The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with Break the Cycle, a national nonprofit organization committed to educating the public about dating abuse, has called for Americans to pay more attention to dating violence problems in February. In fact, February is being recognized as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic violence is a serious problem for people of all ages these days, but the problem often starts with younger people. Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by young people, including teens and preteens, who may not know any better and who may not realize that they are exerting this kind of abusive control over their dating partner. Sometimes the violence involves abusive words; other times, the violence involves physical actions that result in serious injuries.
The National Institute of Justice recently indicated that more than one out of every 10 teenagers reported that their boyfriend or girlfriend had physically abused them in the past year. This kind of physical violence being committed against partners is a very real problem with the potential to escalate as the perpetrators of the violence grow older and gain more independence in college and beyond.
Whether a victim of dating violence has been physically abused, verbally or emotionally abused, or sexually abused, it is imperative that they feel empowered to speak out against their attacker, as well as to communicate the problem to the people around them who might be able to help.
One of the motivations of the sponsors of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is to make sure that young people gain an awareness of domestic violence issues, in addition to recognition of the problems that can plague young people in relationships, including physical abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence.
Break the Cycle, the sponsor of the February program, has suggested a few ways that parents, teachers and schools can make teenagers aware of teen dating violence issues this month:
- Parents can talk with their teenage children about healthy relationships
- Teachers can hold classroom discussions about dating violence and prevention options
- Teachers can invite speakers into their classrooms to discuss the problem of teen dating violence
- Schools can create policies that support healthy relationships
For additional information, check out the Healthfinder.gov site devoted to “Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.”
If you or a loved one has been accused of domestic violence or is facing a restraining order in New Jersey, you need to speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. can help you answer the charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.