Shimtuh: Domestic Violence Program

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KCCEB maintains an innovative approach to delivering critical public services, and is the only Korean organization north of Los Angeles that provides culturally and linguistically specific intervention and prevention services for Korean Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) survivors.shimtuh 2

Since 2000, KCCEB has helped over 500 families to lead healthy family lives free of violence. For 16 years, Shimtuh has provided culturally and linguistically appropriate support to women and children survivors of IPV. Shimtuh distinguishes its services from mainstream domestic violence (DV) and IPV providers by: 1) providing culturally relevant services to Korean and other Asian populations who generally feel less inclined to seek services unless they are provided by someone with whom they can identify; and 2) providing services and informational materials in the native languages of Asian immigrant and refugee populations. Thirty-nine to 56% of this population lacks proficiency in English, if not monolingual; therefore, they seek support from those agencies that provide services in their native languages. Shimtuh, as the leading IPV agency providing culturally specific services and education in the East Bay, and also 3) provides IPV education and technical assistance to faith-based leaders and other social service agencies serving Asian populations to build community capacity, transforming institutionalized values that foster violence.

Shimtuh provides the following services in Korean, other Asian and English languages:

Toll-Free Helpline

helplineShimtuh staff answers a confidential IPV helpline Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 5:30am, offering crisis counseling, peer support, advocacy, referrals and information.The helpline offers safety plans and risk assessments, as well as referrals to shelters in the case of women who are in immediate danger. Providing multilingual helpline support is integral to serving the Korean American population of survivors that allows them to take the first step toward understanding the dynamics of IPV. Shimtuh helpline staff use a client-centered approach to assisting callers who have been impacted by IPV.

Case Management and Peer Counseling

Shimtuh provides safety planning and risk assessments to help clients understand their level of safety and facilitate plans to address risks to themselves and their children. Culturally and linguistically specific peer counseling and case management helps to reduce re-victimization that can take place by mainstream services designed to help them. Using a Korean-American specific approach, Shimtuh staff members (who are also Korean-American) seek to reduce the isolation that many survivors experience. Through client centered peer counseling, advocacy, referrals to social services and specialists, information, and translation, survivors take steps toward safety, health, and independence.

Mobile Advocacy

Shimtuh staff provides in-person advocacy, peer counseling, and translation to assist women who need to enter the emergency shelter system, from the time a client identifies that she wants to seek safe shelter, through the process of entering the shelter, during the time she resides at the shelter, and through her departure and thereafter. Shimtuh staff helps survivors understand how the shelter works and sets expectations. Shimtuh staff is physically present with the client during shelter intake to explain shelter protocols. This also provides Shimtuh with a chance to train partner shelter staff about the cultural nuances to expect from Shimtuh clients.

Legal Advocacy

During intake, Shimtuh staff assesses each client’s legal and immigration needs and provide referrals, interpretation and advocacy for survivors in need of legal services. KCCEB partners with pro bono attorneys to assist clients with restraining orders, family law and immigration law matters, and provides court accompaniment and interpretation during each step of the process. Shimtuh staff refers clients who are eligible for U Visas and VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) petitions for residency to legal agencies or KCCEB’s Immigration Integration Legal Services Program.

The SEED (Survivor Economic Empowerment and Development

2007SEED financially empowers survivors of IPV and helps them to become self-sufficient and find employment. The 12-session program conducts a needs assessment to identify client strengths, goals, and tools required for professional advancement, such as ESL or computer training. Through a series of seminars and workshops, SEED provides information about (1) personal financial management tools, such as personal banking, record keeping, and credit management; (2) basic business and job search skills, like market research, business planning, resume writing; and (3) soft skills, such as personal effectiveness, business readiness, time-management, overcoming fears, and creative problem solving.

The IPV Mental Health Program

Shimtuh staff addresses the impacts of violence and abuse through this program. As many survivors feel isolated from services that can help them and may be experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression, Shimtuh staff provides linguistically and culturally specific individual mental health counseling and support groups to address survivor experience with IPV.

Technical Assistance, Training, Coalitions, and Collaborations

KCCEB strengthens the community-wide response to IPV by training and assisting mainstream service providers, and collaborating with other IPV agencies, law enforcement agencies, and criminal justice system agencies. Through education, community advocacy and collaboration, Shimtuh reduces cultural barriers to services and builds the capacity of mainstream service providers.

Community Capacity Building

Shimtuh provides IPV education and technical assistance to faith-based community leaders to build community capacity, transforming the institutionalized values and practices that foster violence. It also provides technical assistance to other social services agencies to help leverage knowledge and expertise.

Sexual Assault Services

shimtuh 1Shimtuh is currently the only culturally specific Asian program explicitly providing sexual assault services in Northern California. KCCEB provides sexual assault services within the IPV framework, which mostly addresses marital relationships.