2022 Edition

Domestic Violence Services (CA-DV) 6: Advocacy and Support Services

Survivors receive a range of supportive services that promote well-being and independence.




Individuals who receive Domestic Violence Services gain a sense of empowerment, improve their well-being, and increase their ability to live safely and independently.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of educational curricula
  • Procedures for referring survivors to services
  • Informational materials provided to survivors
  • Educational curricula
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Survivors
  • Review case records


CA-DV 6.01

The program’s services and personnel:
  1. recognize individual and family values and goals;
  2. accommodate variations in lifestyles;
  3. emphasize personal growth, development, and situational change; and
  4. aim to help survivors gain confidence in their personal abilities.
Examples: Involving survivors in program development may be one way of promoting both responsive programming and the empowerment of survivors.

Fundamental Practice

CA-DV 6.02

The organization provides survivors with the resources needed to report domestic violence, sexual assault, or child maltreatment, if they elect to do so.


CA-DV 6.03

Survivors receive assistance with housing that includes, as needed:
  1. information about available housing options;
  2. help finding a safe, stable living arrangement; and
  3. education on tenant rights and responsibilities.
Examples: Appropriate housing options can include: (1) finding a new residence and living independently in a new community, (2) residing with friends or relatives, (3) transitional housing, (4) emergency shelter, and (5) returning home with necessary and available legal protections.


CA-DV 6.04

Survivors are helped to manage any legal needs they may have, including:
  1. working with law enforcement;
  2. locating attorneys;
  3. obtaining protective orders;
  4. resolving issues related to divorce, custody, visitation, and child support; and
  5. understanding their legal rights.


CA-DV 6.05

Comprehensive counselling services are available as needed, and include:
  1. short-term counselling;
  2. long-term counselling; and
  3. support groups.


CA-DV 6.06

Employment support promotes survivors’ ability to achieve economic independence and includes help in the following areas, as needed:
  1. obtaining needed educational services; 
  2. developing habits, skills, and self-awareness essential to employability; 
  3. writing resumes, completing job applications, and preparing for interviews; and 
  4. finding and accessing local employment resources and placement options, including on the job training.


CA-DV 6.07

Educational offerings promote independence and housing readiness and address, as needed:
  1. activities of daily living;
  2. household management;
  3. budgeting and money management;
  4. credit and debt counselling;
  5. the use of community resources;
  6. information about public assistance; and
  7. interpersonal communication.


CA-DV 6.08

When services are provided in a group setting they are: 
  1. designed to respond flexibly to the changing needs of group members; and
  2. scheduled with participants’ time commitments in mind.
NA The organization does not provide services in a group setting.


CA-DV 6.09

When services are provided in a group setting, participants have opportunities to:
  1. contribute by sharing their experiences and asking questions;
  2. listen to and learn from those who are similar to and different from themselves;
  3. develop positive relationships with others;
  4. assume responsibilities and develop leadership capacities; and
  5. participate in activities of interest.
NA The organization does not provide services in a group setting.

Fundamental Practice

CA-DV 6.10

Survivors are linked to a range of other services that include, as needed:
  1. food and nutrition assistance;
  2. health services, including both emergency and routine medical care;
  3. mental health services;
  4. services for substance use conditions;
  5. financial assistance;
  6. transportation assistance;
  7. prenatal health care;
  8. pediatric health care, including well-baby visits and immunizations;
  9. child care; and
  10. family support and strengthening services.


When an organization provides shelter services to survivors’ children, medical and dental assessments for children and youth should be conducted in accordance with well-child guidelines.


Regarding element (c), expectant and recent mothers should be screened for depression, informed about postpartum depression, and connected to available support and treatment services.


CA-DV 6.11

Survivors are helped to develop and expand their informal support networks, including connections with friends, extended family, and community members.