Creating a “Culture of Safety” at RHY and DV/SA Agencies
The Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership placed a particular emphasis on “creating a ‘culture of safety’ that enables staff to respond effectively to the intimate partner abuse (IPA) experienced by their clients, while at the same time protecting other clients and staff from harm.” In Addressing Intimate Partner Abuse in Runaway and Homeless Youth: A Practical Guide for Service Providers, they suggest that in addition to staff training, RHY agencies take steps in the following areas:
- Policies and Procedures: develop agency-specific policies for addressing relationship abuse among the youth with whom they work, and ensure consistency of implementation.
- Environment of Care: ensure that the spaces that are created for youth communicate the agency’s concern about and commitment to address relationship violence and encourages help-seeking by youth experiencing or using violence in their relationships.
- Services to Youth: ensure that youth seeking help receive an individualized response that is appropriate, and the group work with teens include information on building healthy relationships as well as responding to abuse.
In a similar vein, the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence outlined key approaches that DV/SA and RHY programs could take to improve response to relationship violence among street youth in Model Intervention Protocol and Strategies for Domestic Violence Advocates, Sexual Violence Advocates and Runaway Youth Workers, and a related flyer Model Collaborative Protocols.