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Special Collection: Disaster and Emergency Preparedness and Response

Table of Contents:



 

Introduction | Back to top

Although the body of research on post-disaster violence is limited, the available information from recent experiences has demonstrated that gender violence is a critical issue facing communities affected by disasters. Concerns about injuries, infectious diseases and the provision of basic needs often take precedence over the surveillance of violence in the aftermath of a disaster (World Health Organization, 2005). However, the data that is available underscore that women, in particular, become especially vulnerable to sexual and domestic violence in the chaos and social breakdown that follows a disaster (Chew & Ramdas, 2005). For instance, the acute affordable housing shortage in the Gulf region following Katrina heightened women’s exposure to sexual violence -- many women and girls have had to “share accommodations with extended family members, acquaintances, or even in some cases, known former abusers, simply to have a place to call home” and “the resulting overcrowding has led to abuse specifically linked to the Katrina experience” (Jones-DeWeever, n.d., p. 2).

At the same time, disasters can also have a distinctly challenging impact on those individuals already traumatized by violence. Clearly, “natural and man-made disasters can greatly impact the health and well being of crime victims and the response they receive” (for example, the chaos that follows a disaster creates additional obstacles to survivors in reporting crimes, pursuing justice, and receiving support or assistance) (West, 2006, p. 6). In particular, survivors of violent crime can have a particularly hard time coping in the aftermath of a disaster because the shock, fear, anxiety, sudden loss of safety and the collapse of traditional support systems can trigger feelings and reactions from earlier traumas.

About This Collection

This collection highlights the disproportionate vulnerability of women and children to domestic and sexual violence in disaster and emergency situations, and organizes information to help increase the safety and well being of those at higher risk for violence (or re-traumatization) during and after a major disaster or crisis. Note that the terms “disaster” and “emergency” are being used broadly to refer to major traumatic events and crisis situations that are either natural (e.g., hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, etc.) or man-made (e.g., massacres, terrorist attacks, etc.).

Included in this collection are selected materials and resources -- many gender-informed -- that can be used by domestic and sexual violence organizations to increase their preparedness for and response to major disasters and emergencies. Also included is information developed for victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence who are concurrently coping with trauma and stress after a natural disaster or major crisis. Special attention has been given to the issues faced by children in these situations. Links to several films and documentaries are offered as a tribute to the victims and survivors of those events as well as tools that advocates and activists may use in their educational and awareness programming. A list of organizations working directly or indirectly with disaster and emergency preparedness and response is included, including international and national relief efforts aiming at responding primarily to the needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors in the aftermath of a disaster.

This special collection was developed by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence in consultation with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program Office of the Department of Health and Human Services.

A Final Note

It is important to note that despite the many challenges that women face in disaster situations, they have been -- everywhere -- playing crucial roles in the rebuilding of their communities. As Jones-DeWeever (n.d., p. 5) reports about the women of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast:

They have been on the ground, from the very beginning, doing everything from trudging through the post-Katrina sludge, lending their sweat to the rescue and clean-up efforts, to organizing family, friends, and neighbors to push through seemingly impossible odds to make sure their communities were saved, and not erased from existence. They have done their part. They now deserve, at the very least, to have their voices heard, their needs addressed, and to be assured that future disasters will not replicate many of the horrors that they have in fact endured. Through their voices, we hope to learn, take those lessons to heart, and then properly plan for those disasters yet to come.

Comments and content suggestions for this special collection are welcome via VAWnet’s Online Contact Form.

Impact | Back to top

This section features reports, papers and fact sheets discussing the intersections of gender, violence and disasters. The resources listed below draw attention to the serious impact of disasters on women and their children, highlighting the disproportionate vulnerability of these groups to domestic and sexual violence during major disasters and crisis situations.

