Back to Basics: Service Users Report on the Importance of Material Resources and Empowering Responses
Since the 1980s, coordinated community responses (CCRs) have flourished throughout North America and the United Kingdom to improve the local response to violence against women. Existing research on CCRs have primarily assessed this model from the service provider perspective. This community engaged evaluation research fills a gap in the literature through the inclusion of women’s voices in the evaluation of a sexual assault and domestic violence protocol, implemented by a CCR in one Ontario community. Using feminist intersectionality and collaboration theory, the current study examined the extent to which the protocol objectives were met, the barriers and challenges experienced by women in their attempt to access and receive services. Moreover, this study examined whether the protocol was meeting the needs and issues facing women who have experienced violence. Twenty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with women who disclosed experiencing violence to service providers mandated by the protocol. The findings revealed that meeting women’s basic needs and the manner in which service providers respond to women is crucial. Women were more likely to benefit from services and report positive experiences when service providers attended to their interconnected needs and provided a caring response.