Teen Violence Awareness

Teen violence awareness is emphasized on the national and local levels by groups large and small, making teen violence a topic that teens and others have more information about and are equipped to deal with. Learn about teen violence awareness events and programs.

Why Is Teen Violence Awareness Necessary?

The CDC (Center for Disease Control), along with other agencies and experts, consider teen violence as a public health issue of serious dimensions. Self-reports indicate that a tenth of high school students reported to the CDC on a survey that in the past year, their boyfriend or girlfriend had intentionally slapped, hit, or physically hurt them in some other way. The Teen Research Unlimited survey that Liz Clairborne, Inc. commissioned on dating violence in tweens and teens, reported in 2008 that more than a quarter of teens overall reported name calling and put-downs from boyfriends or girlfriends, but the statistic rose to more than half of teens who had sex by the time they turned 14. Because teen dating violence, in particular, often is unreported, raising consciousness about the issue is considered essential.

National Teen Violence Awareness

In 2004, and for each year since, Congress passed a resolution to designate the first week of February as “National Teen Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.”  Prompted by a group of teens, who wanted to stop teen dating violence, and with the support of the American Bar Association, it became a widespread movement, which in 2010 was recognized by more than 50 organizations at the national, state, and local levels. However, 2010 also was the year in which there was a change. Due to the importance of the issue, rather than just the first week of February, the complete month was designated, and the name was changed to be “Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.”

Local Teen Violence Awareness Efforts

Local teen violence awareness events start in all kinds of ways. Some events are one-offs, and others are well-coordinated, recurring campaigns. For example, one South Dakota girl planned to have a benefit concert for a safehouse, and when she had second thoughts, her older brother and a friend carried the idea to fruition, raising over $300. In Florida, the grandmother of the teen from South Florida who was purposely set on fire in 2009 gave a speech, and the day was locally designated ”Teen Violence Awareness Day” in Wilton Manors, Florida.  In Chicago, the Police Department’s Domestic Violence Program sponsors “Prom Party with a Purpose,” which combines a chance for teens to receive accessories and clothing for their proms with information to prompt awareness of teen violence-related issues.

Break the Cycle is a national nonprofit organization that works to help teens have safe, healthy relationships. They promote teen violence awareness year-round, with website information, programs, preventive education, advocacy, and crisis services. The National Center for the Victims of Crime (NCVC) Dating Violence Resource Center, is another group that addresses teen violence awareness year round. NCVC offers conferences, training, victim assistance, help with litigation, and informational articles and editorials.

The Teen Dating Violence Prevention Project of the National Resource Cneter for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month provides information and materials about teen dating violence, and keeps track of the locales - both states and small entities - in the United States that have joined with Congress in recognizing “Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.”  On June 14, 2010, the count stood at 67 locales in addition to the United States overall. This included the states of Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.



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