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Avon Foundation for Women Launches Employer Training Program to Help Bystanders Become Upstanders When Suspecting Abuse

Emily Dearring - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Three Nonprofit Agencies Selected to Receive Avon Foundation Grants Totaling $500,000 to Launch Program

New York, NY (November 25, 2014) – Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Avon Foundation for Women announced the launch of See the Signs & Speak Out: Become an Upstander, a series of new employer training programs to educate employees on how to recognize and respond to domestic violence, dating abuse, and sexual assault. The new training programs, free to employers of all sizes including corporations, small businesses and government or nonprofit agencies, are designed to further public conversation about this epidemic and encourage safe and effective bystander interventions to reduce violence and assault.

The training series, funded by a $500,000 Avon Foundation grant, will provide quick and accessible online tools that will help bystanders who witness or suspect abuse to take action and safely intervene. Each of the grants will ensure a comprehensive approach for trainings focused on children, teen and adult victims – with the goal that bystanders can become upstanders when armed with the educational tools to do so.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault are both silent epidemics in America. Every day, three women die at the hands of a boyfriend, husband or ex,” says Cheryl Heinonen, Avon Foundation for Women President. “According to a recent Avon Foundation-funded survey, 60% of Americans admit to knowing a victim of abuse and 80% believe it is a problem in our society, but limited conversations are taking place about the issue. It’s time to change the startling statistics by empowering bystanders– co-workers, family, friends and even strangers – to get involved and become upstanders. It’s also time to stop asking why victims stay in violent relationships, and instead start asking what we can do as a society to help.”

See the Signs & Speak Out: Become an Upstander grants were given to the following organizations:

  • Ohio Domestic Violence Network has received a grant of $250,000 to focus on how starting conversations can prevent domestic abuse and sexual assault and assist both female and male victims.

  • New York Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Children has received a grant of $125,000 to launch a training program on how to protect children from domestic violence and repair the damage.

  • JWI has received a grant of $125,000 to launch a training program on how to talk to teens and young adults about dating abuse and relationships.

The full training programs and individual courses can be found at

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