Cultural awareness is an ongoing process that requires building relationships and partnerships with different communities, learning from others, and having ongoing discussions with your staff, the people with whom you work, and the community in which you work.
If you are a Community Sexual Assault Program (CSAP) that undergoes the Washington State accreditation process, having a cultural competency plan is required by one of the OCVA Accreditation Standards (AC1). In order to be in compliance with the standard, your organization must have a cultural competency plan with specific objectives and be documenting your progress.
In AC1, cultural competency is defined as "the ability of the organization to recognize and respect diverse cultural factors, and the effects of these factors on various communities' need for and access to its services."
If your program is not a CSAP, you may still wish to develop a cultural competency plan to ensure the cultural sensitivity of your program.
As a New Director.....
We know that the existence of sexual assault is a symptom of sexism and tool of sexist oppression. Sexual violence is a method used to maintain power, privilege, and access inequities. It is imperative the work we do is accessible, relevant, and culturally informed because those in our community who lack power, a voice, and access to our resources are at great risk of experiencing violence and oppression.
Sharing with your staff, volunteers, board of directors, and community about why cultural awareness and competency is a core value in our work will help form your organization as a safe place for many diverse communities. You will need to actively and intentionally work on developing cultural competency and continually address barriers to your services. The more this becomes woven into the fabric of your organizational culture, the more accessible your services will be.
If your program serves a culturally specific population, connecting with a nearby Community Sexual Assault Program (CSAP) may benefit both of you. If your program is a CSAP, developing alliances with culturally specific programs in your community will enhance your ability to serve a diverse group of survivors.
WCSAP has a collection of resources specific to various communities. Please contact us if you would like any more specific information on strategies for outreach, intervention, and prevention work with communities in your area.