  • Gender and Disaster Sourcebook | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Gender and Disaster Network (GDN)
    The Gender and Disaster Sourcebook is a one-stop, user-friendly electronic guide to information on gender and disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Caught in the Storm: The Impact of Natural Disasters | PDF PDF (8 p.)
    by Lin Chew & Kavita N. Ramdas, The Global Fund for Women (December 2005)
    This report explores the disproportionate vulnerability of women in disaster situations.
    + View Summary
  • Women in the Wake of the Storm: Examining the Post-Katrina Realities of the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast | PDF PDF (36 p.)
    by Avis A. Jones-DeWeever, Ph.D., Institute for Women's Policy Research (April 2008)
    This report offers information about the vulnerability women face during natural disasters and provides policy recommendations to address the needs of women in these situations.
    + View Summary
  • Hurricanes Katrina/Rita and Sexual Violence: Report on Database of Sexual Violence Prevalence and Incidence Related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by National Sexual Violence Resource Center (July 2006)
    This is a preliminary report from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center on the first six months of data collection on sexual violence committed in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
    + View Summary
  • Violence and Disasters | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by World Health Organization (WHO) (2005)
    This fact sheet reviews currently available data on violence and disasters.
    + View Summary
  • Natural Disasters: Power and Control Wheel | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV)
    Adapted from the Power and Control Wheel by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (Duluth, MN), this graphic depicts common tactics used by abusers to exert power and control over their partners in the aftermath of a disaster.
    + View Summary

Preparedness | Back to top

Included in this section are resources providing guidelines and recommendations intended to increase the ability of domestic and sexual violence organizations (see “For DV/SA Organizations”) and the individuals they serve (see “For Victims/Survivors”) to better prepare for a major emergency or disaster.

Local domestic and sexual assault programs are encouraged to contact their respective state’s coalition to inquire about existing sample policies and procedures for disaster and emergency preparedness. For a complete list of up-to-date contact information for all domestic and sexual violence coalitions across the United States and its Territories, click here: http://www.vawnet.org/links/state-coalitions.php.

For DV/SA Organizations
  • Making Disaster Risk Reduction Gender-Sensitive: Policy and Practical Guidelines | PDF PDF (163 p.)
    by the United Nations (2009)
    This publication offers policy and practical guidelines for implementing gender-sensitive risk reduction efforts.
    + View Summary
  • Gender-Informed Disaster Planning & Response | HTML HTML
    by the Asian & Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
    This page provides information and resources that demonstrate the gendered nature of disasters and provides recommendations for gender-informed disaster planning and response.
    + View Summary
  • Disaster-related Preparedness & Trauma Information Packet | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Julie Ann RiversCochran, Joy M. Kruppa, and Sharon Youngerman, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) (July 2006)
    This packet provides a variety of sample policies and procedures that programs can adapt to help address disaster preparedness.
    + View Summary
  • Victims of Violence in Times of Disaster or Emergency | PDF PDF (10 p.)
    by Helga West with contributions from Judy Benitez and survivors Bonnie Zampino and “Elaine”, National GAINS Center for Systemic Change for Justice-Involved Persons & SAMHSA (Updated July 2006)
    This paper highlights a number of emergency preparedness issues as they relate to violent crime and trauma and offers key recommendations to begin addressing gaps in victim services provision.
    + View Summary
  • Responding to Domestic Violence in Disaster: Guidelines for Women’s Services and Disaster Practitioners | DOC (26 p.)
    by Elaine Enarson (1997)
    TThis report summarizes the findings of a study investigating disaster impacts, preparedness and response in US and Canadian domestic violence programs. As a pilot study for future research, the survey provides baseline data and identifies emergent issues.
    + View Summary
  • Sexual Violence in Disasters: A planning guide for prevention and response | PDF PDF (69 p.)
    by Alisa Klein, Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA), & National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) (June 2008)
    This publication offers readers important information about sexual violence and disasters that will help communities to understand the connection and develop better disaster responses. Includes a 2-page fact sheet based on the material in the guide.
    + View Summary
  • Disaster Preparedness Plan | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV)
    This outline by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) provides guidance to local centers on disaster planning to ensure that domestic violence services continue statewide, uninterrupted, despite the occurrence of a disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    This online curriculum is designed to equip disaster and crisis volunteers and personnel with the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to diverse communities during all phases of disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Emergency Preparation and People with Disabilities | HTML HTML (3 p.)
    by The National Service Inclusion Project
    This page provides information on emergency preparedness as it relates to individuals with disabilities. Key areas discussed in the document are 1) preparation, 2) notification and evacuation, 3) sheltering and interim services, and 4) recovery.
    + View Summary
  • Making Shelters Safe for Transgender Evacuees | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Lambda Legal
    This document provides guidelines for making shelters safe for transgender evacuees.
    + View Summary
  • Disaster Preparedness Training for Tribal Leaders | PDF PDF (5 p.)
    by Wayne F. Peate and Jennie Mullins, Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, BioMed Central (2008)
    This document provides information related to public health emergency and bioterrorism preparedness and response training for tribal personnel.
    + View Summary
For Victims/Survivors
  • Emergency Preparedness and You | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    This webpage provides step-by-step guidance to the general public on how to take preparedness actions.
    + View Summary
  • Information for Pregnant Women - Fact Sheet | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    This page provides information to assist pregnant women to prepare for an emergency or disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) | PDF PDF (24 p.)
    by Operation HOPE, Inc. (June 2008)
    The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit is a simple tool to help Americans minimize the financial impact of a natural disaster or national emergency.
    + View Summary
  • Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs | PDF PDF (21 p.)
    by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross (August 2004)
    This booklet offers information to individuals with disabilities and other special needs on how to prepare a disaster emergency plan.
    + View Summary
  • Make a Disaster Plan for Your Pets | HTML HTML
    by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
    This page provides helpful information on how to keep pets safe in natural disasters or everyday emergencies.
    + View Summary

