Even programmes focused on violence prevention will touch the lives of many women who have already experienced abuse. If 20 percent of women in a setting experience intimate partner violence, for example, at least one in every five female staff, facilitators, and workshop participants will have, too. For some, discussing violence may cause earlier trauma to resurface; others may need immediate support to cope with ongoing abuse. Organisations must train staff to respond appropriately to disclosures of abuse, including any legal requirements to report the abuse of children or vulnerable adults, and establish referral pathways to professional health, legal, and psychosocial services.
Staff working on violence prevention may be particularly in need of support. Prevention programmes often involve deep personal reflection, and trauma and pain unrelated to violence may surface—for example, around childhood experiences or poor family relationships. Organisations can train staff on setting boundaries and to not transcend their role (for example, not providing counselling unless qualified to do so). They can provide access to support services and encourage their use. Most importantly, they can create space to share experience, process emotions, and release tension.