WAG 02-09-05-a

new textA victim of domestic or sexual violence, or stalking may qualify for a Family Violence Exclusion to exempt them from participating in Countable activities (See PM 03-13-02-e). Unless a Family Violence Exclusion is pending or approved, consider the person to be Work-Eligible as long as no other criteria to be considered Exempt are met (See PM 03-13-02).

Sexual violence differs from domestic violence in that the assault or intimidation is not necessarily perpetrated by a member of the victim's household, and the perpetrator may or may not be known to the victim. For example, a person sexually assaulted by a stranger is a victim of sexual violence.

Stalking is a form of domestic or sexual violence. Stalking includes placing another person under surveillance and threatening immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint and the threat is directed toward that person or a family member of that person. Stalking includes cyberstalking, which includes harassment of another person through electronic communications. Communications may be via telephone, mobile phone, computer, e-mail, video recorder, fax machine, telex, pager, radio, or any other means of electronic communications.

Screening

Disclosure of domestic or sexual violence, or stalking is complex and often risky for the victim. A victim of violence often finds it difficult to reveal that they are in a violent situation. This may be due to shame, embarrassment, or fear of the abuser or perpetrator. Screening is an important step that helps a person reveal domestic or sexual violence, or stalking.

Tell the person that:

  • they do not have to answer the screening questions, but if they do, any information they give is kept confidential; and
  • any information they give is only used to determine eligibility for special services and relief from program requirements.

Screen for a Family Violence problem:

  • during the initial Assessment;
  • during the Intensive Case Review;
  • when a customer requests a SWAP from Medical to TANF;
  • before making a referral for child support services or paternity establishment; and
  • whenever staff suspect a person may have a domestic or sexual violence, or stalking problem.

Domestic/Sexual Violence Service Program 

Refer the person to a Domestic/Sexual Violence program when the need for such services is identified. Include the referral in the RSP.

When someone enters a Domestic/Sexual Violence program on their own, approve them for this activity.

An applicant or customer must sign the Consent for Disclosure statement on the back of the referral form to allow the provider to respond regarding their need for services.

Work with a service provider to determine the best plan for the family. Include Countable activities which do not interfere with services.

A person does not have to accept or follow through with the referral. There can be many reasons why the person does not want to accept or follow through with the referral. Do not deny benefits or sanction the person if they do not accept or follow through with the referral. Explain the full expectation of meeting the case Participation Target.

Related policy:

Waive TANF program requirements when compliance would make it more difficult for an applicant or customer to escape the violence, unfairly penalize them, or subject them to further risk of the violence.

Authorize TANF benefits as presumed eligible if the person claims they are unable to provide verifications due to past or present violence. (See PM 17-02-01-b)

For good cause claim for not cooperating with Child Support Services, see PM 24-02-04.

Suggested activities:

  • Countable activities (including those which a provider of Family Violence services may engage the person in) (PM 21-01-00);
  • Domestic/Sexual Violence Services (PM 21-04-03); 
  • Other Support activities which apply to situation (PM 21-04-00).