Throughout the creation of the Advocating for My Relationships program (ADMYRE), PIAL has teamed up with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV). One positive addition to the program has been encouraging ICADV advocates to be present at ADMYRE presentations in the schools so that students have direct access to that resource if they would like to learn more. Kacey Barrow (pictured above with the PIAL team) is a training director for the Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center, which serves survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and other forms of intimate partner violence. She was also the first advocate to attend an ADMYRE program. We had the opportunity to interview her about her experience partnering with PIAL, her time helping out with the ADMYRE program, and how students and teachers can use her resources.
ICADV advocates are a huge resource for both students and teachers.
Kacey said that ICADV offers resources such as 24-hour helplines, chatlines, online platforms, as well as in- person advocacy centers. One big focus point for students is relationships--whether that be friends, intimate partners, siblings, and parents-- that all bring their own complications and changes. She noted that most students can name a questionable relationship around them and can feel powerless and/or an array of emotions witnessing or experiencing dating violence.
Advocates are a nonjudgmental, confidential group of caring and trained individuals who are constantly available. Students can ask them questions, gain perspective, and process emotions with advocates to work through anything that may come up. Teachers can also benefit from advocate resources. Kacey said that advocates can be allies to teachers who may have a student they notice asking lots of questions or changing their behavior. Educators often contact advocates to process something a student may have disclosed to them, and for guidance on how to respond to certain situations that may come up. Advocates are available over the phone, by email, and in an office to listen to students and teachers. They can support educators by providing tools, resources, and guidance.
Next, we asked Kacey about her experience with the ADMYRE program and collaboration with PIAL. She said, “The ADMYRE program was a well-researched and thoughtful experiential program for students to process the options of teens in abusive and controlling dating relationships. This program exposes teens to aspects of negative relationships that they may recognize or that seem familiar and gives the opportunity for recognition of red flags and for students to think about what their own resources are.” Because of the partnership, the advocates are a powerful resource to the program as they bring in their expertise and perspectives as advocates to provide the program with relevant scenarios and resources. Kacey and the ICADV are excited for this opportunity to support a new awareness and prevention program and are looking forward to future partnerships!