Wednesday, 11 May 2016 19:00

Trauma Informed Mentoring: What is it? Featured

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BCN awarded grant to improve mentor-training program

By, Juliana Larsen 


When people ask what we do here at BCN, we tell them we provide trauma informed mentoring to trafficked and at-risk youth. But what does that mean? How is trauma informed mentoring important to the children in our program? 

Our mentor training program is a vital part of what we do at BCN which is why we’re excited to have been awarded a grant from Mentor Colorado to help us improve our training program.

            Trauma informed services are generally based on a framework of understanding, recognizing, and responding appropriately to the effects of trauma. At BCN, this translates into providing specific training for our mentors before they are paired with their mentee.

            Our mentors are educated about the effects of sexual, physical, and emotional trauma on children, and how they can behave to reduce the risk of re-traumatizing a child. Children who have experienced major trauma, like those in our program, often have negative expectations from adults. By equipping our mentors with tools to help them understand and empathize with these children’s experiences, we are helping to build new, positive associations about adults.

Through this grant, we will receive guidance to help us take our program to the next level and become nationally accredited. More importantly, these funds will improve our capacity to help trafficked and at risk youth.

Thursday, 19 November 2015 21:09

Can Apps Help to Prevent Rape?

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According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll recently published, one in five women who attended college during the past four years say they were sexually assaulted. The White House has declared sex crimes to be an "epidemic" on college campuses. Sure, there are those lit-up call buttons all over campus, but no one uses them and is everyone really able to get to one in an unsafe situation? What college students DO use, is their smartphones.

Stemming from the 2011 "Apps Against Abuse" challenge, there are now several apps available across the country. One of the winners, Circle of 6, works by letting a student download the app and pick six trusted friends to join a "circle". Then, if in an unsafe situation, they can send a pre-written text to those friends with just two clicks. 

For example, sending the message, "Come and get me. I need help getting home safely." will automatically include the sender's GPS location. It also allows the students to not only access their personal contacts, but allows access to national hotlines and emergency numbers as well.

The best part of this app, is that it was created by sexual assault survivors.

Other apps include, Here For You, LiveSafe and OnWatch.

Not all of these tools are apps only. A new site called Callisto, is an online reporting system who's goal is to make the reporting more empowering for survivors. Through Callisto, students can fill out a timestamped record of the incident and then choose between three different options.

First, they can send it directly to their campus Title IX coordinator, who is in charge of student investigations. Second, the student can save it and decide whether to file it later. Finally, and most notably, the student can put the report into “matching,” which will only file the report if someone else reports an assault by the same perpetrator.

This last option may help with the underreporting issue. Callisto is being piloted at Pomona College and the University of San Francisco this year, with plans to expand it further if it’s successful.

While these tools are not a silver bullet of any kind, they do provide students with a tangible tool they previously lacked.

Monday, 17 August 2015 18:42

HERO Act of 2015

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The HERO Act or Human Exploitation Rescue Operative is a bill that amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish a Child Exploitation Investigations Unit that operates through the Cyber Crimes Center. It will provide investigative assistance, training, and equipment to support domestic and international investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of cyber-related crimes.

Specifically, the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit will: 

  • coordinate all ICE child exploitation initiatives, including investigations into child exploitation, child pornography, child victim identification, traveling child sex offenders, and forced child labor, including trafficking of minors;
  • focus on child exploitation prevention, investigative capacity building, enforcement operations, and training for law enforcement personnel;
  • provide training and technical expertise to cooperating law enforcement agencies and personnel;
  • provide psychological support and counseling services for ICE personnel engaged in child exploitation prevention initiatives;
  • collaborate with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Association to Protect Children to recruit, train, equip, and hire wounded, veterans and transitioning service members through the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative (HERO) Child Rescue Corps program;
  • collaborate with other governmental and nongovernmental entities for the sponsorship of, and participation in, outreach and training activities; and
  • collect and maintain data on the total number of suspects identified by ICE, the number of arrests and cases opened for investigation by ICE, and the number of cases resulting in prosecution and report on such data.

This bill is important because it is enables wounded warriors and law enforcement to stop crimes victimizing children. This programs puts veterans to work as investigators, aiding law enforcement in combating child trafficking, by giving them forensic training and other skills. Each HERO Corps class undergoes an 11-week intensive training course, followed by a 10-month, unpaid law enforcement internship at a Homeland Security Investigations field office.The 2015 class is in training now and the program plans to put 200 HEROs into U.S. law enforcement by 2018.

We can't think of anyone better to help combat modern-day slavery, than our very own veterans.

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