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The Sanctuary Model

What is The Sanctuary Model?

At Women Against Abuse we follow a set of ideas known as The Sanctuary® Model. We believe that everyone goes through challenges and hardship at some point in their life, and that these things shape who we become and how we behave. With this in mind we try to change the question from “What is wrong with you?” and instead ask “What happened to you?”.  In this way, the Sanctuary® Model helps us to better assist clients and employees with planning their goals, finding their strengths, and overcoming challenges in their lives.

Women Against Abuse is one of 72 certified Sanctuary® Model organizations internationally, only two of which are domestic violence service providers.  Four of the certified organizations are located outside of the U.S. in the following countries: Scotland, Australia and Ireland. 

Sanctuary® certification symbolizes an organization's commitment to providing a higher level of care, a trauma-sensitive environment for the people they serve and a superior work environment for employees. Sanctuary® certification requires re-evaluation every three years, as it is designed to promote, sustain, and strengthen an organization's commitment to the maintenance of a trauma-informed culture for all of its stakeholders.

Read more about Sanctuary® below, and visit the Sanctuary® Model website for more info. 


WAA’s Seven Commitments

1. Nonviolence: We work hard to make sure that we are physically safe and that we feel safe with the people around us.
2. Emotional Intelligence: We work to express our feelings in healthy ways that don’t hurt ourselves or others.
3. Social Learning: We are committed to sharing our ideas with others and listening to others share their ideas.
4. Democracy: We acknowledge that we make better decisions when everyone plays a part in the decision making.
5. Open Communication: We don’t keep our thoughts to ourselves; we say what we mean but aren’t mean when we say it!
6. Social Responsibility: Together we get more done. We are committed to helping each other out.
7. Growth and Change: If we want things to get better, we need to believe that we can grow and change. We know it's hard!



S.E.L.F. 101

“S.E.L.F is an acronym that represents the four interactive key aspects of recovery from negative experiences.” — The Sanctuary® Model website

SAFETY allows us to manage our emotions well
EMOTIONAL MANAGEMENT allows the expression of loss
The ability to express LOSS allows us to think about our future
Creating our own FUTURE allows us to create a safe one