Preventing vicarious trauma through the Open Doors Outreach Network model was part of a conference workshop presentation by Lynne Harris MPH, LPC, LMHC, ATR, a thought leader in trauma psychotherapy who consults with Voices for Florida, at a recent conference in Philadelphia hosted by the Community and Trauma Counseling Program of Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University).
Vicarious trauma was one of four topic tracks at the conference whose theme was “Preventing Childhood Trauma and its Impact Across the Lifespan: An interprofessional Agenda for Providers, Advocates, Policy Makers, and Community Members”. Vicarious trauma is a term that describes the emotional result of working directly with victims of trauma, and occurs when providing care and empathy becomes overwhelming, and sometimes results in re-traumatization for providers with their own history of trauma.
Identifying, treating, accepting and normalizing vicarious trauma is part of the continuous training and education provided to all Open Doors Outreach Network Providers. This training is especially important for Survivor-Mentors, who have first-hand experience with trauma and are more likely to experience vicarious trauma as a result.
The audience of advocates, direct service providers and educators was interested as well that Florida is a Safe Harbor state, meaning that children who are sex trafficked are to be treated as victims in need of service, rather than juvenile offenders. Florida’s expansive laws currently surpass most other states’ protections regarding the prosecution of children for who have been sex trafficked. “This causes many survivors to have juvenile records, which closes many doors to employment, housing, education and more,” stated Harris. “I feel proud to represent the state of Florida and bring attention to the importance of laws to protect victims.”
The audience was especially encouraged that a key element of the Open Doors Outreach Network model is the hiring of Survivor-Mentors, having taken into account their criminal history related to trauma. Voices for Florida is grateful to the Florida Legislature and executive branch leadership for ensuring survivors of trafficking, and those working with this population, have the best opportunities to succeed.
Big Bend Community Comes Together to “Fill the Closet”
Last weekend, the Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking (BBCAHT) hosted “Fill the Closet”, an event to collect basic need items for individuals being served by Children’s Home Society, an Open Doors Outreach Network provider in the Big Bend region. Voices for Florida’s office served as a collection site, and although the staff garnered two tables full of supplies, they were amazed to see that hundreds of hygiene products, undergarments, school supplies and backpacks were also dropped off to Good Shepherd Catholic Church on the Day of Service. “We’re encouraged to see so many members of the community bringing hope to victims of sex trafficking with all of the donations, and look forward to promoting similar events,” said Voices for Florida Information & Outreach Specialist Tiffany McGlinchey.
Outreach Team members Ashlee McCarter and Nicole Rainey left the event with both of their vehicles jam packed. “Those we serve are going to be ecstatic once they see how much the community donated to support them. For our victims that are in school, this is exactly what they need to get them excited about the new year!” said Regional Advocate Ashlee McCarter. “This is only the beginning,” chimed Clinician Nicole Rainey. “With so many being referred to our network every week, we’ll need to keep events like these going on a regular basis”. If you or your organization would like to host a donation drive to support the Open Doors Outreach Network, please contact Tiffany McGlinchey at email@example.com.
Outreach Network Spotlight
Voices for Florida is proud to announce the birth of the first Open Doors baby! One of the survivors receiving services through the Open Doors Outreach Network was referred to the program while pregnant. Although she was making progress towards recovery and well-being, she wanted someone with whom she felt safe to be present in the delivery room. She reached out to the Outreach Team member on-call as soon as her water broke, and the team member was able to provide care and emotional support during the birthing process.
“Supporting [the survivor] during her delivery may not be part of my job description, but I want to serve our population in any way I can. I’m just happy I was able to be there for her,” said the Outreach Team member. The entire Open Doors Outreach Network wishes blessings to this newborn and her mom.
For more information, please contact the following:
- Big Bend (Leon and Bay counties): Children’s Home Society of the Big Bend, Leon: 850-219-4239; Bay: 850-819-3830
- Central Florida (Brevard, Orange, Osceola and Polk counties): One More Child, 407-799-8719
- North Coastal (Flagler and Volusia counties): Children’s Home Society of Greater Northeast Florida, 386-281-9823
- Northeast (Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Baker and Clay counties): Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, 904-412-8923
- Suncoast (Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties): More Too Life, 941-227-1012
- Southwest (Collier and Lee counties): One More Child, 239-478-8649
- Statewide Office (Tallahassee): Voices for Florida, 850-425-2621
- DCF Child Protection Summit, September 5-7, 2018
JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
4040 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL 32837
- 2018 Human Trafficking Summit, October 1, 2018
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
6677 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32821
- Shared Hope JuST Conference, October 16-18, 2018
Town & Country Resort
500 Hotel Cir N, San Diego, CA 92108
- See the Girl Summit, October 18-19, 2018
Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center
40 East Adams, Suite 130, Jacksonville, FL 32202
- APHA 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo, November 10-14, 2018
San Diego, CA
- National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11, 2019
Using Data and Shared Measurement in Collective Impact
Data gathering and shared measurement systems are key elements for collective impact initiatives to better understand and assess the work. As Voices for Florida moves towards enhancing its technology and data collection efforts to assess the progress of the Open Doors Outreach Network, research about how to complete this process using a collective impact lens is imperative. Watch Webinar
If you believe you are a victim of or suspect human trafficking, please call:
Florida DCF Abuse Hotline: 1 (800) 962-2873 or National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888
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