Detained teens hear program about violent behavior
Published 7:35 pm Tuesday, February 5, 2019
While their offenses may vary in nature the one thing young people housed at the Warren County Juvenile Detention Center all have in common is a need for guidance. On Monday, representatives from the Haven House Family Shelter offered their services to the youth and presented a program on Teen Domestic Violence.
February has been designated as Teen Domestic Violence month and Outreach Coordinator Krystal Hamlin and Victim Advocate Jeronica Hooper from the shelter presented a program to the young male detainees at the center.
Hamlin said she and Hooper both speak to local school groups about teen violence and coming to the detention center was another avenue to get the message out about the growing problem.
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According to breakthecycle.org, one in three young people will experience dating abuse.
During the presentation, the women engaged the youth in a discussion asking them what they view as a healthy relationship while also talking to them about characteristics of unhealthy relationships.
“What are some signs,” Hamlin asked, “that you think you would pick up on if a person was in a dating violence relationship?”
Answers included a victim wearing sunglasses and also isolation.
“When you are dealing with teenage violence or domestic violence relationships a lot of times the abuser also wants to get you all alone by yourself,” Hamlin said, “because that way they can have that power to isolate you from your family and friends.”
Both Hamlin and Hooper also stressed to the teens that if they think someone is being abused or is in danger — report it.
For instance, Hooper said, if you see a guy shove a girl into a locker at school, it may not seem like anything really big. However, what you may want to consider is that if this is what the perpetrator does in public, what could he be doing when no one is looking.
“What if the next day, the same girl who was at school winds up on the news because she’s dead? How would you feel,” Hooper asked.
Following the presentation, Hamlin and Hooper shared with the teens a website, breakthecycle.org/loveisnotabuse, that would address more questions they may have about dating violence and handouts with follow-up information.
On average, Warren County Juvenile Detention Center Administrator Katherine Holden said 13 to 15 youth are housed at the detention center. Like the Haven House Family Shelter, she is reaching out the community to speak to the teens.
“A lot of people don’t realize they can come in and help volunteer,” Holden said, “but we try to bring different programs into the detention center for kids that are detained.”
For the past year, on the first Monday of every month, Holden said Delta Sigma Theta Inc. comes to the detention center to talk with the youth about anything from finance to hygiene to everyday life.
“They have also provided care packages and Christmas gifts,” Holden said.
Being hands on
During the day teens are in school, Holden said, with teachers provided by the Vicksburg Warren County School District, but afterward there is time for supplementary programing.
“Our intent and our goal here is to bring in the faith-based community, the private sector, not just for funding, but hands on,” County and Youth Court Judge Marcie Southerland said.
“We need more guardian ad litems, more people who have the time and want to volunteer to work with the court on behalf of the children, and we are looking forward to people coming forward who are willing to work with our kids and who have some time and give us an alternative to what we have always been doing,” Southerland said.
“Time means everything to these kids,” Southerland said.
For anyone interested in volunteering, youth court administrator Rachel Hardy said, call 601-630-8004.