OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Reaching Young Men of Color Exposed to Violence
Mitru Ciarlante, Dr. John Rich  -  2013/2/28
What kinds of violence are most young men of color being exposed to?
1.  MCiarlante
 Sources include: U.S. Department of Justice, “Criminal Victimization in the United States—Statistical Tables, 2005,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006), Tables 3, 4, 9, 10; and Katrina Baum, “Juvenile Victimization and Offending, 1993-2003,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2005), 1; and Dexter R. Voisin, “The Effects of Family and Community Violence Exposure among Youth: Recommendations for Practice and Policy,” Journal of Social Work Education, 43, no. 1 (Winter 2007).
2.  MCiarlante
 Evidence suggests that Black youth ages 12 to 19 are victims of violent crime at significantly higher rates than their white peers. Black youth are three times more likely to be victims of reported child abuse or neglect, three times more likely to be victims of robbery, and five times more likely to be victims of homicide. In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death among African American youth ages 15 to 24.
3.  John Rich
 However, we know that young people who live in communities where there are lots of guns, may witness violence on a daily basis. We know that witnessing violence in this way causes stress and can often result in posttraumatic stress disorder. In addition, being bullied, treated with disregard by teachers in the classroom, police on the streets or doctors in the clinic can cause stress in other ways. These forms of structural violence are significant sources of stress as well.
4.  John Rich
 Many young people who live in the inner city are exposed to direct violence in the form of shooting, stabbings and assaults. While the rates of homicide for young black men are almost 19 times higher than for white young men, many more young people are exposed to nonfatal violence in the form of shootings, stabbings and assaults. Even despite these high rates though, most young men of color do not suffer shootings, stabbings or severe assaults.
Do you have strategies for community-based programs to integrate youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system into (or back into) their programs (for example, young adult literacy programs, sports programs).
1.  Terene Bennett
 So as people concerned and working with this population we must consistently consider the impact of institutional racism on this segment of society and be ready to ask questions and seek answers from those making decisions.
2.  MCiarlante
 Terene, BJS reports that Black children and youth are three times more likely (than caucasian youth) to be victims of reported child abuse or neglect, and there is a lot we don't know about this statistic. Is the incidence of abuse higher or is it that Black families are more likely to be reported to CPS or have those reports result in a case opening? We know that there is disproportionate minority contact in child protective services and juvenile justice systems and we have to examine the effects of institutionalized racism in understanding the context.
3.  Terene Bennett
 We've brought up the juvenile justice system, child welfare system, the economic system and the educational system as players and possibilities for positive change. What part does institutional racism play in this scenario?
4.  John Rich
 From a trauma informed perspective, I believe it is important to acknowledge that being in the juvenile justice system is often traumatizing in itself for young people. They have been separated from friends and family. They may have experienced violence while detained. Acknowledging this trauma does not mean that we are undermining the need for them to take responsibility for their actions but rather that we are opening a place for them to heal. Activities that help the young person to feel restored to caring community may be very important. Activities that help to minimize the shame that they may feel may also help to reduce their trauma.
5.  Terene Bennett
 Speaking of young men in the child welfare system, to your knowledge are they disproportionately represented when we speak of those men of color exposed to violence?
6.  MCiarlante
 It’s also important to reach out to youth on the front end, working in partnership with other providers, schools, and advocates to identify youth at risk, status offenders, and/or youth who’ve been caught breaking the law for the first time and offer them positive youth development and community engagement opportunities.
7.  MCiarlante
 This question speaks to the links between youth exposure to violence and youth involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Some youth-serving organizations have MOUs with juvenile justice facilities to promote youth participation in community programs and also with intervention and treatment programs that provide aftercare to youth upon return to the community. In some arrangements, mobile therapists may accompany transitioning youth to programs to help them with resocialization and adjustment.
8.  John Rich
 This issue of stress for young men of color is important to keep on our radar screen because we know from recent research that anyone who is exposed to physical, emotional abuse or neglect or sexual victimization as a child is at risk for behavioral, emotional and physical problems when they become adults. A critical study that showed this is the ACE Study. You can read more about the ACE Study here - http://acestudy.org, and http://acestoohigh.com.
