violence are seeking treatment at the same substance abuse treatment site, and the victim has independent knowledge of her partner's participation in treatment and raises it with the treatment provider as a safety-related concern, full consideration should be given to transferring one or the other client to another treatment program or site, in consultation with the victim.
Client transfers in these circumstances may or may not be in a victim's best interests. Providers should confer with the victim to determine the safest course of action and take the steps necessary to respond to her safety-related needs. For example, a victim may desire that her partner be transferred to another site, but doesn't want him informed that she is participating in substance abuse treatment or that she has made such a request. In such cases where staff are unable to divulge the reason for the transfer, it may or may not be feasible for the substance abuse treatment provider to effect a transfer. In some cases, it may be a victim's judgment that a transfer of either party may in fact increase her danger. When a transfer is neither a desired nor viable option, the substance abuse treatment provider should investigate the feasibility of alternative measures to increase safety for the victim, such as limiting the abuser's access to the victim by scheduling appointments for each party at different times, alerting security staff of the situation, arranging for security escorts when appropriate, etc.
i.Substance abuse treatment providers should conduct initial, individual screenings for domestic violence before making referrals to or engaging couples or families in couples or family counseling, or mediation; and should conduct ongoing screening and assessment for domestic violence with couples or families who are engaged in these services.
Providers should be prepared to share information with a victim about the risks and limitations of utilizing services that require joint participation with her partner (see Guiding Principles, 1.i.). Providers should be aware that abusers often actively engage in efforts to sabotage their partners' recovery and, even more seriously, may jeopardize the physical safety of their partners. Further, providing an abuser with the opportunity to participate in "interventions" or sessions designed to give feedback to the victim on how her addiction negatively affected him or the family simply gives an abuser one more opportunity to blame the victim and rationalize his own conduct.
Consequently, an abuser should not be invited to participate in the victim's substance abuse treatment plan. Instead, victims should be allowed to identify other significant