Agencies Working to Complete Training of 6,500 Local Social Services Employees by End of November
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence today announced that hundreds of workers at local social services departments throughout the state will be trained on gender-based violence awareness during October, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Gender-based violence is harm, or threats to harm, committed against a person(s) based on actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or other such sex/gender related characteristics.
“There is an undeniable link between economic hardship and domestic violence and prioritizing the safety of individuals seeking assistance from our programs is paramount in helping them to stabilize and begin to rebuild their lives,” said Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Acting Commissioner Barbara C. Guinn. “This training will enable workers to recognize individuals who may have experienced gender-based violence and connect them with the supports they need. We are grateful for our partnership with OPDV to provide this vital training to local departments of social services throughout Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
“Gender-based violence doesn’t happen in a silo – any person, in any situation, can be impacted by it,” said Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Executive Director Kelli Owens. “That is why it is so critical that we work together across systems to be survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive in order to best support those who have experienced domestic violence. OPDV is excited to partner with OTDA to train social services departments across New York State every day during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.”
Earlier this year, OPDV worked with OTDA to develop the new curriculum to train workers at local departments of social services. Federal legislation signed in 2022 directed states to ensure that current and potential beneficiaries of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are notified of state assistance made available to victims of sexual harassment and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The TANF program in New York is overseen by OTDA and administered by the local departments of social services. The staff will be trained in:
- The nature and dynamics of sexual harassment and domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
- State standards and procedures relating to the prevention of sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, as well as an assistance for individuals who are victims of such acts; and
- Methods of ascertaining and ensuring the confidentiality of personal information and documentation related to applicants for assistance and their children who have indicated experiencing sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
OTDA notified the local agencies in May of the new training requirement with a deadline of November 30, for more than 6,500 workers to complete the training. OTDA and OPDV are offering the training every workday during October, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to help meet that goal.