We are thrilled to announce the opening of nominations for our seven distinguished awards of the Freedom Express Awards. Each of these awards is designed to acknowledge the unyielding dedication of individuals in the realm of cult awareness, survivor support, and societal change. Join us in celebrating these categories and nominating the deserving individuals who embody the spirit of each award. This is our inaugural year of many to come.
- Research and Innovation Award
- Compassionate Counselor Award
- Champion of Change Advocate Award
- Harriet Tubman Peace Medallion
- Elizabeth Chapman Inspirational Survivor Award
- Ethical Media Award
- [TBA] Lifetime Achievement Award
Research and Innovation Award
First up is the Research and Insights Innovator Award. This is a prestigious recognition for the Freedom Express Awards dedicated to honoring exemplary individuals in the academic realm who have delved deep into the intricate dynamics of cults and coercive control. Therefore, this award aims to highlight pioneering research that has expanded our understanding and offers actionable insights for intervention and support.
Nominees should meet the following qualifications:
- Educational Background:
- Hold a Ph.D., Psy.D., or equivalent advanced degree from an accredited institution in psychology, sociology, anthropology, or a related field.
- Research Contribution:
- Have published at least one peer-reviewed article or research paper addressing the topic of cults, coercive control, or related subjects.
- Innovation and Originality:
- Demonstrated ability to introduce new concepts, theories, or methodologies that have advanced our understanding of cult dynamics and coercive control.
- Have showcased a forward-thinking approach, breaking away from traditional paradigms when necessary.
- Practical Application:
- The research should not only be theoretically sound but also have practical implications, providing actionable insights for professionals working directly with victims.
- Demonstrated commitment to translating academic research into tangible strategies for intervention and support.
- Ethical Standards:
- Adherence to ethical guidelines and standards in all research endeavors.
- No record of academic misconduct or unethical behavior.
The Research and Insights Innovator Award is a testament to excellence, perseverance, and commitment in an area requiring depth of knowledge and genuine compassion. Nominees should not only be technically proficient but also driven by a desire to make meaningful changes in the lives of those affected by cults and coercive control.
Compassionate Counselor Award
The Compassionate Counselor Award is a profound recognition. This award honors the unwavering dedication of therapists, psychologists, and counselors who support survivors. For example, the awardee has experience weaving empathy, expertise, and care; these professionals provide an environment where healing thrives.
To ensure this award goes to the most deserving at the Freedom Express Awards, nominees should fulfill the following qualifications:
- Educational and Professional Credentials:
- Hold a degree in psychology, counseling, social work, or a related field from an accredited institution.
- Valid licensure to practice in their respective region or country.
- Clinical Experience:
- Minimum of three years of experience working directly with survivors of cults, coercive control, or related traumatic experiences.
- Therapeutic Innovations:
- Employing innovative therapeutic approaches or techniques tailored to address the unique challenges faced by survivors.
- Professional Development:
- Continually pursuing further education or training focused on trauma-informed care and therapeutic interventions for survivors.
- Community Engagement:
- Active participation in support groups, workshops, or community events to raise awareness or provide resources for survivors.
- Ethical Practice:
- Strict adherence to the ethical guidelines of their professional board or association.
- No record of professional misconduct or unethical behavior.
The Compassionate Counselor Award seeks to celebrate those who possess technical expertise and embody the heart and soul of counseling. Subsequently, nominees should be individuals whose passion and commitment shine brightly, guiding survivors from the shadows of their past toward a future filled with hope and healing.
Champion of Change Advocate Award
Another opportunity for honor is the Champion of Change Advocate Award. This Freedom Express Award spotlights individuals or groups at the forefront of policy advocacy. These champions strive to ensure a safer environment and augmented rights for victims of coercive control and cultic situations.
Nominees should satisfy the following qualifications:
- Background in Policy Advocacy:
- A documented history of involvement in policy advocacy, lobbying, or related activities, preferably emphasizing rights and protection for vulnerable individuals or groups.
- Tangible Policy Impact:
- Success in influencing, amending, or introducing policies, legislation, or regulations directly benefiting victims of coercive control or cultic environments.
- Collaborative Endeavors:
- Evidence of working collaboratively with NGOs, governmental bodies, or other relevant organizations to further the cause.
- Public Awareness Efforts:
- Initiatives taken to raise public awareness on the issues of coercive control and cults, such as organizing campaigns, seminars, workshops, or using media platforms effectively.
