Department of Family Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Michael A. Becketts

Top 5 Reasons to Work with the Fairfax County Domestic and Sexual Violence Services Division

(Posted 2022 November)

A group of people with stacked handsDomestic and Sexual Violence Services works with communities to transform society’s response to domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking, and stalking by challenging oppression, collaborating to inform policy, and providing everybody impacted by violence with equitable access to trauma-informed support, advocacy, education, and a space for healing.

Interpersonal violence is a serious, preventable health problem affecting more than 30 million Americans every year. There is substantial unmet demand for services because of staffing shortages and resource constraints. Like many human services industries across the country, domestic and sexual violence programs are also suffering from what has been dubbed as "the great resignation.” Agencies continuously face challenges of recruiting, training, and retaining professionals skilled in working with people impacted by interpersonal violence. Attracting and retaining professionals to careers that require emotional investment and compassionate care can be difficult, particularly after the long hard winter called covid-19. In addition, the perceptions people hold about government jobs as being too bureaucratic or not very rewarding haven’t done the field any favors in enticing staff.

Within the Fairfax County Department of Family Services, vacancy rates for staff in DSVS have been hovering around 10%, with some positions having gone unfilled for six months or more. These vacancies create a strain on staff and make it difficult to serve clients as effectively as we’d like. We also know creating meaningful opportunities for self-care is key to effective service delivery. So, it can be challenging to balance the needs of staff with the overwhelming needs of the community.

Those challenges aside, people who work in this field typically have a commitment to helping create safe homes and safer communities. They do the work because they want to be a part of the journey victims and survivors of interpersonal violence take to find safety and heal. They want those who cause harm to be held accountable for their actions and to learn new behaviors that no longer jeopardize the safety and well-being of others. People doing this work find it meaningful and rewarding. Below are the top 5 reasons to work with us in Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.

1. Driven by Meaningful Work

hands embracingThere is nothing quite so impactful as knowing you have contributed to the health and safety of families. DSVS staff provide training and education, help victims and survivors find shelter, or help them to be safer in their own home. We go with clients to court, helping them understand the court process. We provide counseling to adult and child survivors and to those who cause harm. We meet assault victims at the hospital to help them through a forensic exam. We work with other organizations and government agencies to make systems better, and we make policy recommendations that can improve the lives of those we serve. Mostly, we take the lead of the survivor and help in ways meaningful to them. We walk alongside each survivor without judgment or authority, and we lend expertise and resources as needed. There is great reward in seeing the direct impact of your work on the lives you touch.

DSVS is also implementing its five-year strategic plan to focus our work on impact rather than activities. We are engaging differently with our community partners and incorporating community input into our services. We are dedicated to equity and social justice, and we are analyzing the root causes of interpersonal violence and attacking harmful societal norms.

Check out these videos to learn more about the impact of the work we do in Domestic and Sexual Violence Services. Warning: These videos contain graphic images of gender-based violence, which may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

2. Work Alongside Dedicated Committed Staff

woman sitting at table with coffeeDSVS have a team of dedicated professionals who care about each other and the work. It is more than a place to work; it is a community. Our workforce is committed to supporting one another and lifting each other up. The empathy and encouragement staff experience in the division is unparalleled.

Recently, DFS installed new DFS CARES rooms in each agency building as spaces for staff to retreat, rest, and regroup for a short while when needed. Staff is encouraged to use the paths around the campus to engage with nature for a break to reset themselves. Having these spaces to revitalize makes all the difference when secondary trauma is a consistent factor in the daily work. Wellness workshops and other offerings encourage life-long choices that promote a holistic approach to physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial well-being.

3. Be a Part of the Changing Landscape of How We Address Interpersonal Violence

woman sitting at table watching speakerIn Fairfax we are taking into consideration the diverse experiences of survivors and are acutely aware that a “one size fits all” approach to survivor safety does not work and hampers our ability to reduce and end interpersonal violence. We are taking creative approaches, such as co-locating our services in communities and neighborhoods, establishing accountability for those who cause harm, and stepping up prevention in high schools and on college campuses. DSVS has focused, data-informed strategies that allow us to be innovative and fresh with how we deliver services and support survivors. This is an opportunity to contribute to new ways of serving our communities and addressing interpersonal violence at all levels.

4. Prioritize Professional Growth

woman smiling while shaking a handThe Department of Family Services is greatly committed to the professional development of staff. The Human Resources Professional Development and Training Team includes dedicated staff and in-house clinical training offerings in support of the clinical licensure requirements and overall professional development of staff seeking to increase their clinical practice capabilities. Supervisors within the department have access to additional training to support them in their learning as leaders, including access to the renowned Franklin Covey leadership content. DSVS provides training opportunities and time for staff to attend workshops and conferences. In addition, Fairfax County offers an entire suite of continuous learning opportunities, several networking groups, and tuition assistance.

5. Achieve Work Life Balance

four rocks stacked DFS is a great place to achieve a balance between work and home life. Whether you are single with an active life, juggling family commitments, or a caregiver for an older adult, our policies and practices allow for alternatives to the standard workweek. Compressed work schedules, flexible schedules, and hybrid telework schedules can be a relief for many employees. Being able to use the flexibility to accommodate demands in your personal life is a benefit for everyone. In addition, the county is generous with leave for vacations, sick and personal days, holidays, and other options. We offer health care and retirement benefits, including a pension plan and optional deferred compensation plan. Learn more about county benefits.

In summary, we need employees who are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of families here in our community. If you think you have the dedication and compassion, apply today or share this information with others you know.

This posting is part of the Department of Family Services' Community Corner where you’ll find timely information about upcoming events, parenting and wellness tips, programs and services, and more! Share these helpful posts with your friends and family. Don't miss out on future postings! Sign up today!

For media inquiries, contact Department of Family Services' Public Information Officer Amy Carlini by email, office phone 703-324-7758 or mobile phone 571-355-6672.

Back to top

Fairfax Virtual Assistant