Tag Archives: campus safety

Getting Your “Kids” Ready for College: Teaching Your Young Adult How to “Think Safe”

4 May

By Carla M. Thompson author of The Busy Woman’s Pocket Guide to Safety

So, your baby is leaving you; don’t freak out.  You are not losing a child, you are releasing an adult into the world.  I am going to give you some on how to prepare your high school graduate for the real world:

  1.  Parents, the first tip is for you.  You have to remember that your “kids” aren’t “kids” anymore, they are young adults.  Giving them a list of do’s and don’ts isn’t going to work.  You have to influence their thinking by respectfully influencing them.  The tips that I am going to give you are things that you should discuss with your teen.  Notice I said, discuss, not lecture…

  1. 2.  If you haven’t done so already, you must let them know that you respect them as an adult and that you want them to trust you.  You want them to know that they can come to you with anything.  This is a safety issue because, most teens are afraid to go to their parents for help.  So predators capitalize on the fear of exposure and judgment so they can control their victims.  But parents, when they come to you make sure you don’t over react…

3.  Explain the importance of communication.  Let them know that you don’t want to control their lives or ruin their fun but you do want to know where they are going and some information about their friends.  This is important because if you ever had to trace their steps it would be easier and quicker. 

4.  Be sure that your teen has a working cell phone.  Even if you have to get a prepaid phone.  They may need this for an emergency. Help them understand the consequences of sexting and even though you will not be there to monitor their behavior misuse of the cell phone could create a safety issue.  There have been various stories about teens that send inappropriate pictures of themselves and draws the attention of predators.  Remind them that once pictures go online it is very hard to pull them back.

According to the US Department of Justice: 

  • Approximately 1 in 7 (13%) youth Internet users received unwanted sexual solicitations.

5.  Make sure you teen has money for emergencies.  It may be a challenge to explain that it is not pizza, pop, etc. money, but is for a “true” emergency

such as paying for a ride home after a party, medicine, etc.  Help them understand that you will not always be there to take care of them so you trust them to make the right decisions.

6.  If your son/daughter plans to live on campus, once you get the name of their roommate run a background check on them.  It may be difficult to get enough information about them to do this (especially if they are still under the age of 18) but if nothing else run it through the National Sex Offender Registry or do a general search.  See if they have a Facebook page, and look at their friends and their posts.  You might want to do this with any boyfriends or girlfriends as well.  This is important, your teens must understand that everyone they meet at school isn’t necessarily in school for the right reasons.  To ensure their safety they must do their research and proceed with caution when meeting new people. 

More statistics from the US Department of Justice: 

  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were 3 1/2 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.10
  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.12

7.  Evaluate your son/daughter’s social networking pages to ensure that they are not giving away too much information.  For example, I don’t think it is wise to put your address on your profile, your school, or your schedule.  This type of information could be used for stalking. 

8.  Going to parties is a part of college life and they can have fun but remain safe.  Explain the negative effects of popular party drugs, such as ecstasy.  Share some real stories from teens about their experiences with these types of drugs.

  1. 9.  Empower your teenager to trust their gut instincts.  We are all born with a “sensor for danger”.  Help them understand that even if they think that other people will laugh at them or tease them, reacting to their gut feelings about a situation could save their lives.

10.  Seal the discussion by assuring them that you don’t want them to fearful and you want them to enjoy their new freedom but that you just want them to use sound judgment!

These are just example of things that you should discuss with your teen.  You can’t give them as safety tip for every situation but if you can change the way they think then they can apply the logic to any situation they face. 

Good Luck!

Additional Resources for Parents: 

Stop it Now:  http://gethelp.stopitnow.org/results/start

For more information purchase The Busy Woman’s Pocket Guide to Safety, www.thebusywomanspocketguide.com for $4.95. Or download it for $.99 on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, or Google E-books or PCs.

Source: US Department of Justice:  http://www.nsopw.gov/Core/teens.aspx#teens

Department Officials Visit Campuses to Raise Awareness On Violence Against Women

17 Mar

From the United States Department of Justice Blog:  http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/637

March 17th, 2010 Posted by Tracy Russo

On campuses, students face unique challenges. A victim of dating violence, domestic violence, or sexual assault may continue to live in danger if the perpetrator resides in the same dormitory or attends the same classes. On smaller campuses, a victim may wish to remain anonymous but may find this to be virtually impossible in such a small environment.

Similarly, stalking victims may find it difficult to escape their tormentors, because the stalker may have a seemingly “legitimate” reason for remaining in contact with or in proximity to the victim, like studying in the library. The fear and anguish suffered by rape victims may continue if they attend the same classes or live in the same dormitory as the perpetrator.

We know that when young people witness or are victims of violence, they pay the price for many years to come. That is why this month, nine department leaders will visit 11 college campuses across the country to meet with students and faculty to discuss how to fight sexual and intimate partner violence on campus, and to train young people about how to prevent and report this type of activity. The campus tour is part of a year-long campaign by the Department of Justice to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli kicked off the tour on Monday, March 8 at Harvard University. Later in the week, Assistant Attorney General Tony West participated in awareness events at Stanford University and Pacific Lutheran University, and Assistant Attorney General Ignacia Moreno spoke at University of Illinois- Chicago.

Associate Attorney General Perrelli noted:

“Violence against women and children is an issue where I believe that we are at a critical point to make a real and significant difference. Intimate partner and sexual violence can be found on college campuses across this nation. None of us are above the reality of this issue, and it is incumbent upon all of us to stand up and take responsibility. We are committed to working with federal, state, local, tribal and campus partners to ensure that all communities are given the resources and support they need.”

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Justice Department, through the Office on Violence Against Women, has awarded over $4 billion in grants to provide communities with resources to address sexual assault and violence against women. For 2011, President Obama requested over $460 million be allocated for this purpose.

Many of the campuses that were part of the tour have demonstrated a strong commitment to ending this type of violence. At Stanford University they are working with non-profit, non-governmental partners including the Silicon Valley YWCA Rape Crisis Center, and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office, as well as bolstering victim assistance services, support and advocacy. Together, students and campus leaders make a critical difference in collective efforts to end intimate partner and sexual violence.

Pacific Lutheran University, a faith-based institution, runs a program called “Voices Against Violence” that has assisted over 100 victims of sexual relationship or stalking violence and has become a model initiative. They work with non-profit agencies and non-governmental partners like the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County, Wash., and collaborate with criminal justice partners like the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and Prosecutor’s office. These partnerships help to bolster victim assistance services, support and advocacy; and enhance education and prevention programs around the campus.

Advocates at the University of Illinois-Chicago are working on increasing awareness of violent crimes against women and helping to decrease barriers to accessing services. They are working to create a coordinated response that includes medical and emergency room care, and makes sure that campus administrators, campus police, judicial board members and housing staff are trained to effectively handle violent crimes against women, especially for underrepresented groups. These efforts create a sense of community as students and faculty participate in campus-wide anti-violence campaigns, and fosters a safe environment for students to purse their academic goals.

The Department of Justice applauds the efforts of these universities. For more information on grants to prevent violence against women on your campus, click, here. If you, or someone you know, is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or dating violence please know that help is available. Visit http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/hotnum.htm for more information.

Author has tips on safety for women | detnews.com | The Detroit News

17 Mar

Author has tips on safety for women | detnews.com | The Detroit News.

I was featured in the Detroit News today, see the article in the link above.