Towards Thriving Cover

June 1, 2017

Earlier this month, Senator Mike Crapo was the lead signature on two essential letters to Congress advocating for life-saving funding under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the designation of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to fund core programs as well as a funding stream for tribal programs. We encourage you to send a letter of appreciation for Senator Crapo’s leadership and to share a story on how these funds are essential to your community. Here’s the list of addresses for Senator Crapo’s office. Senator Risch did not sign on either letter.

We also wanted to let you know that national organizations as well as state coalitions are advocating with our Congressional delegation on a complicated budget and Appropriations matter. Each Administration’s annual proposed budget includes 10 year spending projections. The Administration’s FY18 budget includes projections that show a significant reduction in VAWA funds over the next 10 years. While funding for the next year is not significantly impacted, the concerns are that the Administration is proposing “flexible ways” to fund VAWA. One “flexible” source is transferring funds from VOCA to VAWA. Administration officials did not rule out other “sources” but did not provide any other indication about the possible sources. You may have seen this article on the topic.

Across the country advocacy organizations have long opposed and will continue to oppose VOCA transfers to VAWA and other DOJ programs. The Administration’s FY18 budget does indeed propose a number of VOCA transfers – $445 million to VAWA and $165 million to other DOJ programs. Though the Administration proposes that $3 billion to be released from VOCA, the transfers and other increased management and administrative spending would reduce the amount available for State Victim Assistance Grants. National advocacy organizations will continue to advocate for clarity from the Administration and for both Congress and the Administration to stop relying on VOCA to pay for VAWA.

Remember that the President’s budget is a proposal and that Congress makes the funding decisions. We will continue to work with Senator Crapo and other members of Congress to ensure that annual VAWA funding is maintained or increased, and that Congress ends the practice of relying on VOCA funds to pay for VAWA. Fortunately, there is broad support across the country for funding to prevent and respond to violence against girls and women. Most importantly, we have the unwavering support from Senator Crapo for which we are deeply grateful.

All the best,
 

Kelly

Prison Rape Elimination Act

The Idaho Coalition is currently working in partnership with the Idaho Department of Corrections and Just Detention International on the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Just Detention International (JDI) is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end all forms of sexual abuse in detention.

An essential component of the PREA standards calls for a confidential means of support for individuals who experience sexual assault while incarcerated. JDI received an Office of Victims of Crime Act to partner with the Idaho Coalition and the Idaho Department of Corrections to pilot a confidential support hotline for individuals. The hotline will be based in the JDI office where staff has numerous years of experience as rape crisis counselors as well as experience responding to individuals who experience sexual assault while in detention. The hotline will be free for inmates and calls to the hotline will not be recorded like calls from detention facilities usually are. The hotline will provide support both to individuals who experience sexual violence while in detention but also as a support for individuals who have experience past sexual trauma in their lifetime.

Last week, JDI and the Idaho Coalition visited the four Idaho Department of Corrections pilot sites: North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood, Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center in Pocatello, Idaho Correctional Institution in Orofino and South Idaho Correctional Institution in South Boise. The purpose of these site visits was two-fold: to conduct discussion groups with staff and inmates regarding PREA and to promote the upcoming release of the hotline as well as to view the facilities to determine the best places to provide access to a confidential hotline.

The discussion groups were extremely enlightening. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority of inmates had experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime. Many expressed a longing to access confidential advocacy and support while they were serving their sentence. While many inmates access individual counseling and groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, there are no current sexual assault support groups in these facilities. Part of the goals of this project will be to access the options for providing this advocacy and support, preferably through community and tribal sexual violence programs.

We are looking forward to this continued collaboration on the project and will be reaching out to those of you near the pilot sites to begin to determine the capacity to provide support to individuals who experience sexual assault in detention. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Jennifer Landhuis.

Teaching Children Choice and Respect

Mother holding child's handHave you ever noticed how we expect children to behave and respect authority, but then we also expect them to stand up for themselves, and hope they can say no, or shout from a mountaintop if need be, to protect themselves? There are often even different expectations based on gender, for example phrases such as “act like a lady”. For some parents, this is even trickier – because the color of their children’s skin or their cultural background might put their children more at risk of being harmed, due to oppression. This is real stuff, and it’s really tough to navigate. Sharing ideas can help us find ways to promote respect and keep our children safe, as well as set them up to know how to manage difficult situations throughout life, including consent.

