It Only Takes One
We have been connecting with Youth at Creative Life this Spring!
Over the last week I had an opportunity to have a refresher course on the Violent Threat Risk Assessment training, also known as ERASE. This is the protocol that schools and organizations across the Canada and the United States follow. It is basic training on how to assess risks and prevent violent acts. Sharing knowledge is something that I find really valuable. The information mentioned in my training is helpful for my work, but it impacts every person in the community, including yourself. It would be impossible to fit all of the useful information of this course into a one-page newsletter but let’s start with a basic definition below:
1. a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done. eg). “members of her family have received death threats
2. a person or thing likely to cause damage or danger. eg.) “hurricane damage poses a major threat to many coastal communities”
- Oxford Languages
Types of threats:
There are four categories of threats as noted by the FBI.
Direct threat: identifies a specific act against a specific target and is delivered in a straightforward, clear, and explicit manner.
Indirect threat: tends to be vague, unclear, and ambiguous.
Veiled threat: is one that strongly implies, but does not explicitly threaten violence.
Conditional threat: warns that a violent act will happen unless certain demands or terms are met.
Some important key pieces to this training would be that the first hypothesis in threat assessment is that “It is a cry for help.” This often means that there will be indications of violence before the violence occurs. Serious violence is a developmental process and people do not just “snap.” Violent acts develop over time and there will often be “cries for help” along the way.
The phrase that “kills” they say, is “a good kid with no history of violence,” and this is the case nearly every time. The thing that has become more and more evident to me over the pandemic is that we are all vulnerable.
Every time I have taken this training, I have always been blown away by the emphasis on having one healthy adult figure in a youth’s life. ONE. That is the number of people that it takes to turn someone’s life from a trajectory of harm, violence, and pain to one of love and acceptance. They say, “when the youth does not have a healthy adult figure in their life, they become like an empty vessel and try to fill themselves with whatever is readily available to them.”
This sort of knowledge isn’t readily shared in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, this training is something I have used frequently since first taking it in 2015. I wanted to bring it to your attention that the love and support that you provide to the kids in your life is a huge part of these statistics, just as your support in my work is, as I try to be the supportive adult in the lives of kids who might not have one already.
According to a survey done by Big Brother Big Sisters in 2019, having a mentor can impact these things below:
Thank you for supporting me and enabling me to help prevent violence within our community. If you pray, please continue to pray for the young people in our communities who are trying to navigate our messy world.
Have you heard something concerning from a young person in the community? Make an anonymous report here: https://erasereportit.gov.bc.ca/
- Amy Seiler