SAFE HORIZON JOINS FORCES WITH COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT PARTNERS TO DEVELOP APPROPRIATE RESPONSES TO SUPPORT YOUNG MEN OF COLOR IMPACTED BY CRIME
April 28, 2016 (New York, NY) – Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest victim services agency, has launched a collaborative effort to better engage young men of color who are victims of crime and abuse, particularly Black and Latino men, in healing services, including counseling, advocacy and safety planning.
In late 2015, Safe Horizon joined with experts from organizations across New York City that actively serve young men of color to form The Young Men of Color Working Group. This group identifies and explores effective outreach methods to engage young men and provide culturally appropriate trauma-informed services to address their needs. The launch of this group is the result of more than a year of preparatory efforts, funded with support from the federal Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Partners in the group are all focused on the shared goal of deepening services for young men of color impacted by crime and abuse.
“Together with our partners in the Young Men of Color Working Group, we can truly make a difference in the lives of thousands of young men who experience violence, ” said Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang. “Because the results of trauma can manifest immediately after an incident, it’s essential that young men of color have access to the expert services they deserve and need.”
Safe Horizon, for its part, already serves about 3, 000 male survivors of crime and abuse annually. These clients, survivors of robbery, domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes, access Safe Horizon’s services through community offices, hotlines, family and criminal courts, as well as our Streetwork Project for homeless young people.
Research indicates that young men of color, although more likely than other groups to be victims of violence, are not accessing the support needed to heal from these events at the same rate as other crime victims. And so the formation of the Young Men of Color Working Group comes at a critical time to ensure that victim service providers are making concerted efforts to reach this population.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that among 10-24 year-old males, homicide rates among Blacks (51.5 homicides per 100, 000 individuals) and Latinos (13.5 per 100, 000) greatly exceeded the rate among Whites (2.9 per 100, 000). Additionally, national data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that Black youth, in particular, are more likely to be robbed and victimized than any other age, racial, or gender demographic group. Yet research shows that these young men frequently cope with the aftermath of violence alone.
“Our job with the Young Men of Color Working Group is to identify when a young man may have experienced crime or abuse and to learn new engagement strategies that will resonate with him, as well as be thoughtful about the additional barriers young men of color face that may dissuade them from accessing victim services, ” said Safe Horizon’s Deputy Program Officer Lisa O’Connor and who is leading the Young Men of Color Working Group.
“As a member of the HealingWorks Learning Collaborative, it is uplifting to see the thoughtful and intentional work the Young Men of Color Working Group has embarked upon in the last year. To see Safe Horizon, as a traditional leader in the victim’s services world, join the conversation on addressing underserved communities reinforces that healing does in fact work for Young Men of Color, ” said Common Justice’s National Survivor Specialist Bridgette Butler.
Learnings from the working group will be shared widely and will be piloted at Safe Horizon’s Manhattan-Bronx and Brooklyn Community Programs and Counseling Center with the vision of better serving young men of color in New York City.
To learn more about The Young Men of Color Working Group, please contact Safe Horizon’s Deputy Program Officer Lisa O’Connor at Lisa.OConnor@safehorizon.org
About Safe Horizon
Safe Horizon empowers victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking to move from crisis to confidence – touching the lives of 250, 000 New Yorkers every year.