Break the Cycle Proposes Amendment to Protect Minors’ Rights

E-Newsletter Spring 2007

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Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

As I am sure many of you do, I follow with great interest the news stories—both good and bad—about online communities like MySpace and Facebook. I cannot help but marvel at the role they play in social interaction among today’s youth.

It is clear Break the Cycle must capitalize on the promise of these online communities to connect with the youth we serve. We must do this in a way that fosters safe and supportive online interaction and helps youth avoid the potential pitfalls and dangers posed by online communication.

With the help of our most youthful, creative and tech-savvy interns, we have recently launched Break the Cycle’s MySpace and Facebook pages. And our most comprehensive online presence to date can now be found at The Safe Space.

The online threats to young people are real. In fact, a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that 32% of online teenagers (43% of social-networking teens) have been contacted online by complete strangers and 21% of those teens have engaged online with the stranger to find out more information about him or her.

However, the study also reported that online safety is on the minds of teens using social networking sites: 63% of teens protect their online profiles from strangers.

We still have a long way to go to educate young people about safe and healthy relationships, but with this news I see a window of opportunity. I invite you to explore our website to learn how you can help us build our online programs for youth.

Warm Regards,

Online Spring Cleaning Auction

Spring is here! It is time to join Break the Cycle’s Spring Cleaning Auction. From May 9-15, you can bid on items donated by Break the Cycle supporters.

Click here to view our Spring Cleaning Auction on eBay. When you win an item, Break the Cycle will ship it to you promptly. Now you can shop to empower youth to build healthy relationships! Visit our Spring Cleaning Auction now.

Break the Cycle’s New Interactive Learning Tool

We are pleased to report on the progress of Break the Cycle’s Ending Violence DVD project, an interactive learning tool that will connect young people and the youth-serving community with information and resources essential to preventing domestic and dating violence. We have designed this unique program with long-term domestic violence prevention in mind.

As you may already know, teens have begun using technology as their primary means of communication and obtaining information. In response to this trend, Break the Cycle is expanding our classroom-based program into an interactive, educational DVD that will be enhanced and supported through our online resource, The Safe Space.

Break the Cycle’s Ending Violence DVD pioneers a new solution to youth violence by providing vital information that truly engages young people in the learning process. Because the DVD is designed to be easy to use, it will increase Break the Cycle’s capacity and those of other organizations, schools and service-providers so we all can better serve the community.

With the generous support of Verizon and Blue Shield of California Foundation, Break the Cycle’s Ending Violence DVD will be available for pilot distribution by early 2008. Click here to check out a preview and user demo of the interactive curriculum.

Action Alert!

Break the Cycle Proposes Amendment to Protect Minors’ Rights

While the legal system can be a powerful tool against domestic violence, it fails our youth all too often. In the District of Columbia, the DC Intra-Family Offenses Act governs all domestic violence policy. Currently, the act does not explicitly allow minors to seek protection orders without parental involvement. With these legal obstacles in place, teens cannot always use the legal system to protect themselves.

In collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the DC Attorney General’s Office, the Children’s Law Center and other domestic violence service providers, Break the Cycle Director of Public Policy Juley Fulcher is drafting an amendment that will comprehensively protect the rights and well-being of minors in abusive relationships. The amendment ensures that DC minors, age 12 and up, have the right to petition for a protection order without parental accompaniment, consent, or notification. Additionally, the amendment will clarify the Act to ensure that a protection order can be filed and enforced against a minor. The DC City Council will consider the amendment starting in June.

Break the Cycle actively encourages all state governments to better protect youth in abusive relationships. Currently, very few states allow minors to seek protection orders on their own. To view a summary of protection-order laws in each state, visit The Safe Space. If you are not happy with your state’s law, consider writing a letter to your Senator. Contact Break the Cycle to learn how to get more involved with our policy efforts.

Thank You Run/Walkers

See Break the Cycle’s 2007 Run/Walk Participants Below!

On Sunday, April 1st, Break the Cycle supporters walked in solidarity with twenty local service agencies at the 3rd Annual City of Los Angeles 5K Run/Walk for Victims’ Rights.

Sixty-five Break the Cycle run/walkers raised nearly $4,500 to support our life-saving work of domestic and dating violence prevention. Special congratulations go out to Kaitlin Crier and Elizabeth Fedler who had two of the shortest times in their age division!

In addition, Break the Cycle is pleased to recognize our Top 5 Fundraisers:

  • Carol Aronoff
  • Rosa Rodriquez
  • Patrice Gonzales
  • Grace Rosales
  • Rachel Wilkes

Break the Cycle greatly appreciates all our fantastic run/walkers! To view a complete list of participants and photos of the event, click here. We would like to send special thanks to the LA City Attorney’s office, the many sponsors of our run/walkers, and our volunteers who helped make the event run as smoothly as possible. We had a great time and hope to see you next year!

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