By Lisa Sohn
Program Director, Health, Futures Without Violence
For almost two decades, Futures Without Violence has operated the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence, supporting health care professionals, domestic violence experts, survivors, and policymakers at all levels as they improve health care's response to domestic violence. The center is funded by a grant from the Family Violence Prevention & Services Program, Family & Youth Services Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is a member of the Domestic Violence Resource Network.
FUTURES developed several resources for practitioners and advocates of adolescent health. Materials are free for download as well as available in hard-copy for free, with a shipping fee of $10. Hanging Out or Hooking Up is a suite of resources aimed at educating teens on healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. A poster, safety card, Clinical Guidelines on Responding to Adolescent Relationship Abuse and related Train the Trainer curriculum are all available in hard copy and electronic download here.
The Hanging Out or Hooking Up poster was designed for display in a range of health sites serving adolescents including school-based health centers, school nurses offices, teen clinics and pediatricians offices. The poster identifies aspects of both healthy and unhealthy relationships, encourages talking to a health care provider if the reader or someone they know has questions or is experiencing abuse. The bottom of the poster refers patients to several resources for further support.
Hanging Out or Hooking Up also has a safety card for teens. The card challenges all teens to consider how their boyfriend/girlfriend treats them, identifying dynamics of healthy relationships and signs that may indicate abuse. The card explores how to confront excessive text messaging and identifies dynamics of consensual versus pressured sex including the ability to use birth control. Tips are provided to those wanting to support a friend who may be facing relationship abuse.
The card is written in gender-neutral terms and may be used by females, or males in either heterosexual or LGTBQ relationships. The card lists national toll-free hotlines for support specific to dating abuse, suicide prevention, teen runaway, rape, incest and abuse. This eight-panel card folds up to the size of a business card and is available in English and Spanish.
Hanging Out or Hooking Up: Clinical Guidelines on Responding to Adolescent Relationship Abuse – An Integrated Approach to Prevention and Intervention are guidelines focused on the transformative role of the adolescent health care provider in preventing, identifying and addressing adolescent relationship abuse (ARA). Health care providers can help by providing prevention messages about healthy relationships and helping those exposed to abuse.
An accompanying Train the Trainer curriculum provides training, tools, and resources to help health providers address the complex and sometimes uncomfortable issue of relationship quality with adolescents. These tools were designed to facilitate safety assessment and supported referrals to domestic violence programs.
Who's Got Your Back? Is a safety card designed for college-aged women and men. The card details the high prevalence of sexual assaults on campus, defines consent and offers strategies about how to increase personal safety and prevent sexual assault. Information is included on what to do following an assault, emergency contraception, how to support friends, and tips for male allies. A QR code is provided for the safety app "Circle of 6," and referrals are given for the National Sexual Assault Hotline and Planned Parenthood for further support. Clinical guidelines for using the safety card in campus health centers are coming soon.
Healthy Moms Happy Babies Curriculum includes data driven conversations that address staff barriers to discussing domestic violence with clients. These topics include personal exposure and/or vicarious exposure to violence, fear of child welfare reporting and lastly staff seeing DV screening forms as a data collection function rather than a tool to support conversations about safety and healthy relationships safety planning and referral. This curriculum comes with a Healthy Moms, Happy Babies poster and Healthy Moms, Happy Babies safety cards that serve as a prompt for home visitors by providing quick phrases to improve discussions with women about the impact of domestic violence on their parenting and children.
Addressing Intimate Partner Violence, Reproductive and Sexual Coercion: A Guide for Obstetric, Gynecologic and Reproductive Health Care Settings focuses on the transformative role of the reproductive health care provider in identifying and addressing intimate partner violence (IPV) and reproductive coercion. The Guide offers a discussion on the magnitude of IPV and reproductive coercion; overview of the health impact; guidelines for implementing routine assessment and intervention; policy implications and system responses; and provides validated assessment tools. The Guide specifically examines how IPV and reproductive coercion impact contraceptive use and birth control sabotage; condom use; unintended pregnancy; and the role of pregnancy coercion, including exposure to STIs. The latest data in each of these areas is explored, in addition to identifying tools to help launch health care responses.
To learn more about Futures Without Violence, visit their website at www.FuturesWithoutViolence.org. What questions or needs do you have addressing healthy relationships in adolescence? Please share them with us! E-mail Andria Cornell, senior program manager for women's health, at email@example.com.