Response | Back to top

Included in this section are resources providing guidelines and recommendations intended to increase the ability of domestic and sexual violence organizations (see “For DV/SA Organizations”) and the individuals they serve (see “For Victims/Survivors”) to more effectively respond after a major disaster or emergency has stricken. Resources designed to address the needs of children are also included here (see “What About the Children?”).

Local domestic and sexual assault programs are encouraged to contact their respective state’s coalition to inquire about existing sample policies and procedures for disaster and emergency response. For a complete list of up-to-date contact information for all domestic and sexual violence coalitions across the United States and its Territories, click here: http://www.vawnet.org/links/state-coalitions.php.

For DV/SA Organizations
  • Gender Equality In Disasters: Six Principles for Engendered Relief and Reconstruction | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Gender and Disaster Network (GDN)
    This document highlights gender equality and risk reduction principles for guiding disaster response.
    + View Summary
  • Gender Considerations in Disaster Assessment | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by the World Health Organization, Department of Gender, Women and Health (January 2005)
    This fact sheet outlines women’s unique vulnerabilities in the wake of a disaster and offers principles of good practice.
    + View Summary
  • Hard-Won Lessons: Responding to Women's Interests and Needs in the Gulf Coast Oil Spill | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by Elaine Enarson, US Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance (GDRA) (2010)
    This two-page talking points document is intended to help guide oil spill response and recovery work.
    + View Summary
  • Sexual Violence in Disasters: A planning guide for prevention and response | PDF PDF (69 p.)
    by Alisa Klein, Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA), & National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) (June 2008)
    This publication offers readers important information about sexual violence and disasters that will help communities to understand the connection and develop better disaster responses. Includes a 2-page fact sheet based on the material in the guide.
    + View Summary
  • WHO Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Researching, Documenting and Monitoring Sexual Violence in Emergencies | PDF PDF (42 p.)
    by World Health Organization (July 2007)
    This document follows on a 2006 expert consultation on ethical, safety and methodological issues in researching, monitoring and documenting sexual violence in emergencies.
    + View Summary
  • Responding to Domestic Violence in Disaster: Guidelines for Women’s Services and Disaster Practitioners | DOC (26 p.)
    by Elaine Enarson (November 1997)
    This report summarizes the findings of a study investigating disaster impacts, preparedness and response in U.S. and Canadian domestic violence programs.
    + View Summary
  • Natural Disasters: Power and Control Wheel | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV)
    Adapted from the Power and Control Wheel by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project (Duluth, MN), this graphic depicts common tactics used by abusers to exert power and control over their partners in the aftermath of a disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Workers in Major Disasters | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Mental Health Information Center
    This manual offers mental health and public health professionals information on disaster preparedness and recovery to assist disaster survivors. Describes survivor reactions, at-risk populations, counseling, referrals, and stress prevention and management.
    + View Summary
  • SANE Checklist for Disaster Planning | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the International Association of Forensic Nurses
    This resource provides a checklist of materials, needs, and considerations for sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) responding to victims of disasters.
    + View Summary
  • Forensic Nursing in Disasters | PDF PDF (2 p.)
    by the International Association of Forensic Nurses
    This fact sheet provides important information for SANE’s on forensic nursing in disaster situations.
    + View Summary
  • Helping Families Deal With the Stress of Relocation After a Disaster | PDF PDF (9 p.)
    by Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) (November 2005)