What strategies exist for involving parents, community leaders, schools and youth in tackling violence? How can we engage individuals of notoriety (sports figures and entertainers) to join the efforts to end violence against young men of color in their communities?
1.  John Rich
 I appreciate the fact that your question pairs literacy programs with sports programs because involvement in physical activity whether through sports, yoga or dance, can help relieve stress for young people, as long as the adults supervising them are taking care not to retraumatized them. A caring adult who is paying particular attention to a young person – a mentor – can also help to guide them back into full community.
2.  MCiarlante
 I have also worked with MEE Productions; MEE has developed a culturally relevant Community Wellness Toolkit that leverages the inherent resilience of low-income urban youth exposed to trauma, addresses stigma and provides solutions-oriented activities that can be immediately implemented in a variety of community, youth or school settings. (http://www.meeproductions.com/mentalwellness/index.php)
3.  MCiarlante
 For instance, in the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Teen Action Partnership, supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the COPS Office (Community Oriented Policing), young people around the nation partnered with police, youth development professionals, and other community members to identify areas of concern related to crimes against youth and carry out their own community change projects. (Teen Action Toolkit at www.victimsofcrime.org/youth)
4.  MCiarlante
 There are many effective community engagement models and the common denominator is collaborating on priorities that are relevant to the people involved. Sometimes a current community event can provide the motivation or call to action to gather communities, other times it can be effective for the appeal for engagement to come from the young people.
Young boys and male adolescents who have their biological fathers in their lives do much, much better than those who do not. The same is true for girls What are your proposals for engaging fathers in the lives of their sons and daughters, including changes to the legal infrastructure that governs separated families.
1.  John Rich
 Another effective model is the Child Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI). This model is a 4 to 7 session intervention for children with traumatic stress, brings them together with their parent or guardian to address shared issues. You can find information about CFTSI here - http://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/CFTSI_General_Information_Fact_Sheet.pdf
2.  John Rich
 We know that trauma is intergenerational and that it often runs in families. Because of this, approaches that seek to heal both the traumatic wounds of the parent and the child can be effective in engaging them. Dr. Sandra Bloom has developed through her Sanctuary Model, groups that bring together young people and/or their parents to address the key issues of Safety, Emotional management, Loss and Future – or SELF. You can learn more about Sanctuary here - http://www.sanctuaryweb.com/index.php
3.  MCiarlante
 Another community-based initiative started a monthly spaghetti dinner to bring youth and parents together with mentors to help facilitate 'family dinner night' and rebuild relationships among families who had been separated. These are grassroots solutions started at the community level without a lot of formality that have been successful in meeting people in their own communities.
4.  MCiarlante
 A promising model comes from the William Kellibrew Foundation (http://williamkellibrewfoundation.roundtablelive.org/). Community-based facilitated Men’s Circles and Women’s Circles bring together multiple generations in a safe and respectful circle discussion to provide mentoring for youth who may be lacking the guidance of older adults and for modeling and relationship-building for youth who attend with parents and other adult relatives and caregivers. It is a grassroots community-centered solution that could be replicated in many communities.
Are there any programs available that are designed to reach this population and if so what are some of the positive outcomes?
What resources or strategies would you recommend for those interested in helping communities and individuals confront the role that gender or perceptions of masculinity play in the violence experienced and perpetrated by young males.
1.  MCiarlante
 Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is a peer leadership gender violence prevention program for potential perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. Adult staff train male youth peer educators to facilitate peer education workshops. It has been conducted at the middle, high school, and higher education levels. It can be delivered as a one-time workshop or as a multiple session curriculum. MVP has been effective with racially diverse student populations. MVP is highly interactive in engaging students. (From Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society, Boston, MA. Jacksonkatz.com. See also Cissner, Amanda B. (2009). Evaluating the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program: Preventing Gender Violence on a College Campus. U.S. Department of Education.)
