• Healthy relationship advocates available to students

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    Liane O’Banion, the Title IX Director for Portland Public Schools, worked with two major Portland advocacy groups to create this message about services and supports available to students:

    In an effort to promote a culture of consent, foster healthy relationships and offer comprehensive support to individuals harmed by intimate partner violence, Portland Public Schools is partnering with Raphael House of Portland and Volunteers of America Home Free to make advocacy services available to students, staff and community.

    Raphael House and VOA Home Free are local nonprofit organizations that have been bringing healthy relationship education to classrooms and community spaces in Portland since 2006.

    Healthy relationship advocates provide the following advocacy services and support:

    Community education and support

    • Classroom presentations on healthy relationships and violence prevention
    • Customized trainings for staff and parents (e.g. understanding, identifying and responding to teen dating violence; trauma-informed student support; tools and resources for school staff)
    • Consultation and support
    • Mentorship for students and clubs who aspire to prevent dating violence
    • Fostering a culture of consent

    Individual advocacy services for youth

    • Compassionate emotional support focused on empowerment and healing
    • Safety assessment and planning
    • Referrals to legal, mental health, medical and community resources
    • Assistance navigating systems
    • Available by phone text, and in person
    • 100% confidential

    Healthy Relationships Flyer

    For a printable PDF of the information in this story, click here

    What is a “culture of consent?” In a culture of consent, we normalize practices of clear communication and respect for each person’s bodily autonomy. Students are given tools to develop effective relational skills. We learn to ask permission and honor boundaries. We take measures to intervene and prevent violence. We respond effectively to instances of abuse and boundary violations by supporting those who have been harmed and holding harm-doers accountable. We use trauma-informed practices to create school environments that are safer spaces for healing.

    What makes an advocate different from a school counselor? Healthy Relationship Advocates (HRAs) offer unique, specialized services for students contending with instances of intimate partner violence. HRAs seek to re-empower individuals who have experienced harm by offering a confidential space to self-determine what type of support they would like to receive. HRAs offer resources, options, and non-judgmental support and consultation to students who may otherwise feel afraid of what may happen if they disclose their experience to a mandatory reporter such as a counselor or coach at school. Privacy within the advocacy relationship is protected under ORS 40.264. HRAs work closely with the schools to maintain the safety of every student while providing support to parents/guardians navigating difficult questions and unfamiliar situations.

    To access advocacy services or for questions, please contact: