Law Enforcement, Forensic Nurses, Advocates, Educators and Physicians from around the state discussed the challenges, peer pressures and experiences that adolescents are exposed to in today’s society. When learning about the “adolescent experience,” presenters provided ways in which all of us in helping professions can better communicate with teens to more fully understand their individual needs.
I was reminded that as Advocates, we may not always know what to say to those we are helping in the hospitals, at the police stations or over the hotline. When appropriately used, phrases that can assist in dialoging with survivors include the following:
“Help me to understand …”
“How can I best help you…”
“This may be hard for you to talk about…”
“What is it that you need from me…
As a gentle reminder, silence is okay during conversations. Survivors may not remember what an Advocate said, but survivors will remember the Advocate’s comforting presence and support for years to come.
Additional conference presentations included Trafficking of Minors, GLBTQ Issues Within The Teen Population, and Teen Dating Violence and Adolescent Offenders. If you are interested in learning about these topics and the information presented, the conference PowerPoint presentations can be found on the website for the Ohio Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nursing – http://www.ohiafn.org/.