    This handout provides information to help families deal with relocation stress after a disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    This online curriculum is designed to equip disaster and crisis volunteers and personnel with the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to diverse communities during all phases of disaster.
    + View Summary
  • A Guide to Managing Stress in Crisis Response Professions | PDF PDF (40 p.)
    by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S.Department of Health and Hum (2005)
    This guide provides basic information on the signs and symptoms of stress and offers practical strategies for stress management that can be incorporated into the daily routine of managers and workers.
    + View Summary
For Victims/Survivors
  • For the Women of Katrina and Other Disasters: Protection from Violence Against Women and Children | HTML HTML (1 p.) PDF PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Women’s Justice Center (September 2005)
    This one-pager provides tips for women on how to protect themselves and their children as well as on how to support each other and bring forward women’s concerns and needs following a natural disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Katrina Crime Victim Resources | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Witness Justice
    This page provides links to information on reporting crimes and accessing victim services in areas affected by Katrina, finding loved ones and tracking evacuees, and mental health resources by state (Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas).
    + View Summary
  • Gulf Oil Spill 2010: Protecting Yourself After a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2010)
    This page offers some tips for families and communities concerned about coming in contact with dirty water, oil, or sludge after a hurricane or tropical storm.
    + View Summary
  • After the Storm - Tips for Adult Healthy Relationships | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    This one-pager provides several tips to help ease stress and maintain healthy relationships with those around you.
    + View Summary
  • After the Storm - Tips for Adults | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    This one-pager provides several tips for adults coping with stress after a disaster.
    + View Summary
What About the Children?
  • After a Disaster: Helping Young Children Heal | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Alicia F. Lieberman & Patricia Van Horn, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Zero to Three (2005)
    This handout describes the impact of disasters on babies, young children, toddlers, and preschoolers, offering many useful tips for helping to promote healing and resiliency.
    + View Summary
  • Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do | PDF PDF (20 p.)
    by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (Revised 2006)
    This booklet provides steps parents can take to help children cope with trauma after violence and disasters.
    + View Summary
  • Tips for Talking to Children After a Disaster: A Guide for Parents and Teachers | PDF PDF (3 p.)
    by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) (September 2005)
    This document provides recommendations for parents and teachers on how to talk to children dealing with trauma after a disaster.
    + View Summary
  • Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Violence in Disaster & Emergency Situations: A Guide for Local and Community-based Organizations | PDF PDF (120 p.)
    by Stephanie Delaney for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) (March 2006)
    This resource discusses protecting the rights of children and adolescents during disaster situations as vital to securing human rights globally.
    + View Summary
  • Gulf Oil Spill 2010: Information for Parents | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (July 2010)
    This document provides answers to frequently asked questions as well as State and Federal links geared towards parents. Information also available in Spanish.
    + View Summary
  • After the Storm - Tips for Parents of Children | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) This one-pager provides information on healthy coping strategies to help parents regain a sense of control after a natural disaster.
    + View Summary
  • After the Storm - Tips for Parents of Youth | PDF PDF (1 p.)
    by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    This one-pager offers tips for parents of youth dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.
    + View Summary
  • International Adoption and Haiti: After the Earthquake | HTML HTML (1 p.)
    by InterAction (January 2010)
    The media attention in Haiti has also brought increased awareness to the plight of children who have become unaccompanied or orphaned as a result of the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.
    + View Summary

