Friends for Life

The Campus Crime Stoppers Friends for Life Program began as a partnership with the Fort Worth ISD “It’s Not Okay” campaign during the 2010-2011 school year. The campaign encourages students to make healthy decisions and ask for help when they or their friends are in need. The Campus Crime Stoppers Friends for Life Program focuses on behaviors and issues that can place the student and others at risk and will serve as a resource for students who want to report fellow students who are victims of bullying, cyber bullying, sexting, dating or family violence, gang activity, sexual harassment, or has suicidal tendencies.

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Topics Covered by Friends for Life

BULLYING

Bullying is the most common form of youth violence. Bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another peer, that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is usually repeated multiple times. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted person including physical, emotional, social, or educational harm. 

If you know someone is being bullied at school then be a positive bystander and intervene. In some situations it is okay to step up and speak out against the bully, but other times it is better to go to a higher authority; that’s why Friends for Life is here.  READ MORE.

FAMILY VIOLENCE/ABUSE

Family violence covers a broad range of acts that can include emotional, financial, physical, and sexual violence within and between family members. Not only does it harm the victim, but family violence presents dangers for immediate family members, including children. The most common forms of family violence are domestic violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV), and child abuse. 

Family violence can have a lasting negative effect on individual family members and the family unit. For children especially, exposure to violence at a young age can harm their emotional, psychological, and even physical development. Overall, children and young adults exposed to domestic violence are at risk of antisocial behavior and involvement in the criminal justice system as an adult.  READ MORE.

CYBERBULLYING

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through texting, apps, social media, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.  Cyberbullying tactics include sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.

While cyberbullying may not always cause physical harm, it can lead to distressing situations for the victim that may have consequential effects like depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and more. If you see someone being cyberbullied, it’s important to speak up to prevent the cyberbullying from continuing. With Friends for Life you can help put an end to cyberbullying by submitting an anonymous tip.  READ MORE.

GANG ACTIVITY

Gangs can be defined in many different ways. In the state of Texas, a criminal street gang is defined as “three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.”

Those who are involved in gangs and gang-related activity usually do not join the gang simply because they want to commit criminal acts. Most often, individuals join gangs for protection, enjoyment, respect, money, or because a friend is in a gang. Individuals at the highest risk of joining a gang usually have unstable living conditions, have problems at school, live in unsafe households, witness violence from a young age, and/or live in communities where they feel unsafe. Some of the best strategies for preventing gang activity include building a community’s ability to strengthen schools and families by meeting their needs; improving community supervision; and teaching students positive interpersonal skills.

You can help keep your community safe and help prevent someone from becoming involved in a gang by using Friends for Life to submit an anonymous report.  READ MORE.

SEXTING

Sexting is the use of your phone, computer, or camera to take or send sexual messages and/or photos. For many people, sexting seems like a harmless act that may make a relationship more fun or exciting, but sexting can outlast your crush/relationship and in many instances be illegal. In addition, once you send that photo or text you can never get it back.

Unfortunately, sexts can cause many problems for those who send them, receive them, or even share them with others. These problems can range from social embarrassment to legal charges and arrest. For example, pictures may be posted online or shared with others in your school or place or employment without your permission, violating your privacy. However, for those who send, receive, or share pictures of those who are younger than 18 years of age may face legal consequences due to child pornography laws. And yes, child pornography laws still apply even if everyone involved is under 18 years of age. 

So before you send that text or photo make sure you think about the social, physiological, and legal consequences. If you have any tips on sexting, please use Friends for Life to send in an anonymous report.  READ MORE.

SUICIDE AND SELF-HARM

Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering, or planning suicide. The prevalence of serious suicidal thoughts is highest among adults aged 18-25  at 10.5%. Suicide is the 10th leading overall cause of death in the U.S., yet it is the 2nd leading cause of death amongst those under 24 years of age.

Self-harm can take the form of hurting oneself on purpose, usually as a way of coping with negative emotions, life events, and more. For those who self-harm, it can be seen as a way to have control over their body when they can’t control anything else in their life.

The number one way to prevent suicide and self-harm is to speak to a trusted source if you are worried someone is showing signs of either. You can do this with the help of Friends For Life.  In the event of an emergency, call 911! READ MORE.

DATING VIOLENCE/ABUSE

Dating violence is the intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person in a dating relationship. Hundreds of thousands of young people experience dating abuse every year. 8% of high school students said they had experienced physical and/or sexual violence by someone they were dating. 

Do you think your relationship is healthy? Is your partner supportive of the things that you do? Do they listen when you have something to say? Do they constantly check in on you? If you’re in doubt, click here to take a quiz on healthy relationships. Dating violence is never okay, no matter what form it comes in. If you know of someone who may be in a dating violence situation, please speak up. You can do this by using Friends for Life to submit an anonymous report.  READ MORE.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment encompasses many actions and behaviors including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other various verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. Sexual harassment can happen anywhere, but is mainly seen and experienced at a school or place of employment.

Sexual harassment can come in many forms and may not always be apparently obvious, but no matter what, it is never okay. Anyone can be a victim or harasser no matter their gender or sexual orientation. In addition, the victim and harasser can have any relationship with each other, including being a direct manager, indirect supervisor, coworker, teacher, student, dating partner, friend, or peer. If you have information on suspected sexual harassment, we encourage you to use Friends for Life and send in an anonymous report.  READ MORE.

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How Does Friends for Life Work?

If you have a friend who may be dealing with one of the issues listed above, you may reach out to the Campus Crime Stoppers Friends for Life Hotline and get them help. Through Crime Stoppers, the information you provide remains anonymous and confidential. You could help make a difference in your friend’s life.

Campus Crime Stoppers Friends for Life may be contacted through the Crime Stoppers hotline, website, live web chat system, or a mobile app, which is operated by the Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County Call Center. The call center is staffed by trained personnel, who will take your calls and online and mobile app submissions and then send your information to the appropriate school and district contacts. You do not have to identify yourself and call takers will not ask your name; Campus Crime Stoppers “Friends for Life” is anonymous.

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