Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

GirlStrength Program Description



GirlStrength Class 


GirlStrength Program Description


Fostering Awareness, Demystifying Fear, and Empowering Girls to be Strong & Confident!


What is GirlStrength?

GirlStrength is a new self-defense program for girls 10-14 years of age. It is a sister program of the Portland Police Bureau's WomenStrength program and shares the same philosophy that has been so important in the success of WomenStrength. For over 29 years, WomenStrength has offered free self-defense classes and workshops for women in the Portland area. Like WomenStrength, GirlStrength offers:


  • Free self-defense classes and workshops for schools.
  • Free workshops for organized groups & girls 10 years or older who live in the Portland area.
  • Self-defense classes that focus equally on non-physical strategies and physical skills.
  • Classes that offer a safe environment for all students both physically and emotionally.
  • The standard practice of female instructors teaching girls/women.
  • Collaborative team teaching.
  • Fun and interactive classes that are as much about empowerment as they are about self-defense.


GirlStrength Topics

  • Foster awareness and assertiveness to help keep girls safe.
  • Demystify fear around safety that has been built into our media-driven society.
  • Build confidence to ensure that girls grow up believing in themselves.
  • Provide girls with physical self-defense skills and non-physical escape options.
  • Make learning fun and give girls the opportunity to enjoy being a girl!


GirlStrength Classes

  • Are free and generally offered to girls 10-14 years of age.
  • Are taught by trained GirlStrength volunteer instructors.
  • Are organized and coordinated by the GirlStrength Coordinator.
  • Are twelve hours in length and are taught over an eight week period as:
  • o Two 45 minute sessions per week
  • o One 90 minute session per week

Are driven by weekly themes that include:


  • Assertiveness
  • Self-esteem building
  • Boundary setting
  • Identifying dangerous situations
  • Safety planning
  • Sexual assault and dating violence
  • Digital violence



GirlStrength Workshops

  • Are free for girls ages 10-17 and are offered to any organized group that supports girls.
  • Are taught by trained GirlStrength volunteers.
  • Are generally 2-4 hours in length (offered in one or two sessions).
  • Focus on non-physical prevention strategies and confidence building.