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What type of training is required for staff of the domestic violence agency?

Initial and continuing education training of domestic violence agency staff is critically important. In addition, quality supervision is an integral component for the provision of excellent advocacy and in supporting staff. Advocates and advocate supervisors must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the nature and scope of domestic violence as defined by this chapter, as well as the historical and societal attitudes in which domestic violence is rooted. Training must be current and relevant to the provision of empowerment-based advocacy. Domestic violence agencies should also strive to ensure that staff incorporate training on services to marginalized populations as part of each advocate's annual continuing education hours. In furtherance of these goals, domestic violence agency staff must meet the following minimum training requirements.
Initial training
(1) Staff providing supportive services and supervisors of staff shall obtain a minimum of twenty hours of initial basic training that covers the following topics and skills:
(a) Theory and implementation of empowerment-based advocacy.
(b) The history of the domestic violence movement.
(c) Active listening skills.
(d) Legal, medical, social service and systems advocacy.
(e) Anti-oppression and cultural competency theory and practice.
(f) Confidentiality and ethics.
(g) Safety planning skills and barriers to safety.
(h) Planning, clarifying issues and options, and crisis intervention.
(i) Providing services and advocacy to individuals from marginalized populations.
(j) Policies and procedures of the domestic violence agency.
(2) Initial training shall be completed prior to providing supportive services to clients and/or their dependent children.
(3) The recommended format for initial trainings is live and in-person group sessions. Structured job-shadowing and self-study may be included as part of the overall initial training. All domestic violence agency in-house training must be based on a training plan that covers one or more of the required initial training topics.
Continuing education and supervisor training
(4) Based on their date of hire with the domestic violence agency, staff providing supportive services and staff supervisors must obtain an annual minimum of twenty hours of continuing education training beginning in their second year with the domestic violence agency, and in every year thereafter.
(5) A minimum of ten hours must be live training on topics specifically focused on serving victims of domestic violence and their children.
(6) The remaining ten hours of training may be satisfied through self-study on topics specifically focused on serving victims of domestic violence and their children.
(7) Within six months of being hired as an advocate supervisor and for each year thereafter, the supervisor must obtain a minimum of five hours of training on supervision. Supervision training can be counted toward the twenty hours of annual continuing education training hours required by this chapter. Examples of supervision training topics include leadership skills, job coaching and staff evaluation, personnel management, effective communication and managing conflict, multicultural supervision, and how to foster professional development of, and self-care with, advocates. While live, in-person training is the preferred method for supervision training, all methods of live and self-study training are acceptable.
Training for staff not providing supportive services
(8) Domestic violence agency staff who do not provide supportive services to clients or their dependent children are not required to obtain initial and continuing education training as described in this section. Examples of staff that are included in this category are shelter housekeeping staff, individuals providing child care assistance as defined in this chapter, and bookkeeping and accounting staff. It is recommended, however, that staff who may come into contact with clients of the domestic violence agency and their dependent children, but who do not provide supportive services, receive training on the following:
(a) Confidentiality.
(b) Relevant policies and procedures of the domestic violence agency.
(c) Mandated reporting of child abuse/neglect as required by chapter 26.44 RCW, Abuse of children.
[Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.123 RCW. WSR 15-14-033, § 388-61A-0350, filed 6/23/15, effective 7/24/15; WSR 10-22-040, § 388-61A-0350, filed 10/27/10, effective 11/27/10.]
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