Who doesn’t want to become a better ally? In the era of #MeToo, learning how to address issues of power-based violence in the workplace, in congregations, in our community organizations, and in our homes is more important than ever. But how does one create the open and safe environment that is necessary to ensure all individuals are in a space where motivation, passion, creativity, and hard work can flourish?

Building Better Allies is a three part training program aimed at educating individuals in various corporate and organizational settings on how best to handle issues relating to power-based violence in their space. Upon completion of the three part program within the given time frame, individuals will become BBA Certified, receiving a small decal they can put in their office or on a resume that indicates they are a safe person with whom to discuss issues related to intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual assault, dating violence, elder abuse, or sexual harassment.

Organizations can become BBA Certified when a super-majority of their employees or volunteers complete the full program, and the organization submits their internal policies and procedures to the BBA team for review and revision. The intention is to train enough individuals in the program so that the culture within the organization shifts. And, through comprehensive changes to policies and procedures within the organization, a congregation or workplace can ensure that it remains a safe space through employee and volunteer turnover.

The first part of the program focuses on awareness and response. It includes training on the warning signs of power-based violence, how one appropriately responds to a disclosure, and gives individuals many ways to put their new skills to use.

The second part of the program focuses on advocacy and resilience. It will give individuals an overview of stress and trauma, explore the experiences of marginalized individuals, teach individuals how they can foster an environment of resiliency, and give them key language they can use in their everyday life on how to talk about these issues.

The last part of the program drills down into policy and practice integration. At this point in the process, JCADA will provide technical assistance to organizations, reviewing their current policies and procedures, and make recommendations about how they can be improved. Individuals will investigate the differences between equity and equality, and walk through how they can work to remove barriers for victims and survivors through their words and actions.

Building Better Allies is intended to help close the gaps between men and women, and between victims and non-victims regardless of gender. Victims of power-based violence exist throughout every community, and they often feel silenced or alienated from those with whom they interact with on a regular basis when those organizations lack trauma-informed awareness or support. These trainings can be used to remind people to choose their words carefully when it comes to discussing sensitive or traumatic subjects, and to create a professional environment that encourages accountability, and open, transparent communication about complex issues.

If your organization or company is interested in becoming BBA Certified, please contact Laura Kovach, Director of Training & Education, at educate@jcada.org.