- Consistent Commitment:
- A sustained commitment to advocacy efforts over the years, as opposed to one-time or occasional involvement.
- Ethical Standards:
- Strict adherence to ethical and moral principles during all advocacy efforts.
- No record of misinformation, manipulation, or any misconduct that could harm the very individuals they aim to protect.
- Knowledge and Expertise:
- An in-depth understanding of coercive control and cultic situations’ psychological, sociological, and legal facets. Examples are publications, speeches, or active participation in related conferences and seminars.
- Victim-Centric Approach:
- A clear, victim-centric approach in all advocacy efforts ensures that the needs, rights, and well-being of victims are always prioritized.
The Champion of Change Advocate Award aims to commend those who valiantly battle in legislative corridors, ensuring that the voices of the oppressed are not only heard but also acted upon. Nominees for this award should epitomize the spirit of change, relentlessly pursuing a world where every individual is protected from the clutches of coercive control and cultic exploitation.
Harriet Tubman Peace Medallion
With the Freedom Express Awards, the Harriet Tubman Peace Medallion is a revered accolade, drawing inspiration from the courage and commitment Harriet Tubman showcased in liberating countless souls from bondage. Therefore, we seek to recognize mediators and negotiators who, in similar spirit, navigate treacherous terrains to facilitate safe and peaceful departures from coercive groups.
To be deemed worthy of this esteemed recognition, nominees should meet the following qualifications:
- Professional Training:
- Formal training or certification in mediation, negotiation, or conflict resolution from a recognized institution or organization.
- Demonstrated experience in mediating or negotiating exits for individuals from coercive groups, cults, or controlling environments.
- Safety First:
- Proven track record of prioritizing the safety of victims throughout the exit process, ensuring the use of secure protocols and resources.
- Conflict Minimization:
- Effective de-escalation techniques and strategies to minimize conflict, hostility, and potential harm during the exit process.
- Engaging and collaborating with law enforcement, therapists, legal counsel, and other relevant professionals as necessary to ensure the comprehensive well-being of the victim.
- Discretion and Confidentiality:
- Commitment to maintaining the utmost confidentiality and discretion, respecting the privacy and sensitivity of the individuals involved.
- Ethical Standards:
- Strict adherence to ethical principles and professional standards pertinent to mediation and negotiation.
- Subsequently, there are no instances of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals or compromising their safety for personal gain.
- Continuous Learning:
- Reasonably demonstrated commitment to staying updated with the latest techniques, laws, and protocols relevant to helping victims escape coercive environments.
The Harriet Tubman Peace Medallion is not just a token of recognition; it embodies the essence of courage, selflessness, and unwavering commitment to freedom. Nominees for this award should be individuals who, like Tubman, act as beacons of hope and safety for those trapped in chains they did not choose.
Elizabeth Chapman Inspirational Survivor Award
The Elizabeth Chapman Inspirational Survivor Award is a salute to the indomitable spirit of survivors who, despite grappling with their past traumas, channel their experiences into beacons of hope for others. The Freedom Express Awards celebrates those who not only reclaim their lives but also strive to uplift others in their journey.
To be considered for this poignant accolade, nominees should fulfill the following qualifications:
- Documented Survivor:
- Proof or credible account of having survived a coercive group or environment and having overcome the challenges associated with such an experience.
- Positive Initiatives:
- Demonstrated effort in initiating or participating in projects, programs, or initiatives aimed at supporting other survivors. This could include support groups, mentorship programs, workshops, or public speaking engagements.
- Inspirational Impact:
- Accounts or testimonials from individuals who have been positively influenced, inspired, or supported by the nominee.
- Advocacy and Awareness:
- Efforts are made to raise awareness about the dangers of coercive groups, survivors’ challenges, and the paths to recovery. This can be through media appearances, publications, blogs, or community events.
- Continued Engagement:
- Ongoing involvement in the survivor community showcasing a sustained commitment to aiding others in their recovery journeys.
- Ethical Conduct:
- Upholding the principles of honesty, transparency, and integrity in all endeavors. The nominee should not exploit their survivor status or the experiences of others for unjust personal gain.
- Education and Empowerment:
- Efforts to educate the public or specific vulnerable groups about the signs of coercive control and how to safeguard against it.
- Personal Growth and Resilience:
- Demonstrated personal growth, empowerment, and positive coping strategies, serving as a testament to their strength and an example for others.
