Values and Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

Our Guiding Principles serve as a compass both individually and organizationally. They are the application of our core beliefs that help to shape and direct our work. We approach all we do and every decision we make with the Guiding Principles in mind.

Survivor-Centric Focus

We are led by the voices of survivors, centering our work around their experiences and perspectives. We approach without judgment and act with respectful compassion, prioritizing the needs and requests of survivors individually and as a group.

The cornerstones of our survivor-centric approach are safety, trust and support. We believe it takes courage and strength to survive, seek help and heal from violence.  As an organization, we operate in a tender place between interrupting isolation and honoring boundaries. We seek to create safe, open and restorative spaces as sanctuaries for survivors.  We promote an understanding that acknowledges the numerous ways individuals experience and express trauma as adaptive and natural. In acknowledgment of the prevalence of violence against women and children, we apply our survivor-centric approach to all we do because we knowingly or unknowingly meet survivors every day.

Holistic Approach

We view each individual as inherently whole and healthy. We value the fullness of a personʼs being, believing the whole self encompasses the emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological aspect of health and well being. The entirety of an individualʼs experience and needs are interconnected and deserving of balance. A holistic approach is predicated upon the understanding that each individual defines his or her own healing path. Healing comes through a variety of modalities. We honor all paths to health and well being with equal value and respect.


We acknowledge the personal power of individuals and groups, seeing each as capable of exerting individual and collective agency. Our empowerment-based approach is about increasing the strength of an individual or group through providing access to and honoring their choices. We facilitate learning and create opportunities that allow individuals and communities to identify what is most helpful to them, overcome obstacles and be led by their own personal strength and abilities.

Cultural Awareness

We strive to intentionally develop insight and analyses about cultural differences among people, social groups and institutions. We challenge ourselves to learn about the differences between peoples that are often constructed by history and societal structures. We commit to acting respectfully on our evolving awareness but not leading, intruding upon or defining the experiences of those in other social or cultural groups.


We question the ways we have become accustomed to operating—continually striving to improve our organization and our movement. We endeavor to keep our activities and ideas current, ever aligned with the evolving needs of the individuals and communities we serve. We promote forward thinking and inventive, unique action in the work to end violence against women and children.  Our integrated approach increases our creativity and strengthens our impact. We set high expectations for each other and ourselves in order to honor those we are committed to serving. Through innovation and the testing of new ideas, we establish and promote standards of excellence in all that we do.

Evidence-Informed Approach

We commit to being guided by research and evaluation, adhering to and setting standards of excellence in our work. We actively integrate the best available research with survivor experiences, community input and professional expertise to guide all programs and operations. We infuse this approach with flexibility and responsiveness to community needs. We strive to continually refine our work through evaluating our efforts and sharing our results.


We work cooperatively in the effort to end violence against women and children. We honor the history and achievements of those who have come before us by supporting and affirming the work of existing organizations. We strive to create programs that are replicable and broadly applicable, openly sharing our knowledge and resources. We invest in non-duplicative activities, striving to be of service to the field of organizations, practitioners and survivors. We engage partners from both the public and private sectors with the conviction that addressing our issues is a shared responsibility.

Sustainable Practices

We implement and promote practices that cultivate individual, organizational and community well being. We believe in setting clear, reasonable expectations for ourselves and others, recognizing that this is necessary to do our work sustainably.

We commit to creating time for reflection, responsiveness and nurturing relationships. We seek to nourish our constituents, our communities and ourselves. We acknowledge the importance of asking for and/or offering help in order to continually strive for balance, excellence and flexibility.


We strive to create an environment that clearly defines our practices and fosters a free exchange of ideas.  We commit to open and clear communication that promotes sincere, honest interactions. We see providing and receiving feedback—both positive and constructive—as an invaluable practice. We share information in order to facilitate collaboration and accountability. We agree to actively work toward the timely resolution of any conflict, misunderstanding or misperception, or choose to let it go. We welcome different perspectives, believing that variety in our experiences, backgrounds, approaches and opinions enriches all of us and all we do.

Mindful Conduct

We strive to bring a sense of presence to our work that is rooted in self-awareness, reflection and balance. We challenge ourselves to act respectfully, thoughtfully and consciously. In our interactions with one another and those we serve we commit to engaging with curiosity and deep listening, practicing loving kindness and intentionality. We assume well about each other, focusing on the positive and putting our energies into constructive behavior.


We seek to continually expand our worldview by deepening our sense of gratitude. We recognize that being thankful is fundamental to health and well being. We therefore commit to practicing gratitude, striving to convey appreciation of ourselves, each other, our communities and those we serve. As we endeavor to not take things for granted, we embrace our work with wonder and optimism, knowing that this fosters gratitude.


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