Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention

February 2014

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in New York and across the nation. As educators and professionals working in positions with direct contact or impact on young adults, or current or future parents, we must be aware of this issue and learn the risk factors and warning signs. Akin to domestic violence and the workplace, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault are among the most significant problems on college campuses today, compromising safety for all on campus. Each year, 1 in 10 American teenagers suffers physical violence at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend, and many others are sexually or emotionally abused. While girls and young women ages 16-24 are at the highest risk, dating violence can affect anyone. The federal Centers for Disease Control calls dating violence a public health problem.

This year, the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) launched the social media campaign “Send a Candy Heart” to encourage teens and adults to pledge specific ways they will work to end dating violence and encourage healthy relationships. All through February, you may use any social media site to send a message, picture, or video, to express your pledge to end teen dating violence. Renew your commitment to preventing abuse, support survivors, hold offenders accountable, and build a culture of respect.

Respect Love, Love Respect is the name of the OPDV’s new dating abuse prevention efforts, website and Facebook page. It has information and resources empowering you to help teen victims or someone you know, and engage your community.