The Safe Haven updates you every month on safety issues confronting communities, including child abuse, cyberbullying, financial elder abuse, and more. Through awareness and education, we can work together to help the vulnerable—kids, tweens, teens, and elders—stay safe.
School nurses may be effective at recognizing bullying, new research shows. Bullied kids and those identified as bullies tend to go to the nurse more often than other students for illness, injury, or other complaints without clear medical cause, such as stomach aches. While some visits to the nurse are directly linked to bullying injuries, other visits may be due to illness related to immune systems compromised by the long-term psychological stress brought on by bullying. Especially at a young age, bullies themselves may also experience the same effects as victims due to social shunning from other kids. Enlisting school nurses could be "another way of trying to keep a gauge of what's happening among the students in school," said the study's lead author.Read more»
A law passed in 2009 required the New York Health Department to put together a list of supposedly risky recreational activities so that previously exempt recreational programs will now have to register as a summer camp and provide medical staff. Freeze tag, kickball, and dodgeball are now considered dangerous activities, along with archery, scuba diving and horseback riding. Opponents to the law point out that it may "cripple small recreational programs, forcing them to pay a $200 fee to register as a summer camp and provide medical staff." Others say that keeping kids moving is safer than playing video games in a sedentary lifestyle. "You could develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome," one mother said. "And when [kids] eat, eat and eat, they get diabetes. That's dangerous." Officials say that there will be flexibility in how the law is implemented and that having a medical emergency plan may substitute for hiring medical staff.Read More»
Calvary Christian School in Sacramento expelled a bisexual 15-year-old girl after a teacher read her online profile revealing an intimate relationship with another girl. The student was told “that’s not accepted here” and “you’re kicked out.” The student's mother called the school’s action “totally discrimination.” However, the California Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that private schools are not obligated to follow California’s civil rights laws. According to administrators, the school relies “on the Bible as their final authority” prohibiting homosexual students. School officials asked the expelled student if there were other bisexual students at the school. “Well, let me tell you there is. I know that for a fact,” she said.Read more»
A two-year long dispute over a cheerleader's right to free speech has finally ended in a controversial ruling. A 16-year-old cheerleader alleged that she had been raped at a house party by a student athlete, who later pled guilty to misdemeanor assault. He received two years of probation, community service, a fine and was required to take anger-management classes. The charge of rape was dropped, leaving him free to return to school and take up his place on the basketball team. Four months later at a basketball game, the cheerleader participated in leading cheers for the team but refused to cheer for her assailant by name. The school superintendent expelled her from the squad. The young woman sued the school district for violating her right to free speech but twice lost, each court affirming that a cheerleader voluntarily agrees to act as a "mouthpiece" for the school and, therefore, forfeits her rights to free speech. A federal appeals court upheld the decisions and announced that she must also reimburse the school district $45,000 for filing a "frivolous" lawsuit. The family's lawyer said that the ruling indicates that students may be penalized for refusing to follow "insensitive and unreasonable directions.”Read more»
A study involving nearly 32,000 high school students found that suicide attempts by both gay and straight kids are more prevalent in politically conservative areas. The study relied on teens' self-reporting suicide attempts within the previous year. LGBT teens living in the most conservative counties are 20 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than those in the most liberal counties. Similarly, straight teens were 9 percent more likely to attempt suicide in conservative counties than in liberal counties. Funding for the study came from the National Institutes for Health and a center for gay research at the Fenway Institute, an independent Harvard-affiliated health care and research center. The study author said that the results show that "environments that are good for gay youth are also healthy for heterosexual youth."Read more»
After posting sexually explicit messages and photos on another girl’s Facebook page, two Washington preteen girls aged 11 and 12 have been charged with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing. Prosecutors say that after accessing the target's Facebook profile, the two girls uploaded explicit pictures, including one of a woman with enhanced anatomy, and sent out solicitations for sex. If convicted as charged, the sentence for the girls could be up to 30 days in juvenile detention. This case is unusual because of the girls’ young age. The 11-year-old girl is scheduled for a mental capacity hearing later this month to determine whether she understood that her actions were wrong. State law presumes that children 8 to 11 cannot be charged with a crime.Read more»
A survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and sponsored by Microsoft found that 81 percent of the nation's school administrators say they are doing a good job teaching children about online safety. Yet, 36 percent of teachers receive no training on the issue, according to the study. "Virtually all young people are using online Internet technology in some way, shape or form, but we still see a lack of cohesion and disconnect in schools about what they should be doing," said the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "In the 21st century, these topics are as important as reading, writing and math."Read More»
A new study shows that being a caregiver for a sick or aging relative has serious consequences for health and wealth:
86% of caregivers have taken time off from work, quit their jobs, reduced their hours or taken leaves of absence.
