers: myths and stigma about survivorship, vicarious trauma, red tape. One area that shouldn’t be a barrier but often is are the systems survivors frequently find themselves in (healthcare, legal, child welfare, etc.). Knowing how to help survivors navigating these systems can be a crucial and sparsely discussed piece of advocacy work.

This month, we created a complication of resources and trainings from within the last year centered around domestic violence advocacy, including how to address some of these barriers as an advocate. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re looking for more!


Community Care: Advocacy for Latin@ survivors of IPV in health systems

April 2023

Esperanza United

This easily understood toolkit explains some of the barriers Latin@ survivors of IPV may face when accessing healthcare and discusses ways in which advocates can assist. 

Access this toolkit here – English

Access this toolkit here – Spanish


How Survivor Mothers Have To Navigate Family Court

May 2023

National Legal Center on Children and Domestic Violence & Battered Women’s Justice Project

This webinar explains family court for parent survivors. Speakers provided an overview different forms of abuse, how it can affect family court, if a survivor needs a lawyer to go to court, where to look for resources, and what to expect in family court. 

View this webinar here


Defending Criminalized Survivors

August 2022

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (API-GBV)

This webinar discusses various ways that survivors of domestic violence can be criminalized by the same systems that are built to support. Presenters and attendees also shared barriers and ideas for supporting criminalized survivors. 

View this webinar here


Faith, Spirituality, Religion & Domestic Violence: Special Collection

June 2023

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) through VAWnet

This expansive collection is critical for advocates to support survivors who want their faith or spirituality to play a positive role in their journey. It overviews the connections between domestic violence and faith, how faith/spirituality can meet needs of survivors, and how advocates and faith leaders can build partnerships to support survivors.

Access this special collection here


Why is the gender-based violence movement pushing away Black advocates?

February 2023

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) through VAWnet

This article discusses the need to diversify GBV movement leadership in order to address the inherent racism. It outlines the necessity of retaining and bringing additional Black talent to the GBV movement, discusses the current barriers Black advocates face, and ends by offering steps organizations can take towards inclusivity and promoting wellbeing for Black advocates. 

Access this article here


Breaking Barriers: Working with Latina/x/e Survivors


Breaking Barriers is a series of trainings to help Michigan crime victim advocates better serve all Michiganders, and particularly those in groups identified as unserved, underserved, or marginalized. This training was developed and presented by the LA VIDA Partnership, a program of the CHASS Center in Detroit. LA VIDA works to eradicate domestic violence and sexual assault in Southwest Detroit and Southeast Michigan.

Access* this training here

*You must be a registered member on to access this training

Looking for more DV-related resources?

Looking for more DV-related resources?

Check out last year’s compilation of 15 stand-out resources: Critical Intersections in DV: Housing, Identify, and the Legal System