Date Published: November 2015
Continuums of Care (CoCs) will find the victim service providers and state domestic and sexual violence coalitions in their communities to be excellent resources in developing a coordinated entry process that has protocols in place to ensure the safety of the individuals seeking assistance. CoCs should engage with these organizations as well as other experienced stakeholders and providers to determine the best options for victims fleeing domestic violence. Protocols to protect the safety of households seeking assistance should be in place for every phase of the coordinated entry process, including addressing safety concerns associated with the coordinated entry access point(s).
Communities may choose to use the same coordinated entry access point or points for all populations or may choose to establish a separate access point or points for households fleeing domestic violence. Similarly, the domestic violence access point(s) can be one or more physical location or virtual, such as a 211 line. Each scenario requires different protocols to ensure safety. For instance, if using a common access point that has a physical location, assessment staff should treat all persons presenting for assistance with strict confidentiality and privacy, conducting their assessments out of sight and ear shot of other persons at the physical location. If using a separate access point for households fleeing domestic violence, that access point should be a virtual or phone-based access point to protect the household’s physical safety. Communities should strongly consider using a local domestic violence hotline as an access point, even if other access points are available, to ensure the safety of households fleeing domestic violence. In all cases, whether a common access point or a separate access point is used to assess victims of domestic violence, data must be collected in accordance with the confidentiality requirements established in the CoC and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program interim rules (24 CFR 578.103(b) and 24 CFR 576.500(x)) and data collected by a victim service provider must be collected in accordance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which prohibits victim service providers from entering client-level data into HMIS.