25% of caregivers suffer from depression.
52% were caring for a parent and 36% for a spouse.
More than 33% of caregivers have high blood pressure and more than 50% have sleep problems.
Diane Warrick was sentenced earlier this month for the murder of Mary Jane Scanlon, a 70-year old paralyzed woman living in Northern California. Scanlon hired Warrick as her caretaker after Warrick responded to Scanlon’s job posting on Craigslist. What Scanlon never knew was that Warrick had been convicted in 1999 for taking hostages in a two-and-a-half hour siege at the Napa State Hospital pharmacy where she held several hostages and shot at police with a semi-automatic handgun. She was finally shot by a highway patrol officer and charged with multiple counts of kidnapping.
Two years later, a jury found Warrick not guilty by reason of insanity. She was ordered confined in the state hospital system for a maximum of 58 years to life, but three and a half years later hospital officials recommended her release because she had “regained her sanity.” District Attorney Lieberstein, who objected to Warrick’s release, was the driving force behind the first-of-its-kind local law that requires anyone seeking employment as a caregiver to clear a background check. Home care has been “one of the fastest-growing industries for parolees,” according to Lieberstein.Read More»
The Supreme Court of Connecticut recently decided that a child molester cannot prevent a priest and a counselor from testifying that he admitted fondling the victim. During a meeting with his priest and the child's mother, and later with a counselor, the defendant admitted that he molested his 14-year-old stepdaughter. Based on the testimony of his priest and counselor, the defendant was found guilty of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in jail. On appeal, the defendant argued that anything he told the priest and counselor in confidence could not be used against him, but the Supreme Court disagreed. The child’s mother was present when he talked to the priest, and his counselor was required by law to report child abuse. Under these circumstances the defendant could not prevent either one of them from testifying against him.Read More»
New Hampshire's Senate voted unanimously to reject changes to the state's anti-bullying law which would have limited school responsibility to deal with off-campus incidents.Read more»
New Jersey just passed the toughest anti-bullying law in the country. It requires school administrators and teachers to complete anti-bullying training. School districts must have a school safety team, district anti-bullying coordinator, and an anti-bullying specialist at each school. The law also covers verbal and physical abuse as well as cyberbullying and issues that happen off school premises.Read more»
North Dakota’s governor recently signed two child protection laws: one requires K-12 teachers and students to receive anti-bullying instruction, and the other requires all schools with athletic activities to adopt a concussion management program.Read more»
The Oregon House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to update Oregon’s mandatory reporting law for child pornography, adding “Photographic Image Processors” and “Computer Technicians” to the list of mandatory reporters, and requiring them to report evidence of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct that they discover in their work.Read more»
Texas’ anti-bullying bill cleared the House by a vote of 94-41 and now goes to the Senate. The bill updates the definition of bullying to include cyberbullying and mandates a bullying policy at every school.Read more»
Recognize & Report Child Abuse
Recognize & Report Mistreatment of Vulnerable Adults
Recognize & Report Elder Financial Abuse
Volunteer Diversity: Skills for Collaboration
Inquiry v. Investigation
Cyberspace: Risks and Solutions
Sexual Exploitation of Adults
Pastoral Services - Visiting Vulnerable Adults
“I have a degree in social work and have worked within the social services field, mainly in domestic violence cases, for about 15 years. I have always wondered about the training provided to coaches and I am walking away knowing that they are offered an appropriate training when it comes to working with kids.”
"I liked taking the class on line rather than going to a workshop. The on line course used concrete examples, facts were straight forward and it kept my attention more than listening to someone speak. It was a good course."
“I was surprised at the level of intelligence, clarity and sensitivity of this training. The quiz sections were very helpful in the training.”
"I have been through several trainings on this subject from previous schools and jobs. This one was the best. To the point, lots of good info."
Teen Safety Overview
Bullying, Not Cool
Be Safe, Stay Safe
Block the Bully
Safety Smarts for Kids
“I thought it was a great video and I learned a lot from it!”
"I think that this taught me a lot of things about bullying! It helped me SO much!"
“This was a good course for people who are or will get bullied. Good job!”
"Was good to see the real life examples"
"I really enjoyed doing this course because of the real-world example"
Shield the Vulnerable is dedicated to raising awareness of abuse and neglect, and providing training and resources to help protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.
To read more facts about caregivers, visit the National Family Caregivers Association website: