How to screen and respond to possible relationship abuse in runaway and homeless youth settings for LGBTQ Youth:
1. Consider building screening into intakes so it becomes part of the routine and gets destigmatized. Use this universal Teen Dating Violence Screening Tool.
2. Display posters that address LGBTQ intimate partner abuse, such as the “Contrary to Popular Belief” poster sold by Futures Without Violence.
3. Run skills-building education and discussion groups about the healthy relationships and safety negotiation. Use curriculum, tools and resources from this website.
4. Use new media to bring up conversations. There an adorable online animation video from thatsnotcool.com, that features two cell phones, dressed up as a teen lesbian couple and tackles the issue of pressures to share passwords.
5. Display local and national intimate partner abuse resource information in prominent places. In New York, use the NYC Anti-Violence Project’s hotline for LGBTQ people 212-714-1141 in prominent places. Nationally, use the National Dating Abuse Hotline: 1.866.331.9474, or #HOPE from Verizon Cells.
6. If RED FLAGS are present, help teen to develop a youth-specific safety plan that addresses all the risk areas. Deal with immediate safety issues first.
7. Create and display rules of conduct that explicitly prohibit interpersonal fighting, name-calling, verbal put-downs, etc., and make it clear that your space is a “violence-free zone” no matter what.
8. Verbally reinforce rules of conduct with all youth at intake and during other activities at your agency.
9. If both youth are in your program and abuse is identified, determine if it’s safe and appropriate to provide services to both clients. If there is a history of serious abuse in the relationship and/or there have been acts of abuse on site at the agency or at other agencies, an agency may want to refer one of the clients to another agency for services or provide limited/conditional services for one or both clients at your agency.
Adapted by Jenny DeBower for The Center for Anti-Violence Education from Addressing Intimate Partner Abuse in Runaway and Homeless Youth/ Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership and the Teen Dating Violence Assessment Questions developed by the Center for Community Solutions and San Diego Youth & Community Services.