Our CHW-led groups provide a safe space for participants to share their experiences, are two hours in length and led by a trained Community Health Worker using methods that emphasize social justice and community empowerment. The use of CHWs as group leaders is a key element of the program because they are both peers and professionals, and thus able to build a trusting relationship with the participants that might not otherwise be possible. This relationship increases the impact and effectiveness of the group sessions.
The specific educational topics covered within the support group include: the dynamics of family violence, healthy relationships, safety within intimate partner relationships, emotional wellbeing, stress, and self-care. Within the support group, discussion is encouraged among group members. Arts and crafts activities (e.g. jewelry making, collage, etc.) occur at each group session. The intent of the arts and crafts is to open discussion and build trust among participants, as well as providing a safe place for self-expression. Finally, each session concludes with an optional journal prompt and writing period to promote healing.
These sessions have proven effective as participants who completed a recent program that supported survivors of Intimate Partner Violence reported lower levels of stress and depression, as well as higher feelings of empowerment and community support. The program was also cost-effective, with an estimated return of $1.73 per dollar invested over a five year period.