When we tell children they must hug or kiss someone, we don’t give them choice about their own body or personal space. Instead, we can model choice for them. We can make it ok to say no, teaching them consent from an early age. Do they really have to hug that person or kiss goodnight? Perhaps a simple goodnight can be an option.

When we tell children not to argue and to always do what they’re told, we are trying to teaching respect. But we can also make it hard for them to speak up or say no when someone in authority is wrong or abusive. What can we do? Teach them how to disagree or say no respectfully. Listen to them when they share their thoughts or complaints, even if you still need them to follow directions. Is there a way to offer choices in the situation?

When sex education is hush-hush or taboo, it is even harder to disclose sexual abuse, or sexual assault, because the secrecy has been learned, and there aren’t the words to describe it. Increasing our knowledge and comfort talking about sex in a developmentally appropriate way can increase their comfort as well. It can reduce shame and secrecy, and make a huge difference for them if they do need to talk. There are guiding resources available for parents.

Have we ever done something we didn’t want to do, purely out of fear or guilt? Often this is learned behavior from childhood, when we felt we had no choice but to do what we were told to do. Children can learn to make healthy choices by practicing making choices. This also helps them learn how to respect others’ choices too. Giving children more control over their body and choices does not have to mean we spoil them. Listening to them and acknowledging their feelings doesn’t spoil them either. Here are some examples:

  • Would you like carrots, corn, or beans with dinner?
  • Are you going to feed the dog before or after dinner? How will you make sure you remember to do this?
  • Would you like to set the table, or help with dishes?
  • Wow I hear that you definitely don’t want to go to the grocery store with me, and I understand that you’re mad! It’s no fun for me either and I want to stay home too! I would worry too much about you though so what do you say we growl our mad feelings out (grrrrrrr!) and work to get done at the store so we can be back home?
  • It’s always ok to ask questions, even though I get impatient sometimes. I’ll try to do better!
  • Even though as the parent I will make the final decision, I’d like to know what you think about _________.
  • There are some things I need you to do because you are an important part of the family, and we are a team (provide examples). But other things no one in this world should ever try to make you do – and you can always talk to me, no matter what (provide examples, such as keeping secrets, etc.).
  • Do you have any ideas how we can solve this? Young people often have great solutions and creative ideas. And sometimes they are more invested in the outcome when it’s their idea!

It can be hard to remember that we want our little girl or boy to use their voice and feel empowered when they are in the middle of a tantrum, we just want it to stop! When we keep in mind they are trying to find their power and express themselves, and that is a very important life skill – we can move on to helping them do it in a way that is healthy and helpful.

Families! New Sources for Respite Care in Regions 2, 3 and 4

The Idaho Department of Health & Welfare has two new respite care provider resources.

They now have a contract for professional one-on-one respite and group respite with About Balance in Boise (208-342-6300), and with Central Idaho Counseling located in McCall (208-634-2962).

Central Idaho Counseling also has offices in other rural communities in Regions 2, 3 and 4 and can take respite referrals at any of those locations. Call 208-634-2962 for locations and details.

Families do not need to go through Children’s Mental Health with Idaho Department of Health & Welfare for this service. Families can go directly to About Balance and Central Idaho Counseling.

Training & Events

The Mask You Live InThe Mask You Live In
Thursday, June 15th
6:00 – 8:30 PM MST
Farnsworth Room, Student Union Building | Boise State University
1700 University Driver Boise, ID 83725

The film follows the stories of boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Click here to view the film trailer.

Snacks and beverages will be provided at no cost. Feel free to bring in outside food or drink. Discussion to follow the film. For accommodations, please call 208-426-4249

Webinar: Economic Empowerment with Survivors
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
1:00 – 2:30 PM MT | 12:00 – 1:30 PM PT

Economic stability for survivors in transitional housing is imperative in order to achieve self-sufficiency and successfully move on to permanent housing. This webinar will focus on how advocates can begin to talk to survivors about their economic and financial situation in a trauma-informed way, and will give advocates useful tools to use with survivors.

Register now

Idaho Coalition Store Materials

Reminder that shipping for all material orders made by Programs on the Idaho Coalition website store is FREE of cost, please use the below coupon for all orders.

Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order. For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn.

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