February wraps up Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month|
Posted 2/20/2013 Updated 2/20/2013
by Matt Nicoli
Family Advocacy Program
2/20/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month and the Family Advocacy Program wants to ensure families know how to detect and support loved ones in the case of teen dating violence.
According to the National Teen Dating Violence Prevention Initiative, nearly 25 percent of 14 to 17 year olds surveyed know at least one student who was a victim of dating violence, while 11 percent know multiple victims. Thirty-three percent of teens have actually witnessed such an event.
The initiative defines teen dating violence as the negative act between two adolescents that result in a mental, physical and emotional situation that harms one or both people in the relationship. It is any behavior in a romantic or intimate relationship that is intended to establish an unequal balance of power and control and includes verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, economic and social harm to one or both people. It refers to any act committed by one partner against another in a dating or intimate relationship that is committed to degrade or injure the other partner and that takes away or destroys the aspects of a healthy relationship.
According to www.eap.partners.org, the following are tips for parents regarding the issue of teen violence:
- It is never too early to teach self-respect. No one has the right to tell the teenager who to see, what to do or what to wear. No one has the right to hit or control anyone else.
- Parents should give their teenager a chance to talk and listen quietly to the whole story.
- If parents suspect their teenager is already involved with an abusive partner, they should tell them that they are there to help, not to judge. If the teenager does not want to talk with the parents, they should help them find another trusted person to talk with.
- Parents should focus on the teen and not put down the abusive partner. Point out how unhappy the teenager seems to be while with this person.
- If the teenager tries to break up with an abusive partner, advise that the break be definite and final. Support the teenager's decision and be ready to help. Get advice from teen dating violence prevention counselors or teen hotlines on how to support them through a relationship break up.
- Take whatever safety measures are necessary. Have friends available so the teenager does not have to walk alone. Consider changing class schedules or getting help from the school guidance counselor, school principle or the police if necessary.
The following agencies can be contacted to help teens and families cope with abuse:
- The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 866-331-9474
- Peer Listening Line, Fenway Community Health Center (for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender youth): 1-800-327-5050
- SafeLink, Massachusetts statewide domestic violence hotline program: 877-785-2020
- Domestic Violence Service Network: 1-888-399-6111
- REACH, serving metro west Boston: 1-800-899-4000
For further information or questions, contact the Family Advocacy Program at 781-225-6385.