Menu Close


Ground rules for peer support groups

Effective Facilitator Guidelines

  • Beginning and ending on time
  • Keeping focus on set agenda with flexibility for diversions as needed
  • Setting ground rules
  • Recognizing diversity of backgrounds, experiences and communication styles
  • Bringing all voices, both vocal and quiet, into the conversation
  • Listening and being in tune with yourself – your energy and connection to the participants and the content
  • Listening to individual participants – what you hear and observe
  • Listening to the group – what is explicit and what is subtle
  • Creating safe space for participants to express themselves candidly
  • Promoting notion of pushing the envelope and going beyond comfort zone
  • Focusing on illuminating similar and/or diverse viewpoints
  • Maintaining sense of the bigger picture
  • Discussing relevant next steps & next agenda

Peer support framework guidelines

  • Before determining the model best suited for your needs, determine who will be invited to participate.
  • Given the nature of victim advocacy work and the requirements of NCA Standards for Accreditation, identify all those providing victim advocacy services in your jurisdiction to CAC clients
  • Include identified victim service providers from diverse agencies to ensure coordinated, comprehensive services including, but not limited to, those employed by:
    • CACs
    • Community-based agencies(e.g.,domestic violence, sexual assault/rape crisis)
    • Police departments
    • Hospitals
    • Prosecutor’s offices

Gather input from invited participants to inform the type of model(s) that best suits the group, such as:

    • Formal or informal
    • Local and/or statewide
    • Frequency and duration
      • consider feasibility relative to in-person vs. virtual, including required travel and costs
      • in-person may allow for longer meeting time
    • in-person and/or virtual
      • determine if one or the other or both
      • if in-person, determine location or rotation of locations to ensure access and privacy; consider scheduling to coincide with FI peer review for cost-effectiveness
      • if virtual, determine the platform that will ensure access and maximize participation

Thoughtful collaborative planning and agreed upon protocols and ground rules will help achieve positive outcomes. Consider the following:

  • Discuss and establish commitment to overall purpose and goals
  • Build trusting relationships within the group
  • Develop a process for identifying, recruiting, and training peer facilitators
  • Develop agreements that include:
    • a statement of purpose and intended outcomes for participants 
    • expectations, rights, and responsibilities of participants, including such issues as attendance and how participants join and end their involvement in the group
    • how group is facilitated
    • confidentiality – within the group and with individual participants’ supervisors
    • how feedback is solicited from participants to assess satisfaction with the process and achievement of stated goals
    • how compliance with protocols is supported
  • Create, share and secure agreement with ground rules