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More about our core values.

1.    Survivor-Centered
The core of our services and prevention efforts center around the experiences of survivors of domestic violence.  The rights of confidentiality, self-determination, respect and dignity are upheld for all, with survivors as active partners in developing and implementing a survivor-centered plan of safety, care and action.

2.    Basic Needs Are Not Special Needs
If we see our existing services as core, supplementing them depending on special populations, the special elements always seem extra, like add-ons and are the first to go in lean times.   For a DV survivor who is in a wheelchair, a shelter that is wheelchair accessible is a basic need, not a special one.  Social and legal services that can let her know her rights and connect her with independent living resources are a necessity.

3.    Margin to Center  
Bell Hook's margin-to-center theory has been a primary part of AWS's approach to program development. A margin-to-center approach benefits the most people and the theory describes the benefits of letting the margins be the core and the focus.  

4.    Anti-Oppression Work Includes Clients, Staff & Community Members
We are mindful about how we interact with everyone.  Sometimes it can be easy for organizations to think of anti-oppression work only as it relates to clients, or to elements that are usually in the public eye.  But we can't meaningfully put anti-oppression values into practice with clients if we are not doing the same with each other as staff and community members.   

5.    On-Going Learning is a Ultimately a Time-Saver  
Experiential differences between the privileged and oppressed are complicated.  Communication between these groups can be painful and challenging.  Ongoing dialogue and learning about how power, privilege and oppression play out, helps to create channels of understanding and trust.  These channels act as communication lifelines when real-time incidents (i.e. the messy, painful, disappointing ones that can tear agencies apart) occur.

6.    Life-Long Work, So Celebrate Milestones  
As with domestic violence work, we cannot expect to end oppression in our lifetimes.  But in a single generation we can make major transformations in the individual lives of our clients and their families, in communities, media, laws and in cultural values.  "No end" does not equal "no successes."

7.    Have the Courage to Change and Evolve  
Change is hard; there is always some form of resistance within us and others.  But we have hope our clients can make major transformations for themselves and their families, and we have hope that our communities can embrace the values and practices of health and peace, rather than collusion and victim-blaming.  As individuals, as organizations and as a movement, we are stronger when we can assess our environment, identify needs for change and evolution, and move forward.  

8.    Be Good Allies
It takes commitment, forethought and action to be a good ally.  You must challenge power and oppression, and build bridges across the differences that they cause.   Your efforts can also span the differences between issue areas, organizations, and even communities.  A commitment to being good allies is built into our operating structure.  

9.    Share Globally, Act Locally  
An anti-oppression approach can help us to transcend turf and ego issues.  It can be our best contribution toward building a bigger movement to end domestic violence.