February is Teen Dating Violence (DV) Awareness Month! Teen DV Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teens and transitioning young adults relationships.
Dating violence can happen to any teen in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship, and it is more common than many people think. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner every year. In a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, findings indicated that 1 in 10 teens reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once. What is more alarming is that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. Parents and trusting adults (teachers, counselors, healthcare professionals) need to talk to teens about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships.
Without support and awareness, unhealthy relationships can have long term consequences. These behaviors can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence. Moreover, teens who experience dating violence are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and experiment with drugs and alcohol. Studies suggest that teens who experience dating victimization are at higher risk for victimization during adulthood.
There are many organizations that provide direct services and support to youth and transitioning young adults who experience dating violence. These organizations can also provide information to adults and caregivers as well.
National Dating Abuse Helpline: Provides 24-hour national web-based and telephone resources to help teens experiencing dating abuse. Young people (as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement and service providers) anywhere in the country can call toll free, 1-866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 22522, or log on to the interactive website, loveisrespect.org, and receive immediate, confidential assistance.
Break the Cycle is a national nonprofit organization that provides preventive dating and domestic violence education and outreach to teens and young adults.
Love is Not Abuse campaign includes comprehensive resources for parents, a digital abuse curriculum and tips for engaging men and boys.
On a final note, Love is Respect is bringing awareness with its theme "Love = Setting Boundaries," because boundaries are an important part of every healthy relationship. Explore some of the conversation and resources, including an upcoming webinar on February 25, 2016 available on the website.