Little has been studied about the ways that advocates of intimate partner violence (IPV) use their personal advocacy experience and cultural knowledge in their advocacy work, particularly in the case of Indigenous IPV advocates who work with Indigenous survivors. The purpose of this study is to share the lived experiences of advocates to identify successful ways they work with Indigenous clients experiencing IPV and how they promote resiliency.
Data were derived from qualitative interviews with 15 Indigenous women who are advocates1 who work with Indigenous women experiencing IPV. The participants were asked to provide suggestions or recommendations to other advocates working with Indigenous women who have experienced IPV to promote resiliency. Advocates were recruited through tribal social service organizations using a purposive sampling technique. Data were analyzed through a naturalistic inquiry approach informed by empowerment-based principle.
The participants shared their personal advocacy experiences of working with Indigenous women as a way to help others be better advocates for Indigenous IPV survivors. Their experiences offered two broad themes, shared experience and humility, which fall into subthemes: shared historical experience, honoring spirituality and religion, balance, and vulnerability.
As a result of the experiences of the participant-advocates, recommendations for advocates to use trauma-informed practices, particularly acknowledging historical trauma, and to use culturally prepared approaches. Practitioners and educational programs can adopt these practices to foster resiliency with Indigenous women experiencing IPV.