Allies in Success

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As an Ally, you will be a leader in our community, advocating for domestic and sexual violence victims, armed with education materials to inform your school of ways to not only recognize victims, but to help them, too.

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victims and EDUCATION

Too many children experience domestic or sexual violence. Knowing the signs of abuse could possibly help identify a victim and provide the resources necessary to remove the violence from a child's life.

leaders in education

Teachers wield incredible influence over future generations. They are in a position to educate our youth about healthy relationships, as well as provide resources to students and their families who may suffer from dating/domestic or sexual violence. Using age-appropriate materials, educators are able to encourage students to form healthy relationships, recognize abusive behaviors and create an environment free from sexual harassment and disrespect.

1 in 7

children experience domestic violence

More than 3

children die from abuse in Texas each week

1 in 3

girls will be sexually abused before 18

1 in 5

boys will be sexually abused before 18

Types of abuse

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Childhood Domestic Violence - when a child grows up in a home where one adult is abusive towards another in the home.

Examples: acting out, withdrawal, loss of ability to concentrate and sadness.

Physical Abuse - deliberate aggressive actions on the child that inflict pain.

Examples: wounds, bruises, burns, and sore muscles.

Psychological Abuse - behaviors/comments toward children that cause mental anguish or deficits. It is also termed 'emotional abuse' because damage caused to one's mental state inevitably creates emotional damage.

Examples: frequent yelling, withholding kindness or affection, prolonged periods of silence, and harsh jokes.

 

Sexual Abuse -  any type of behavior toward a child that is intended for an offender's sexual stimulation. Abuse includes one isolated event as well as incidences that go on for years.

Examples: fondling, forced sexual acts, or indecent physical exposure.

Neglect - a deficit in meeting a child's basic needs, including the failure to provide adequate health care, supervision, clothing, nutrition, housing as well as their physical, emotional, social, educational and safety needs.

Examples: poor health or weight gain, taking food or money without permission, poor school attendance, eating a lot in one sitting or hiding food.

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Signs that a child may be a victim of abuse

A child who's being abused may feel guilty, ashamed or confused. He or she may be afraid to tell anyone about the abuse, especially if the abuser is a parent, other relative or family friend. In fact, the child may have an apparent fear of parents, adult caregivers or family friends. That's why it's vital to watch for red flags, such as:

  • Withdrawal from friends or usual activities
  • Changes in behavior — such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity — or changes in school performance
  • Depression, anxiety or unusual fears or a sudden loss of self-confidence
  • An apparent lack of supervision
  • Frequent absences from school or reluctance to ride the school bus
  • Reluctance to leave school activities, as if he or she doesn't want to go home
  • Attempts at running away
  • Rebellious or defiant behavior
  • Attempts at suicide
  • Sexual behavior or knowledge that's inappropriate for the child's age
  • Blood in the child's underwear
  • Delayed or inappropriate emotional development
  • Loss of self-confidence or self-esteem
  • Social withdrawal or a loss of interest or enthusiasm
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What educators can do to support victims

Working with children who have suffered abuse is a skill that every teacher possesses. Teachers have the opportunity to give an abused child the hope of a childhood, the joy of play, and the sense of being cared for by others. Those are gifts that cannot be measured in any monetary or quantitative way.

  1. Believe the child - If a student makes a claim of abuse, believe him or her. The child is taking a significant step in trusting the teacher enough to tell what is happening. To betray that trust would repeat the betrayal experienced when an adult abused the child and failed to serve as a protector. Even though the explanation may be fragmented, teachers should listen supportively and ask open-ended questions to fill in gaps.
  2. Expectations -Teachers can honor the strength and courage of these children by having high expectations for them. Emotionality may interfere with thinking; therefore, it is important to set reasonable goals and to provide the support needed for the child to feel confident in his or her abilities. School can be a place where children rebuild their self-esteem, assert themselves, and see themselves as successful.
  3. Structure - Abused children may feel powerless to control much in their environment. To cope, they may: (a) refuse to even try to control what happens around them; (b) strive to manipulate everything they can by bossing peers and controlling belongings; and (c) express disproportionate feelings whenever they feel threatened. When these children fly off the handle with little provocation, they may be doing so to try to establish control. To help the child feel a sense of control in a positive manner, teachers should give accurate information and build trust. Allowing expression of feelings when appropriate through art, music, drama, and/or creative writing will also help the child to feel less controlled by pent-up emotion.
  4. Self-esteem - Abused children have little self-esteem. Teachers can help them learn that they are valued, accepted, and capable by fostering an environment that honors each child's uniqueness. Valuing differences will enable children to begin to see themselves as having something to contribute that others appreciate. With each successful completion of a classroom task, the child's sense of competency will be fostered.
  5. Social skills - Because abused children have not learned to listen to their inner selves, they may focus on pleasing and meeting the needs of others while neglecting their own needs. Having been introduced to the adult world through an abusive relationship, the child may have learned inappropriate behaviors and language. The child may feel unworthy to interact on an equal basis with others and may fear rejection. A classroom climate that fosters caring, appreciation for differences, consistent rules and boundaries, and recognition for small successes will nurture a child who has been discounted at home.
  6. Consistency - Teachers can support a child's need for structure by maintaining a consistent daily schedule, by having clear expectations for performance in both behavioral and affective areas, and by allowing the child to provide structure in his or her own way. A child's need for structure can restrict the depth of his or her encounter with the world. Teachers may respond to this need by encouraging risk-taking in ways that will encourage success and personal worth.
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how hope alliance can help educators

Hope Alliance provides training for both educators and students around domestic and sexual violence.

PROJECT EMPOWERMENT - Hope Alliance's violence prevention curriculum, is available to Williamson County students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. PROJECT EMPOWERMENT'S goal is to change attitudes, behaviors and norms that can lead to violence and develop assets in youth that help them grow up healthy, caring and responsible. The curriculum demonstrates the use of positive messages in place of unhealthy and negative messages. Children are taught through interactive games, thought-provoking discussion and community projects.

The curriculum is varied to be age appropriate and the program is held once a week over 8-10 weeks.

Hope Alliance also provides training to educators on childhood domestic violence and sexual assault. Trainings are available for training days, PTA groups and other meetings.

Downloadable handouts

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