Last month my teenage daughter’s school provided information on teen dating violence. I had no idea what a problem this issue was, and wanted to learn what resources are available to get help for young people in abusive dating relationships.
Last month was Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month which was created by Congress to give Americans the tools to prevent relationship abuse by building healthy relationships. Although teenagers may not be married, or even necessarily in serious relationships, dating physical abuse is considered an act of domestic violence.
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All teens, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic background, are vulnerable to relationship violence. Our youth need to be educated to recognize that any act of violence is wrong and illegal. Often a victim is hit, threatened or verbally abused by their partner, but they do not perceive themselves as being in an abusive relationship.
Teen victims of domestic violence need intensive and specialized services. I sponsored a conference on teenage dating violence last month stressing the scars caused by domestic violence. Workshops are also offered around the city, some of which are organized by Women Against Violence, which teach about the signs of abuse. Generally, the most prevalent sign is fear of your partner. As a parent it is important to know what to look for in your child’s relationship. Try to keep an open dialogue with your teen about the concerns that you have. Be prepared to learn things that you may not necessarily expect and that may be difficult to hear. As a parent/guardian your love, support and guidance will be necessary to help your child through this difficult time.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact our
Teen Dating Violence Coordinator Farahnaz Rodriguez at (718)
250-3016. Also, you can
file a police report at your local precinct or come directly to our
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