The Elizabeth Chapman Inspirational Survivor Award is not just about acknowledging past ordeals but celebrating the strength, hope, and transformation that emerges from them. The award was named after the late mother of the founder of the Freedom Train Project. Elizabeth survived domestic violence, trafficking, and more and always worked to better herself and the world around her.
Ethical Media Award
At the Freedom Express Awards, the Ethical Media Award recognizes media professionals who uphold the highest standards of journalism and content creation when shedding light on the deeply sensitive issues of cults and coercive control. In a time when media can be both an instrument of revelation and misinformation, this award seeks to honor those who stand firm in their commitment to truth, integrity, and empathy.
Nominees for this award should meet the following qualifications:
- Professional Background:
- A verifiable background in journalism, podcasting, blogging, or documentary filmmaking with a reputable organization or platform.
- Focused Content:
- A portfolio of work that delves into the issues surrounding cults, coercive control, or related topics, illustrating depth, thoroughness, and a well-researched approach.
- Integrity and Truth:
- Demonstrated commitment to factual accuracy, avoiding sensationalism, and refraining from spreading misinformation or unverified claims.
- Trauma-Informed Care:
- Evidence of employing trauma-informed care when interacting with victims or survivors, ensuring their emotional and psychological well-being is prioritized. This includes respecting anonymity when requested and avoiding retraumatization through sensitive questioning or presentation.
- Balanced Reporting:
- Efforts to present a balanced view, incorporating multiple perspectives and voices to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the issue.
- Ethical Standards:
- Adherence to the codes of ethics pertinent to their profession, such as those of journalist bodies, podcast networks, or film associations.
- No record of violations or ethical breaches related to their work on these topics.
- Community Engagement:
- Actively engaging with the survivor community, support groups, or experts to ensure informative and respectful content.
- At least two recommendations from peers, experts in the field of cults and coercive control, or representatives from survivor support groups vouching for the nominee’s ethical approach and contributions to the discourse.
- Continued Education:
- Demonstrated commitment to staying updated on the latest developments, research, and survivor narratives related to cults and coercive control, ensuring their content remains relevant and informed.
- Evidence that their work has positively impacted raising awareness, influencing policy, or supporting survivors, whether through public response, policy changes, or community feedback.
The Ethical Media Award seeks to champion those media professionals who, through their platforms, give voice to the voiceless, illuminate the obscured, and challenge the accepted narratives, all while upholding the sacred tenets of their craft. Nominees should be paragons of responsible reporting and empathetic storytelling, ensuring that the truth is told with both rigor and compassion.
[TBA] Lifetime Achievement Award
The [TBA] Lifetime Achievement Award, inspired by the tireless endeavors of [TBA] herself, is one of the most distinguished honors in social advocacy. It celebrates those who, through a lifetime of commitment, effect lasting change and uplift marginalized communities.
For an individual to be considered for this momentous accolade, they should embody the following qualifications:
- Sustained Commitment:
- A verifiable track record dedicated to social advocacy, activism, or change, especially concerning the welfare and inclusion of marginalized groups, namely cults or high-control groups.
- Tangible Impact:
- Demonstrable achievements or initiatives that have had a profound impact on marginalized communities, whether through policy changes, community development, or widespread awareness campaigns.
- Having held leadership roles or spearheaded movements, campaigns, or organizations that champion the rights and welfare of marginalized individuals.
- Collaboration & Partnership:
- A history of successful collaborations with NGOs, governmental bodies, community groups, or international organizations to amplify efforts and bring about meaningful change.
- Innovative Approach:
- Introduction or endorsement of innovative solutions, methodologies, or strategies that have significantly enhanced the effectiveness of advocacy efforts.
- Recognition & Awards:
- Having been previously recognized or awarded by reputable bodies for their work in social advocacy and change.
- A history of mentoring, guiding, and supporting the next generation of advocates, ensuring the continuation of the mission.
- Integrity & Ethics:
- Upholding the highest standards of integrity, honesty, and ethics in all endeavors, reflecting [TBA] own principles.
- Continuous Learning:
- Demonstrated commitment to staying updated with global and local issues, research, and best practices to enhance their advocacy efforts.
The [TBA] Lifetime Achievement Award is not just a recognition of past achievements but a celebration of a legacy that will inspire and guide future generations. Nominees should exemplify the spirit of [TBA], showcasing a life dedicated to making the world a more inclusive, compassionate, and just place for everyone.