Learn more about how our partner, Break the Cycle, is encouraging healthy relationships and empowering youth to end domestic violence.
Q: Why was BTC founded?
A: Break The Cycle was founded on the principle that any young person who needed legal assistance when encountering relationship violence should receive high quality, free comprehensive legal services. Since 1996, the organization has grown to include technical assistance and training for caring adults who want to support young people; leadership and engagement tools and resources to support young people in speaking with their peers to address dating violence; and continued policy and legal services for young people in Washington, DC. Twenty years later BTC maintains offices in Los Angeles, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Washington, DC serving young people ages 12 – 24 and caring adults nationwide, because everyone deserves a healthy relationship.
Q: Why do you think it’s important that BTC focuses specifically on young people’s relationships?
A: In the last 30 years, policy makers, advocacy groups and service providers have made great strides in advancing policy and resources developed for the domestic violence service community. However, young people are often left out of the critical discussions and agendas for the next wave of transformative change. Young people are the key to the upcoming stages of policy change, activism, and everyday activities that can reduce the occurrences of unhealthy relationships. We truly believe young people hold the solution to ending gender based violence.
Q: Technology is such an integral part of young people’s lives today – how is BTC incorporating technology into its work?
A: Break the Cycle is continually making strides to integrate technology into its outreach and program efforts, especially with its new program for young people, Let’s Be Real. It’s an online and off-line movement for young people, created by young people about building healthy relationships. We’re using social media to meet young people where they are and talk with them in their own terms about the things that really happen in modern dating and relationships.
Q: What are some of the resources BTC offers to young people facing dating or relationship abuse?
A: Let’s Be Real is our newest resource for young people, but we’ve been doing this for twenty years. We reach young people by training, educating, and uniting caring adults like teachers, parents, and first responders, for example, through our programs prevention education & the Love Is Not Abuse (LINA) coalition. As well as providing free legal services for young people regarding domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and dating violence in Washington, DC. We’ve also worked closely with the National Domestic Violence Hotline on loveisrespect.org which is a hub of information about dating abuse and healthy relationships, combined with a crisis helpline.
Q: How do you see RapidSOS technology helping BTC’s mission?
A: Apps and cell phones are integral parts of young people’s lives. Partnering with RapidSOS to provide this cutting edge technology is one way in which we can provide the assistance young people are accustomed to and need. Having the ability to quickly and discreetly seek services through mobile devices can be a critical first step in increasing young people’s safety.