2.  John Rich
 This is a critical issue. One innovative approach comes from the Brown Boi Project whose leadership retreats bring youth and adults together to confront these issues in a safe and supportive environment - http://www.brownboiproject.org/brown_boi_project.html.
3.  MCiarlante
 Expect Respect: SafeTeens is a multiple-session, curriculum-based dating and sexual violence prevention program (including harassment and sexual harassment) conducted as mixed gender sessions for racially/ethnically diverse students in middle and high school settings. Its primary goals are to change social norms about dating relationships in the school, community, and peer group; create a positive and respectful school environment; develop teen leadership; provide support for at-risk students; teach skills for healthy relationships; and provide culturally relevant programming. (By SafePlace, Austin Texas, available at safeplace.org/document.doc?id=53.)
4.  MCiarlante
 The WKF Circles intentionally focus on talking about violence against women, what it means to be a ‘real man’ or ‘real woman’ in today’s society and provides mentoring for multiple generations to explore these values with support for living a violence-free life. (http://williamkellibrewfoundation.roundtablelive.org/).
How do you challenge young men's view about the difference between reporting/getting help and "snitching"?
1.  John Rich
 So our job as caring adults is to help them develop a robust safety plan as a first step toward helping them cooperate with other caring adults or the police. Then we need to demand that law enforcement and the courts take the safety of these young men seriously. Programs that seek to build trust between caring and trustworthy police officers and urban youth have potential here. http://copsandkidsphl.blogspot.com/p/project-deliverables-goals.html
2.  John Rich
 I believe we first have to challenge ourselves around the issue of safety. If young people feel safe - socially, physically and morally safe - I believe that they will be more likely to seek help. Unfortunately, young people who choose to participate in legal proceedings against their assailants may well be threatened. If their experience with the police has been negative and especially if they have been targeted in so called “Stop and Frisk” type approaches, then from their perspective it is illogical to trust that same system to protect them.
As a child advocate with an MPH degree, how can I be effective in addressing this issue in my community?
1.  John Rich
 I would suggest that advocating for a public health approach to violence where we understand that trauma and adversity are at the roots of violence and chronic disease is an important role for people with public health training. A key function of public health is assessment, and with that comes the opportunity to push for programs that have been evaluated and shown to be effective (such as parent training, social problem solving) rather than those that are unevaluated or have shown to do harm (such as Scared Straight.)
are there any recommended best practices or resources for working with young black men who are exposed to domestic violence and is there any particular curriculum/service models for young black men who were witnesses of/or victims of domestic violence and then become offenders?
How can we address the issue of young men of color resorting to violent video games and especially lyrics in music that have violent content as a way of escaping their current violent situations at home, school, or in their social circles?
1.  MCiarlante
 MEE's work on Mental Wellness is based on participatory community research and I think we can find a lot of great information and strategies for helping urban youth cope with the effect of violence here: http://www.meeproductions.com/mentalwellness/index.php
2.  MCiarlante
 I think there is more to your question, including how do youth exposed to chronic violence cope with that and build resilience while resisting violence...
3.  MCiarlante
 Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity is an educational video and accompanying study guide developed by Jackson Katz (jacksonkatz.com). The high school video is 57 minutes long and the college version is 82 minutes long. Goals include increasing awareness of media’s influence in perpetuating the cultural norm of masculinity and violence, and providing participants with critical thinking tools to understand how media works. This program helps students make connections between mass media, masculinity, and violence against women.
4.  MCiarlante
 You may want to use Byron Hurt’s “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” video and resource guide http://www.bhurt.com/
5.  MCiarlante
 Again, I point to youth engagement and mentoring approaches for increasing media literacy, exploring values and identity,, and getting support for making mindful choices about how to cope and live in a society where violence is normalized.
A roll model is important for young men, especially young men with no father figure, the roll models today seem to be morally sub par to of previous generations; from celebrities to neighbors. Are there any tools which one can use to gain trust and make up for that lack of positive direction?
Are there any programs for youth who have been victims/perpetrators and been involved in the legal system?
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