Substance abuse treatment providers should integrate safety planning into a chemically dependent victim's treatment plan in order to reduce the risk of further harm from her abusive partner and to increase the chances of a successful treatment outcome. Providers should coordinate safety planning efforts with a domestic violence service provider, if a victim so desires. (See Guiding Principles, 1.d. re: safety planning.)
This need for individualized substance abuse treatment planning that integrates the safety-related concerns of victims becomes even more critical when participation in the alcohol/other drug treatment program is court-mandated, for example, as a result of a DWI arrest. The absence of safety-related strategies in treatment planning increases the risk of danger to victims, interferes with their ability to comply with the plan, increases the risk of relapse, and may result in a report to the court of "non-compliance." Integrating the safety-related needs of a victim into her substance abuse treatment plan increases the likelihood of her ability to successfully comply with the plan, and to therefore fulfill the mandates of the court.
c.Substance abuse treatment providers should recognize that, at times, the legitimate survival and safety strategies employed by victims (such as resistance, non-compliance, and dishonesty) may conflict with recovery strategies. Recovery strategies and activities should be continually reviewed and modified, as necessary, to reflect a victim's ongoing safety-related needs.
The safety-related concerns of victims do not necessarily remain constant. As a result, victims may attempt to protect themselves from the violent and coercive acts of their partners in ways that conflict with agreed upon recovery strategies. A victim's use of survival strategies related to safety should be supported and encouraged and not seen as a failure to comply with substance abuse treatment, but as an indication that the treatment plan needs to be reviewed and modified.
d.Substance abuse treatment providers should cultivate cooperative relationships with domestic violence service providers, provide victims with accurate information about available domestic violence residential and nonresidential services, and should actively assist victims in making the linkage with those services, if they so desire.
In residential substance abuse treatment settings, patients should be allowed to meet with a domestic violence service provider for individual counseling or support, if so desired, in order to get the information they need to adequately plan