Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault (AAFVSA) is a non-profit agency located in Bakersfield, CA. This agency is dedicated to provide services and referrals for individuals who are impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault. The Alliance provides a range of services to both adults and children. The agency provides group counseling as well as individual counseling. At the Alliance, both group and individual counseling are voluntarily.
Mandated group counseling is also available for individuals going through the court system. Typically, those who are mandated through the court to attend are going through the Child Protective Services (CPS) in order to regain custody of their children. This mandated group is a 26-week group session named Learning to Protect. Apart from counseling, The Alliance strongly believes in educating and providing support services to help clients understand the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault. The Alliance has a new walk-in location, the Family Justice Center, where the case managers are sited. This new location is sited at 2101 Oak Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301. The Family Justice Center is where a client seeking services will start first or will be referred to. After that, the case managers will make appropriate referrals depending on the client’s situation. The Alliance outreach center is located at 1921 19th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301 and is where individual/group counseling, children services and human trafficking victim advocacy services are offered.
In order to seek services, one may find it beneficial to do it over the phone, be referred, or go in as a walk-in.
Parent agency/Organization History
According to the Alliance website, the agency started off in 1979 as a 24-hour hotline that was serviced by a group of volunteers in Bakersfield, CA. Now the Alliance has grown into an agency dedicated to provide services like emergency services, crisis intervention and supportive services to help those who have been victimized (AAFVSA, 2016). The Alliance works closely with other agencies in the community such as, Bakersfield Homeless Center, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance (GBLA), law enforcement and hospitals in order to provide the necessary services for each client that has experienced domestic violence/sexual assault. Depending on the client’s situation, the agency is able to refer clients to the services individuals are in need of. If the Alliance is not able to meet the needs of the clients, they are always able to refer, in order for the client to receive the best services.
The Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault website describes the mission of the agency to be, “to stop domestic violence and sexual assault in Kern County and assist survivors in reclaiming their lives. Our purpose as an agency is to make a difference in our community by providing expertise in dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault and ensuring the safety and well-being of victims and their children by providing services that address their individual needs and prepare them for self-sufficiency”.
Staffing is a big part of what makes The Alliance a working agency. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) oversees the whole organization. There is also a Director who oversees the supervisors within each department. There are four main departments within the agency, which include: Counseling, Case Management, Education and Prevention and Business office. Within each department, there are staff members who work to provide the services needed for the agency to function properly. Apart from the employees at the Alliance, there are times when there are volunteers and interns, like myself. The Alliance is always looking for volunteers to help with different events throughout the agency. For example, the month of October is domestic violence awareness month and the agency strives to provide different activities and evens throughout the month for the general public. The month of October would be a great opportunity for volunteers to help with the planning and execution of the events.
Since the Alliance is a non-profit agency, the funding comes from grants, donations, fundraisers etc. The Alliance works closely with Bethany Services, Inc. Goals and Objectives The goals of the Alliance are to provide services to survivors of domestic violence/sexual abuse, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, religious affiliation, etc. The Alliance wants every survivor of DV/SA to be able to reclaim his or her lives and not be considered a victim. The agency also strives to provide the necessary resources for every individual seeking assistance. At the Alliance, the staff works hard in order for clients to be able to reenter society with the essential resources needed. Another objective of the Alliance is to be able to provide mandated group counseling sessions for those ordered through the court. Like mentioned earlier, Learning to protect is a mandated 26-week session for those individuals who are required to attend because they are battling a CPS case. Individuals in the mandated group are individuals who have had their kids taken away due to domestic violence and the court has deemed the caretaker as being neglectful. Learning to protect group session allows the individuals to express what they are going through as well as have a support system to fall back on. Overall, the Alliance provides various resources that serve as a stepping stool in order for victims of domestic/violence to reclaim their lives. The Alliance wants every individual that comes in contact with the agency to be confident and successful despite the situation they have experienced.
At the Alliance, there are several intervention tools used in order better serve the clients. Of those interventions, one of the main ones is Cognitive Behavior Therapy. This theory goes well when working with clients during both group and individual counseling. Using the cognitive behavior therapy teaches individuals and children with DV/SA experience new behavior models. Cognitive behavior therapy can also help individuals and children develop new health relationships and have an overall improvement in their quality of life.
Another intervention tool used is the Crisis Intervention model. The crisis intervention model is a tool used to assist both individuals and children during a crisis. Since the agency works with DV/SA survivors, there are times where a crisis is involved and there is no time for anything else but to tend to the crisis. The last intervention used is the Solution-Focused Therapy. The solution-focused therapy is used mainly with the mandated group sessions. The main focus of the group is to bring domestic violence awareness so the individuals are able to reunify their family. The group members are attending group with the intentions of solving their solution, which is getting their children back. Apart from the groups, solution-focused therapy is also used to time limitation with clients. Due to time limit restrictions, it is better to help the individual come up with solutions for their problems.
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