A Community Health Worker program that provided outreach and support to survivors of sexual assualt.
Voces Unidas (United Voices) used Community Health Workers (CHWs) and peer support leaders to provide outreach and support for sexual assault survivors in Willacy and Cameron Counties in Texas. While Community Health Workers are skilled professionals who provide valuable services, they are also peers by definition and possess a deep understanding of the local norms and beliefs. As such, they are able to build trusting relationships with community members that would not otherwise be possible. When dealing with a topic as sensitive as sexual assault, trust and familiarity are absolutely essential to the success and impact of the program.
In the Voces Unidas program, our CHWs provided information and education, formed community-based support groups, and referred women to community based individual or group counseling sessions where appropriate. The Voces Unidas Community Health Workers also promoted community awareness and action, and worked to lead sustainable change within the communities they worked in. The ultimate goal of the program was to expand the scope of services available to survivors of sexual assault, with an emphasis on reaching underserved community members.
Voices Unidas works in partnership with Family Crisis Health Center, which provides a 24 hour hotline, emergency shelter, individual and group counseling, and other services to program participants. The program began in October 2016, and will conclude in September 2018.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-UD-AX-0002 awarded by the Office on ViolenceAgainst Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed inthis publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Departmentof Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
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