Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project Highlights Culture – NIJ Publications Update

Office of Justice Programs sent this bulletin at 07/27/2015 12:00 PM EDT

Title: Love One Another and Take Care of Each Other: A Process Evaluation of the Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project (pdf, 51 pages)
Author: Lama Hassoun Ayoub

Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project (RBCEVP) is informed by a commitment to culture as prevention. The program centers on the belief that reconnecting youth and families with the Chippewa Cree language, culture and traditions will influence children’s exposure to violence on the reservation.

One of the primary components of the RBCEVP is advocacy and case management. The RBCEVP staff several domestic violence/sexual advocates and child advocates. The advocates provide crisis intervention services, court and medical advocacy, development of safety plans, referrals to treatment and other providers, and traditional healing ceremonies.

Another major component of the project is community awareness and education. The RBCEVP utilized a variety of approaches to community awareness to spread the message about children’s exposure to violence and the resources that are available to children and families. Other components of the project include professional training for local partners as well as prevention work with youth in schools, including leading and supporting student groups in the local schools and holding summer youth camps for at-risk youth.

Despite some staff turnover and challenges, Rocky Boy’s Children Exposed to Violence Project produced important accomplishments: 1) bringing a strong advocacy program to the reservation and providing victims with assistance; 2) providing prevention programming and support services to Rocky Boy’s youth; 3) providing greater access to training for local service providers; and 4) raising community awareness about children’s exposure to violence through concerted awareness campaigns.

Throughout this work, the RBCEVP staff have infused a culture-based approach and have reinstilled a focus on Chippewa Cree language, spirituality, and tradition, reflecting the strengths of traditional culture as a protective factor. By helping youth and community members improve their connection to their culture and the Chippewa Cree way of life, they could be impacting children’s exposure to violence in ways that are difficult to measure.