Documenting Our Experiences: What We Have Learned From Past Disasters | Back to top

The following is a list of titles and brief descriptions, organized by year, of a sampling of films and documentaries about several recent disasters and major tragedies. These works are highlighted here as a reminder of the devastation caused by these events, the lessons to be learned from them, and as a tribute to the victims and survivors affected by them. These works are also offered as tools and resources for advocates and activists to use in their public education and awareness efforts on behalf of victims and survivors. Note that this listing is not comprehensive or exhaustive and the enclosed materials are not available for download or for sale through VAWnet but are offered as references only. Inclusion on this collection does not constitute an endorsement by VAWnet/NRCDV.

2010

If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise (2010) by Spike Lee
Spike Lee’s second four-hour documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this film premiered August 23rd on HBO. View this documentary’s trailer and synopsis on the HBO website.

Byron | Rosina | Danny | Tom Robbins | Earthea | Gina (2010) by Christiana Cooper-Kuhn and Devon Riter
Two students in Montana State University’s graduate Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, have produced several short clips documenting the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Byron from Devon Riter on Vimeo.

2008

Crescent House Battered Women Services Program: A New Approach Responding to Battered Women's Needs in the Midst of a Catastrophe (2008) by the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community
“Responding to battered women's needs in the midst of a catastrophe In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Few people could understand the devastation to individuals, families, community networks, property and the culture of New Orleans. There were many social ills and challenges that were either created or exacerbated due to the storm; and domestic violence was among them. In this story about Crescent House, a domestic violence program for Battered Women, we learn how to respond to the needs of battered women in the midst of a natural disaster. What we learn is that Crescent House workers were victims of the storm as well as the battered women that they served. We also learned that being a victim of the storm heightened Crescent House staffs' sensitivity and responsiveness to the needs of battered women and how they defined help. This video provides an example for domestic violence service providers of how to think outside the box regarding service provision; and outlines lessons learned from working in the context of a natural disaster that are transferable to other communities that are experiencing challenges.”

2006

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006) by Spike Lee
Spike Lee’s Emmy and Peabody-winning 2006 film documents New Orleans’s devastation following hurricane Katrina. Find additional information about this documentary on the HBO website.

2002

Bowling for Columbine (2002) by Michael Moore
This documentary by filmmaker and political humorist Michael Moore focuses on the Columbine High School massacre of 1999, in which two senior students embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and one teacher and leaving dozens of other students injured. Find additional information about this film on Michael Moore’s website.

Organizations/Campaigns | Back to top

This list features information about international and national organizations working directly or indirectly with issues related to disaster and emergency preparedness and response. This list is provided as a starting point and is not comprehensive or exhaustive. Information about other relevant organizations as well as additional resources and materials can be found through the websites listed below.

Gender and Disaster Network (GDN)
The Gender and Disaster Network is an educational project initiated by women and men interested in gender relations in disaster contexts. GDN aims to utilize the Internet and other forms of new media in support of a global network of researchers and practitioners with the broad goals of: 1) documenting and analyzing women's and men's experiences before, during, and after disaster, situating gender relations in broad political, economic, historical, and cultural context; 2) working across disciplinary and organizational boundaries in support of collaborative research and applied projects; 3) fostering information sharing and resource building among network members; 4) building and sustaining an active international community of scholars and activists.

US Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance (GDRA)
GDRA is a “virtual network committed to transparency, an inclusive approach valuing difference, shared leadership, and a social justice approach to disaster reduction. [Their] primary areas of activity are knowledge exchange, community organizing, and concrete practical steps by, with and for grassroots women to address underlying causes of disaster risk and enable community-driven and women-led approaches to disaster management.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
“CDC′s Mission is to collaborate to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.”
Under its “Emergency Preparedness and Response” section, the CDC website provides information and resources intended to increase the nation's ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies: http://emergency.cdc.gov.

