Teen dating violence (TDV) has surfaced as a significant public health issue as incidence of TDV has escalated substantially in recent years. Research by the U.S. Department of Justice (2003) found that one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship. Furthermore, in recent national surveys, nearly ten percent of high school students reported being purposefully hit, slapped or physically injured by their partner within the past year (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey).
Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide are coming together to highlight the need to educate young people about dating violence, teach healthy relationship skills and prevent the devastating cycle of abuse.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Similar to domestic violence, teen dating violence is a repeated pattern of mental, physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse where one dating partner makes the other partner feel scared, weak, isolated, hurt, or sad.
However, young adults in abusive relationships face unique barriers to getting the help they need, including:
- A need for independence that makes many teens unwilling to turn to an adult authority figure for help
- Inexperience with intimate relationships that may make it difficult to assess and identify abusive behavior
- An inability to avoid the abuser because they attend the same school or have the same friends.
Teen Dating Violence Prevention in Illinois:
- The state of Illinois passed a law (HB3379) mandating that public schools must provide teen dating violence prevention programs for students in 7th through 12th grades.
- Illinois law allows minors to receive up to five 45-minute counseling sessions on their own. For additional counseling, parental consent is required.
For more information/resources check out the following:
- Break the Cycle - http://teendvmonth.org/2015/teendv/
- Between Friends - http://www.betweenfriendschicago.org/index.html
- Reach 4 Friends – www.reach4friends.org