by Louie Marven of the LGBT Center of Central PA
LGBTQ youth encounter a number of barriers in accessing safe spaces. While LGBTQ youth experiences remain vastly under-researched, there are some valuable resources that shed light on school climate for LGBTQ students in middle and high schools and colleges. This research demonstrates, among other findings, that LGBTQ students experience bullying and harassment at alarming rates, especially compared to their non-LGBTQ peers.
A topic that is sometimes lost in the conversation around LGBTQ youth access to safe spaces is the topic of healthy dating relationships. This February, for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, consider how you can ensure that this topic gets the attention it deserves.
by Shaina Goodman of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
For many victims of domestic violence, access to health care is a critical component of their healing and recovery. The health consequences of domestic violence are serious, and can include chronic pain, arthritis, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, and more (Kendall-Tackett et al, 2003; Breiding, Black, & Ryan, 2008). Women with a history of intimate partner violence also utilize health care services more often and have higher health care costs than women without such a history (Ulrich et al, 2003).
Despite a recent significant drop in the number of uninsured, 32 million Americans still lack health insurance. This is troubling because insurance coverage not only improves health outcomes, but can help strengthen both social well-being and economic security. Helping people in need gain access to health coverage can sometimes be the difference between life and death. A recent study following one state’s health care reform efforts in the last decade shows that near universal health coverage leads to a drop in mortality rates.
For these reasons, advocates can play an important role in helping domestic violence survivors understand their options for affordable health coverage. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (sometimes referred to as Obamacare) provides avenues for those that were previously uninsured or underinsured to get the coverage they need – but there is still some confusion and anxiety about what the law means and how to access the options that might be available. We hope this guidance provides clarity for advocates and for the survivors with whom you work.
by Ali Mailen Perrotto of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center
We often hear from advocates in the field who are struggling to bring their messages of healthy sexuality to pockets of their communities that are very conservative, very religious, or both. We know that increasing individual knowledge about sex and sexuality is a key piece of the sexual violence prevention puzzle, so it’s important to find ways to engage all members of your community.
While many spiritual communities have long grappled with issues of responding to sexual violence, we all know that making that next move toward primary prevention can be a leap of faith. An entire issue of Connections magazine was dedicated to this topic a few years back. Contributors found that partnering with faith communities was an important part of their prevention work, and a worthwhile experience for those involved.
If you’re trying to figure out where to begin, you’re not alone. Read more…
by Elizabeth Flood for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Nearly one in five young people in the United States runaway from homes before the time they reach the 18 years of age (Urban Institute, 2010). In fact, approximately 1.6 million youths are identified as runaway or homeless (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004).
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) broadly defines homeless youth as individuals under the age of 18 lacking the opportunity to live in a safe environment with their family and who have no other safe alternative, long-term living arrangement; however, a majority of U.S. jurisdictions do not have specific definitions for the runaway and homeless youth population (National Network for Youth, 2012). The lack of classification and consistency in definitions and terminology between states presents challenges for interstate collaboration and the development of targeted interventions and services. The report, Alone Without a Home (National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty & National Network for Youth, September 2012), reviews the laws related to runaway and homeless youth in each U.S. State and territory. Read more…
Human trafficking is defined by the United Nations as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons through use of force, coercion, deception or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. In the United States, the number of trafficked victims is largely unknown, but we do know that every day more vulnerable people are trafficked into the sex trade and labor industry. In 2013, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline received multiple reports of human trafficking cases in all 50 states and D.C.
The “ALL Are Welcome Here” poster was created by the Pennsylvania Cross-Systems Advocacy Coalition, supported by Grant No. 2007-FW-AX-K009, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S Department of Justice. Free copies (in both English and Spanish) are available to the public free of charge upon request through the NRCDV at: nrcdvTA@nrcdv.org.
Just like prevention, achieving equity and inclusivity for people who are traditionally on the margins of our culture is a multi-step process. Taking action to make our spaces welcoming to people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ) requires work at many organizational levels.