API Chaya Programs
Domestic Violence Program
Serving survivors with culturally specific systems advocacy, individual counseling, support groups, safety planning, and case management. Advocates helped over 1000 callers access referrals and resources such as counseling, housing and legal information through our 24-hour helpline. Staff and volunteers actively participated in numerous community cultural events, radio, newspaper and television interviews, and government and service provider trainings, reaching over 2000 people. Hundreds of adults and youth were engaged through our Queer Network Program, Men’s Anti-Violence Program, and the Youth & Young Adult Program, supporting young people in 4 local high schools in building healthy relationships and communities. Each year, we hold our Annual Vigil with 150 attendees commemorating victims and survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence and/or exploitation.
Human Trafficking Program
API Chaya has been serving victims of human trafficking for seventeen years. We provide direct services to survivors including immediate access to food and stable housing, mental and physical health treatment, advocacy and legal assistance, interpretation services, and education and job readiness; community organizing; and educating communities. In 2000, we helped pass the first statewide anti-trafficking law in the nation and in 2011, we supported and served as witnesses for new legislation increasing access to housing for trafficking survivors. API Chaya is a member of WARN (Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network) and WashACT (Washington Advisory Committee on Trafficking).
Sexual Assault Support
Since March 2011, we have successfully run two support groups for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. Usually, the groups are specific to participants who speak one language or are from one region of the world. This year, we opened the group up to anyone who was interested and there were some wonderful results. Women from different parts of the world, who spoke different languages, and immigrated in different generations, come together weekly to share their common experiences and offer each other support.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
While trained advocates play a key role in survivor support, API Chaya’s Natural Helper Model is nationally known and allows for clients to receive additional support through the assistance of a trained bilingual/bicultural Natural Helper. Many clients welcome this option for added emotional and general support, in coming out about an issue that they feel cannot be expressed to immediate family members/friends, but are de-stigmatized by the support of the community. All Natural Helpers must undergo rigorous trainings on domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, as well as community resources and “how to help a friend” and additionally serve as community ambassadors.
Queer Network Project
The Queer Network Program (QNP) exists to increase visibility among Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, Transgender, Queer/Questioning and Intersex (GBLTQI) APIs, and create positive community spaces. The Queer Network Project has also used arts and literature to address same sex violence in the publication of “A Breath of Fresh Air” (a collection of essays by community members on interpersonal violence) and organizing a series of 3 sold-out plays and discussion groups by the Queer People of Color Liberation Project (an organizing effort of the Safety Center).
One Current Need
One of our current needs is not having adequate funding to host weekly gatherings for survivors: limited childcare for participants, not being able to provide transportation and/or parking reimbursement or food for groups. Direct financial support to fund these things and/or in-kind donations of food, bus vouchers, or childcare services would allow survivors to gather, have various educational sessions, and create community with each other.