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Super Supervision: It’s Not as Hard as You Think

Supervision is a collaborative process and is ultimately about making a connection. The good news is that there is no secret to supervision. The reality is that:

Many people provide supervision and love their job. Support is available - phone a friend! Training and online resources are a click away!

Resources to get you started

Training new advocates

One of your most important roles is to orient and train new advocates. You play a key role in helping advocates get off to a good start and avoid common traps and burn-out.

Advocates need to understand survivor-driven advocacy, where their job with survivors is to:

  • share power
  • respect their strengths, cultures, and community
  • accept and meet survivors where they are

… as well as to model and contribute to your program being:

  • flexible and for the whole person, not just the abuse
  • survivor-driven, not program-driven
  • culturally competent (see our Crossing Borders assessment guide)
  • action-oriented

Here are a few resources to get started:

  • Talk about rescuing and taking off our superhero capes. Why is rescuing harmful to our goals of freedom and liberty? How can it re-enforce the abuser’s power? What situations might trigger a rescue response for you, and how will you get support?
  • Share principles of survivor-centered advocacy, and unintended consequences of common practices done in the name of “keeping survivors safe.” (Check out WSCADV’s recorded training webinar and slides.)
  • Discuss common myths about the advocate’s role. Are you ready to talk about why the following statements are not only incorrect but deeply contrary to survivor-driven advocacy?
    1. “Protection orders make survivors safe and I should encourage survivors to get one.”
    2. “I should always encourage my clients to cooperate with prosecutors.”
    3. “My goal should be to help survivors leave the abuser since leaving is the safest and best outcome.”
    4. “Since survivors are beaten down by the abuse, they can’t make good decisions until I empower them.”
    5. “Survivors who reunite with their abuser put their kids at risk.”

(Not sure how to answer? Check out pages 29-31 of Mission-focused management and empowerment practice: A handbook for Executive Directors of DV Programs by Cris Sullivan, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.)

  • Provide training and job shadowing opportunities with a focus on core principles. Send new advocates to WSCADV’s Advocacy for Rookies training, or to another program for training or job shadowing with experienced advocates.

Nuts and bolts of supervision