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Tips for Youth, Adults
and Communities

Tips for Youth
Tips for Adults
Tips for Communities

Tips for Youth Helping a Friend

Recognize the Signs of Abuse: Domestic violence, sexual assault, and abuse take many forms. You may notice that your friend's partner is very controlling, constantly jealous, or insulting. Or you may see that your friend has become withdrawn, isolated, fearful, or depressed. Learn more about the signs of abuse at www.safeyouth.org/scripts/teens/dating.asp

Remember: Domestic violence and sexual assault are very complex and risky. Everyone - young or old - needs lots of help from experienced adults in order to get free of the violence.

Tell Your Friend You're Worried About Their Safety: Talk with your friend in a calm, safe place where they won't be embarrassed by others. Don't be judgmental. Listen carefully. Tell your friend there's no way the violence and abuse is their fault. Tell your friend you want to help them find help.

Gather Information for Your friend: Make phone calls for your friend. Get information at www.justicewomen.com and from the many other dating violence links we have listed here.

Brainstorm with Your Friend About Who Can Help: Make a list with your friend of adults who are smart, caring, and experienced. Consider parents, counselors, clergy, teachers, neighbors, police, and advocates. Remember: Rape and domestic violence hotlines are a good place to start because they are completely confidential.

Offer to Go with Your Friend to Get Connected to Help!
Taking the first step to get help is always the hardest step. Offering to accompany your friend can ease the path to help.

Tips for Adults for Helping a Young Person

Read the Tips for Youth on the Above: Learn the warning signs of abuse. Inform yourself of the complexities and dangers. Tell the suspected victim you are worried about their safety, and why. Tell them it's not their fault. Gather information and resource lists to pass on to the youth. Then....

Remember: Domestic violence and sexual assault are too complex and dangerous for young people to handle on their own. They're going to need experienced, caring, adult help. At the same time, many young people may feel too embarrassed to even reveal the severity of their situation, let alone be willing to accept your help. So very calmly....

Start by telling the young person why you suspect they're being abused. Then tell them why you can't look the other way. Tell them you are available at any time to help. Suggest a full range of options and other sources of help. Remind them of their dreams. Remind them of their worth. If at first you don't succeed, try again at well chosen times.

If all this fails, carefully choose another significant adult in the young person's life and ask them to try. If the youth does accept your help, accompany her, or help her find others to accompany her, throughout the process of getting help from officials, advocates, and courts.

Carefully watchdog the responses from officials, especially from criminal justice officials. These officials are key to providing the protection and justice the victim needs. Use the resources on our web site at www.justicewomen.com for evaluating system responses. Speak up immediately if she's not getting the help she needs.

Tips for Communities

Educate Youth: Make domestic violence and sexual assault part of all youth education forums - in schools, homes, clinics, churches, and youth groups. This education should start early, should be ongoing, and should be based on accurate, up-to-date information. Remember: It's especially important in all education on violence against women to counteract the victim blaming that emerges in discussions - so victims aren't made more afraid to seek help, and perpetrators aren't encouraged.

Monitor Your Local Criminal Justice System's Responses to Rape, Domestic Violence, and Child Abuse. Create independent citizen review of local police and prosecutors, and of the written and unwritten policies that guide them. Create independent panels where people can bring complaints. Make response to violence against women an issue in all electoral campaigns and hiring of public officials. (www.nacole.org)

Encourage Young Women to Consider a Career in Law Enforcement. Track and publicize the percentage of females in your police departments. Hire, Recruit, and Promote Females in Policing. Fully integrating women into law enforcement is essential for effective, consistent police response to violence against women, and essential for bringing about the many other proven benefits of women in policing. Learn those benefits!
(See http://www.womenandpolicing.org/ )

Promote the Equality of Women and Girls Everywhere, - Especially in the Home! Stereotypes justifying the subordination of women also serve to justify violence against women. Actively promoting female equality counteracts these stereotypes, and fosters mutually respectful relationships.

Feel free to photocopy and distribute this information as long as you keep the credit and text intact.
Copyright © Marie De Santis,
Women's Justice Center,


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