American Public Health Association (APHA)
“The American Public Health Association is the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world and has been working to improve public health since 1872. The Association aims to protect all Americans, their families and their communities from preventable, serious health threats and strives to assure community-based health promotion and disease prevention activities and preventive health services are universally accessible in the United States.”
One of APHA’s programs is the Get Ready Campaign, which helps Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards, including pandemic flu, infectious disease, natural disasters and other emergencies: http://www.getreadyforflu.org

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
“The National Institute of Mental Health conducts and supports research not only on a wide range of mental health disorders, but also on reactions to national crises and traumatic events. This research includes the reactions of people following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack; the Oklahoma City bombing; wars and violence in the Middle East; and disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, fires, floods, and hurricanes, including the current Gulf Coast oil spill.” The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. They provide information about mental health via a toll-free telephone number (800-789-2647), the web site, and more than 600 publications.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
“FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.” Since 2003, FEMA has become part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

American Red Cross
“Since its founding in 1881 by visionary leader Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has been the nation's premier emergency response organization. As part of a worldwide movement that offers neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war, the American Red Cross distinguishes itself by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters. Over the years, the organization has expanded its services, always with the aim of preventing and relieving suffering.”

Relief Efforts | Back to top

This section features international and national relief efforts initiatives aiming at responding primarily to the needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors in the aftermath of a disaster. This list is offered as a starting point and not comprehensive or exhaustive. There are numerous national and international organizations and initiatives currently supporting disaster relief efforts in the U.S. and abroad. VAWnet provides this brief listing as a source of information that readers can evaluate on their own terms for their own needs, and inclusion on this collection does not constitute an endorsement by the NRCDV.

Say NO – UNiTE: End Violence against Women
“In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, UNIFEM is working to raise 7 million USD to provide urgently needed services for the protection of women and their families. In particular, UNIFEM seeks to rebuild women’s shelters and expand the provision of emergency services for women.  We are counting on each and every one of you to help us prevent violence against women and girls in disaster-stricken Haiti. Won’t you help?”

V-Day Haiti Rescue Fund
"V-Day is initiating a Haiti Rescue Fund immediately to be ready with funds for the V-Day Haiti Sorority Safe House in Port Au Prince, that provides shelter to women survivors of violence and their children, as well as psychological, legal and medical support. We urge you to support this effort, we cannot forget the women and girls of Haiti who already suffer some of the worst poverty in the world and the most violent conditions for women."

Hurricane Katrina Healing Fund
“Witness Justice has created a special Hurricane Katrina Healing Fund to assist the many crime victims and their loved ones who are turning to us for help in the aftermath of Katrina. Please donate to this fund today and help Witness Justice provide trauma support to those who are disconnected from their homes, jobs, and lives, as well as to those experienced violent crime in the aftermath. For many, Hurricane Katrina has caused severe trauma and at a time when ‘normal’ or familiar resources and counseling are not available because entire communities have been devastated. You can rest assured that your donation will help survivors—more than 95 percent of all donations to Witness Justice go directly into programs and services.”

The Relief Fund for Sexual Assault Victims
The Relief Fund for Sexual Assault Victims has been established to collect donations that will aid affected sexual assault victims and advocacy programs. The Fund is designed to: 1) Support the needs of sexual assault survivors; 2) Support the needs of sexual assault advocacy program staff; 3) Assist with expanded direct service capacity needs; 4) Assist with prevention initiatives to protect those displaced by disasters from sexual violence; and 5) Support relocation/rebuilding efforts for damaged sexual assault advocacy programs.

Supporting the Women of Haiti
This mini collection offers information about the impact of natural disasters on women and their children and provides a listing of organizations/initiatives that are supporting relief efforts in Haiti, especially those focused on delivering aid to women and responding to those at higher risk for sexual and/or domestic violence.