Abuse is something that, in any form, should never be taken lightly, and Community Living Port Colborne-Wainfleet (CLPCW) has launched a program that is designed to address the problem before it starts.
Stop.Think. Act. Report. (S.T.A.R.) was created to teach participants how to identify and prevent abuse. The idea came from a Stratford-based self-advocacy group that presented a similar program to People Helping People Achieve (PHPA), a self-advocacy group from the Port Colborne area. Following this meeting, the PHPA group began to brainstorm how they could create their own unique presentation that was tailored to their community.
Update Friday spoke with Clint Tyrrell, a self-advocate from PHPA and Kim Simons, Coordinator at CLPCW, who talked about the fundamentals of the S.T.A.R. program.
“With S.T.A.R., we wanted to focus on opening up the lines of communication for a lot of people who have had a hard time dealing with personal experiences,” says Simons.
S.T.A.R. teaches participants to identify and diffuse abusive situations before they even start. Moreover, the group wants participants to feel comfortable sharing their experiences and communicating, so that they can help to recognize issues they may need help to address.
The presentation concentrates on five forms of abuse: verbal, physical, sexual, financial, and neglect. Clint Tyrrell, who is also the lead facilitator for the physical abuse portion of the presentation, spoke about his involvement in the project.
“As someone who has been bullied and, as a result, became a bully, I wanted to be involved in something that was productive and helpful to people trying to overcome difficult experiences.”
The interactive program uses several methods to encourage participation including discussion, videos and role playing scenarios. “We have found that the role playing portion really gets people involved in the activities, allowing them to express their feelings as well as learn different ways to diffuse situations,” says Simons.
S.T.A.R. was created with the intention of moving away from traditional training and procedures that deal with handling abusive situations. According to Simons and Tyrrell, communication is the key to success. “We talk a lot about having a safe person, someone participants can speak to when they feel they are being abused or in a difficult position,” says Simons.
Community Living Port Colborne-Wainfleet and People Helping People Achieve will be presenting their program at Community Living Ontario’s 62nd Annual Conference and AGM.
– Justin dePass