Towards Thriving Cover

May 26, 2016

Idaho is once again in the national news for domination and violence. In rural Dietrich, Idaho, a young black high school football player with a developmental disability was brutally raped by white high school football players last fall. His family justifiably has filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit against the high school, for the culture of domination and violence, the culture of entitlement that is often aligned with athletics.

We have to undo the harm and violence created by our culture of entitlement and domination and violence. Entitlement that often is aligned with athletics, an intolerance and hatred that is perpetrated against marginalized communities – racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community. We have to foster a narrative of acceptance, cooperation, and interdependence – it is our humanity that is at stake.

Towards thriving,

Kelly Miller
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence

Mandatory Reporting

Last week at the HHS Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) State Coalition and State Administrator meeting, I was disheartened by the results of a survey of over 3,600 survivors on the impact of mandatory reporting on the help-seeking and well-being. “There’s No One I Can Trust” had disconcerting findings about the impact of reporting child abuse to CPS or law enforcement on individuals who are victims of domestic violence.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that mandated reporting directly and indirectly impacts many domestic violence survivors and help-seekers, and most often the impact is detrimental. For those with direct experience of mandated reports to CPS or law enforcement, 50% said the report made things much worse. In contrast, only 3% said it made things much better. This strongly suggests that mandated reports are not helping most families.

The qualitative responses highlighted many unintended consequences and hardships experienced by the very people that mandated reports aim to help:

  • He is more abusive but he just makes sure no one is listening to us, so they will not go and report us again.
  • I talk to no one, there’s no one I can trust, no one I can turn to and nowhere I can go.

Warnings of potential reports changed what most survivors were willing to share. Some said the warning kept them from seeking future help from support providers. Although the warnings may help to avoid triggering a mandated report, these data suggest that they make it harder for most survivors and help-seekers to receive the support they seek.

Finally, one-third of respondents said that they turned to fewer people for support for fear that they would be reported. This suggests that negative perceptions or experiences of mandatory reporting laws reduce opportunities to receive support for domestic violence, especially among youth.

While we do not know the solution, questions are emerging that can show us the way forward. What are the unintended harms of current mandatory reporting practices on children, youth and their families? Can we re-imagine community-based interventions to domestic violence and child abuse? What if we explored ways to bring community resources together to address the harm? What if we directly involved friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or community members? Is it possible to directly deal with the person or people doing harm? Who needs to be at the table to understand and respond to the harms of mandated reporting? How do we keep the entirety of the lived experience and the well-being for children and families at the center of these conversations?

What we do know is that communities will need to come together to create the changes needed and the solutions that create whole individuals, families, and communities.

Kelly Miller


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Idaho Chalk HeART

Last Saturday, over one hundred middle and high school students participated in the 2016 ChalkHeART live event with artists and poets from Boise to Moscow to Ashton to Fruitland. In 90 minutes, teams of teens illustrated poems published in the Our Gender Revolution writing challenge books. Check out the amazing art generated by Idaho youth!

2016 Our Gender Revolution LIVE Chalk HeART Submissions Slideshow

Our Gender Revolution Poetry Collection Booklets:

TEACH Our Children to Thrive!

Children of all ages need our support to thrive. They need physical safety and Mother/Caregiver and Childcomfort, a nutritious diet, plenty of sleep, physical activity, cultural and spiritual connections, opportunities to learn and explore, balanced with structure and routine. They need our genuine warmth and compassion, and healthy boundaries All children deserve respect. One way to show our respect is to help children explore their thoughts and feelings, and show them how to work toward solutions. These are skills that last a lifetime. Research tells us the following these TEACH Tips not only help foster supportive relationships with our children, they actually help children be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthier, perform to their highest abilities, and less likely to engage in harmful behaviors or suffer negative health consequences from being unhappy.

We all can TEACH! You don’t have to be a parent to TEACH. Family, friends, advocates, teachers, and friends all help children thrive.

Take time to relax and enjoy each other. Doing this teaches children they are lovable.

Empathize. When children know we understand life from their point of view, they learn compassion for themselves and others.

Acknowledge their feelings and needs. When we help children learn to understand and express their feelings and their needs, they have the best chances of growing up emotionally sturdy.

Connect by actively listening before sharing our own thoughts. When we fully listen with an open mind and heart, we teach them respect, and we tend to be more thoughtful and productive with our responses to them.

Help solve problems when we both are ready. Children build their skills and self-confidence the more they see that they can solve their problems and that we are there to help guide them. Focus on finding a solution at a time when both are ready and willing. Often we think we need to address an issue right away, but sometimes it helps us both to reflect and calm down before working on the solution. Sometimes children come up with the best solutions!

The TEACH tips also help us slow down, and remain supportive of children even when we have to make difficult decisions. Taking the time to empathize, acknowledge, and listen before attempting to “solve the problem” shows children how to solve problems without violence.

Melissa Ruth, LCPC, Program Manager

Radical Self-Care

Go Screen-Free - Be Impactful Go Screen-Free – Be Impactful

Do you ever notice people walking down the street without looking up and where they’re going? Staring at the various sized screens (phone, iPad, computer, TV) can literally shrink our perspective of the world to that sized screen (this is one reason texting while driving is such a bad idea).

To be most impactful, we want to practice being present in the moment and widening our perspective so we can see all the strategic possibilities available to us.

Today’s Challenge – Practice the physical experience of b-r-o-a-d-e-n-i-n-g your perspective and being present by not looking at a screen (when possible). How long can you go? If it is the weekend could you go a whole evening? A whole day? How did this practice change how you experienced today?

Training & Events

Transitional Housing Launch Webinar
May 31, 2016 at 1:00-1:45 PM MST
This webinar will provide important information for the Transitional Housing Assistance grant. It will be recorded for those who cannot attend live. It is an OVW requirement that programs must attend the webinar (live or recorded) prior to funds being released for transitional housing assistance. Register now!

Save the Date – Building Promising Futures: Guidelines and Outcome Measures for Enhancing Response of Domestic Violence Programs to Children & Youth Webinar
June 21st at 1:00 PT/2:00 MT
This webinar will discuss the guidelines and outcome measures that were developed in part through the Resilient Families Idaho initiative. Presented by Eleanor Lyon, PhD – Institute for Violence Prevention and Reduction and Melissa Ruth, LCPC – Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence