Guiding Principles

  • What are the Guiding Principles?

Answer Provided By: Jennifer Rose – Consultant, Northampton, MA

The Guiding Principles were developed to help grantees provide supervised visitation and safe exchange in a way that was consistent with the values and beliefs of the Office on Violence Against Women and how visitation should be provided for families experiencing domestic violence. They give guidance on practices, on policy development, on ways of thinking about how we shift our practices to ensure the safety of adult victims and their children while thinking about diversity, thinking about respect and fairness, our community collaborations, and the way in which we provide advocacy on behalf of battered women and their children.

They help give us guidance on who should be at the table and some tools in thinking about how to bring those people in and what it means to develop a center that is part of a collaboration that centralizes supervised visitation and safe exchange in our community’s response to domestic violence and helps move visitation and exchange from being what has historically been an island to a part of our community’s work in ensuring safety for adult victims and their children.

  • What is equal regard?

Answer Provided By: Carla Bean – Chief District Attorney, Dallas, TX

Equal regard is the consideration of not only the safety of the child in these cases, but also consideration for the safety of the adult victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. The equal regard criterion encompasses a balancing between safety and the equal access for both the child and the adult victim.

  • How do supervised visitation programs incorporate meaningful program aspects that respect diverse cultures?

Answer Provided By: Carla Bean – Chief District Attorney, Dallas, TX

Valuing multiculturalism and diversity requires individuals and organizations to examine their own patterns of ethnic diversity and to become more aware of their own cultural backgrounds for or against biases in terms of race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or disabilities.

Methods for implementing multiculturalism and/or diversity could include activities such as allowing families to bring in their own food or music, or allowing them to practice their religious traditions, considering providing interpreters, also considering allowing families to have extended family members attend the visits, and also providing transportation needs that aren’t readily apparent for some families, and also providing a broader base for families whose diversity is sometimes not familiar with the center.