PREVENTING ABUSE & EMPOWERING SURVIVORS
WE ARE BREAKING CODE SILENCE
Breaking Code Silence is a network of institutional abuse survivors who are/were incarcerated in the U.S. “troubled teen industry” (TTI), a network of privately-owned, powerfully punitive, and largely wilderness-based programs, residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, group homes, boot camps, and faith-based academies.
In March 2021, we formally became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an innovative and trauma-informed organizational model that supports the unique needs of this population and facilitates the multifaceted approach to institutional reform.
Breaking Code Silence is a vehicle for the TTI survivor community – ever striving to uplift, organize, and inspire present and future generations, while promoting youth rights and evidence-based alternatives to the troubled teen industry. Our activities are conducted by a dedicated, resourceful team of volunteer survivors and allies. Continuing to support the initiatives and deepen the social and intellectual capacities of existing and aspiring survivor-leaders is central to our mission.
We are committed to ensuring that Breaking Code Silence becomes an enduring, powerful, and professional organization capable of achieving our shared mission.
Breaking Code Silence utilizes education, outreach, research, and community organizing to protect the civil and human rights of youth.
WHAT WE DO
INVESTIGATEBreaking Code Silence supports lawyers, policy makers, and other professionals in identifying programs with extensive histories of abuse. Our robust facility reports show patterns of abuse and have aided multiple attorneys in successfully rescuing children from TTI facilities and supporting claims of abuse.
SUPPORTPeer Support & Survivor Resources
Breaking Code Silence supports survivors with resources that improve daily life. With the generous support of the Hilton Foundation, and in partnership with several universities, we will offer peer support to aid survivors in learning necessary regulation tools to better manage distress related to trauma.
ADVOCATEShare Testimony & File Complaints
Breaking Code Silence supports all survivors in honoring and affirming their testimonies. We also assist survivors with legal reporting, providing connection, and helping survivors at all stages of their journeys.
LEGISLATEState and Federal Policy
Breaking Code Silence educates and collaborates with partner organizations and local, state, and federal government leaders to aid in the crafting and passage of laws that protect youth in congregate care, close loopholes of accountability, and include the testimony of survivors as central in this process.
With large-scale data collection and global research collaboration, we highlight the irrefutable harm of existing practices . Together with our university partners, we lead and support research into the activities, proliferation, and long-term effects of TTI facilities and the abusive methods they continue to employ.
EDUCATEAwareness for the Community and Professionals
EDUCATEIn collaboration with professionals worldwide, we educate the public about the deep roots of abuse, neglect, and coercion throughout the TTI. We work to prevent future placements and encourage evidence-based community treatments that strengthen and empower youth and their families.
“What you are to be, you are now becoming.”
— Carl R. Rogers
BREAKING CODE SILENCE VOLUNTEERS
Breaking Code Silence is a network of institutional abuse survivors who are/were incarcerated in the U.S. “troubled teen industry” (TTI), a network of privately-owned, powerfully punitive, and often wilderness-based programs, residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding schools, group homes, boot camps, and faith-based academies.
Through community organizing, we have channeled our painful, personal memories into newfound passion and united purpose.
The mission of Breaking Code Silence is to prevent institutional child abuse and to empower survivors to engage in positive self-advocacy.
WE PRESERVE INTEGRITY
We recognize that each of us represents Breaking Code Silence, and we honor that responsibility with humility and diplomacy while maintaining the highest ethical standards.
WE REMAIN INCLUSIVE
We believe in diversity and inclusion and commit ourselves to creating a safe, welcoming, and supportive culture for all. We celebrate unique worldviews and learning opportunities for our community and organization.
WE ARE INFORMED
We nurture compassionate spaces for the many manifestations of trauma in behavior and commit ourselves to creating a community that seeks to learn more, educate others, and remain rooted in evidence-based and trauma-informed practices.
FROM COMMUNITY HASHTAG TO CAPITAL HILL
PARIS JOINS THE FIGHT
Breaking Code Silence began as an idea on social media encouraging survivors of institutional abuse to stand up and testify about the abuse they experienced by posing pictures with their program – and the resulting impact – and to share it with the world. What began as an idea on social media soon grew to become a movement.
Survivors all over the country began to share their photos and a movement was born. This movement was thrust into national media when Provo Canyon School Survivor, Paris Hilton, aired her documentary, This is Paris. Paris featured Breaking Code Silence in her film and joined the fight.
In October, Paris Hilton joined Breaking Code Silence and hundreds of survivors in Provo, Utah to protest the abuses reported by survivors. For many, this was the first time being with other survivors since leaving program. For Provo Canyon School survivors, this was their first time back to the site of their abuse.
RISE JUSTICE LABS
SB-127 SIGNED INTO LAW
Breaking Code Silence is accepted to the Rise Justice Labs class. The team learns to audit, assess, and write model legislation. It is through this incredible opportunity that the Bill later known as the Accountability for Congregate Care is drafted.
On March 22, 2021, Breaking Code Silence is formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in the state of California.
Breaking Code Silence drafts and champions SB-127 which was passed into law in the state of Utah. BCS volunteers and supporters, including Sara Gelser-Blouin and Senator Mike McKell attend.
In August, Breaking Code Silence is awarded a grant to research survivors of institutional abuse and to offer direct services to this population. BCS partners with several universities to execute this project.
In October, Breaking Code Silence joins Number Story and Levar Burton to share our story with the community in Compton. BCS volunteers create an incredible escape room opportunity for the community.
In October, Breaking Code Silence goes to Washington DC and meets with Congress to seek support for ACCA.
BCS + THINK OF US
EDUCATIONAL ATTORNEY CONFERENCE
PRESENTATION AT COSA
Breaking Code Silence joins Think of Us for a live panel discussion about the issues concerning those with lived experience in congregate care facilities and the need for reform.
In December, Board Member Lenore Silverman and members of her team, including Sterling Elmore, present on Defending Demands for Residential Placement to the California Council of School Attorneys.
In March, Lenore Silverman of Breaking Code Silence presents on Defending Demands for Residential Placements The Council of School Attorneys.