• September/October 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 5

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Online Community Aids Abuse Victims

Current and past victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence can find support online through the new Broken Spirits Network website, run entirely by volunteers.

Launched in April of 2001, the site offers a comprehensive list of shelters, hotlines, and organizations that can help victims. Its abuse resources are cataloged by Gold, Silver, and Bronze Site awards, according to their usefulness. One of the sponsoring organizations of the Children's Bureau Express, the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, is listed as a "Gold Site Award" in the child abuse information category. According to the site, "To achieve the gold medal, a site must include a wide variety of information, contacts, links, and also provide some form of community involvement."

A discussion forum allows users to create their own virtual identity and discuss personal issues without compromising their confidentiality. Besides an open chat, known as "The Gathering," there are discussions dedicated to specific forms of abuse and geared to different groups working to combat abuse.

An information section contains several reference items. Two new items are an "Abuse Victim Checklist," to help people determine if they are being abused, and an "Abuse Victim Emergency Escape Kit," to help victims make preparations to escape the abuser. Other resources include:

  • Information and statistics regarding many different forms of abuse
  • List of common warning signs to look for if you suspect abuse taking place
  • A profile of abuser traits and common identifying features
  • Information on the importance of family and friends
  • Information on the feelings and emotional problems that accompany abuse recovery
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Suggested reading.

Access the Broken Spirits Network at: http://www.brokenspirits.com

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