Internet Safety

The Sanctuary Model

By now you may have heard the wonderful news that we're officially certified in the Sanctuary® Model, an evidence-supported, trauma-informed organizational change approach to establishing an organizational culture that promotes healing, safety and empowerment for both clients and staff. But what does that mean, and why is it important?

 

What is the Sanctuary® Model?

The Sanctuary® Model is a set of ideas for organizations to follow to become more trauma-informed in a holistic way, and includes seven commitments as well as an organizing principle called "S.E.L.F." 

The Sanctuary® Model emphasizes seven commitments in organizational interactions:  

  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!

 

Self 101

Women Against Abuse also observes "S.E.L.F," an acronym that stands for what the Sanctuary® Institute calls "the four interactive key aspects of recovery from negative experiences”:

  • 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.

 

 

Why Sanctuary®?

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.

 

 

What does Sanctuary® certification mean?

The Sanctuary® Institute awards Sanctuary® certification to signify that an organization “provides a higher level of care, a trauma-sensitive environment for clients… and a better work environment for staff.”

For the past four years, with feedback from the Sanctuary® Institute's staff and leadership, we've worked carefully to integrate Sanctuary® principles into our organization's structure and into our staff's interactions with both clients and each other. After a two-day visit to our multiple programs this spring, the Sanctuary® Institute informed us that we have achieved our Sanctuary® certification! Women Against Abuse is now one of 73 certified Sanctuary® Model organizations internationally, only two of which are domestic violence service providers.

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.

Want to learn more?

Visit the Sanctuary® Model website for more info. 

waa-walk-3.jpg
Renee’s Story

Renee’s Story

Renee Norris Jones experienced 7 years of domestic violence at a time when few resources existed to help victims escape abuse.

Read Full Story
Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Pro bono representation provided by local law firms makes a meaningful difference for the thousands of clients seeking help at our Legal Center.

Read Full Story
Catherine’s Story

Catherine’s Story

When I first met my abuser, I was just 14 years old and he was 20. I thought I was in love, so I ignored the disapproval of my mom and sister.

Read Full Story
Dana’s Story

Dana’s Story

Former emergency shelter resident Dana*, intelligent and bright-spirited, worked hard for her credentials.

Read Full Story
Sara’s Story

Sara’s Story

Sara* was a victim of domestic violence who transformed into a strong and capable mother with support from Women Against Abuse.

Read Full Story
Overbrook Presbyterian’s Story

Overbrook Presbyterian’s Story

The Women’s Dining Circle of Overbrook Presbyterian Church knows how to make fundraising down right fun. In January, the Dining Circle hosted a dinner that raised over $1,200 for Women Against Abuse.

Read Full Story
Lucia’s Story

Lucia’s Story

Lucia* came to the WAA emergency shelter pregnant and with five children.

Read Full Story
Allison’s Story

Allison’s Story

Allison* cringed at her reflection in the mirror as she gently dabbed concealer over the bruises circling her eye.

Read Full Story
Beth Huffman’s Story

Beth Huffman’s Story

When a survivor's child was in trouble, Beth Huffman helped organize a press conference to get the story out on behalf of Women Against Abuse's Legal Center.

Read Full Story
Doreen Davis’ Story

Doreen Davis’ Story

Doreen Davis is a longtime supporter of Women Against Abuse who has used her expertise in traditional labor law to assist WAA for over two decades.

Read Full Story

If you or someone you know needs help, call our toll-free 24-hour Hotline:

1.866.723.3014

Sign up for Action Alerts, Updates & Newsletters!