National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week has just concluded. A 2008 report commissioned by Liz Claiborne, Inc. produced some startling findings about the conduct of tweens and teens in relationships. According to the report, about one-third of 11- and 12-year-olds are having relationships. Often these can be hazardous.
- Sixty-two percent report that they know friends who have been verbally abusive in a relationship
- Forty percent report that they know friends in relationships who have been put-down, insulted, or called names through social networking media or text messaging
- Twenty percent say they have friends in relationships who have been punched, slapped, or kicked by a dating partner
When sexual activity at a young age is added to the mix, the results worsen. Tweens seem to have a hard time navigating their roles in relationships and understanding that abuse is not an acceptable or appropriate element. U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R, Idaho) has championed an awareness campaign about teen dating violence. Check Senator Crapo's website for information about the campaign, which is supported by the American Bar Association, and the American Bar Association website for resources on the topic for teachers and other leaders of youths. The Domestic Violence and Workplace blog also has a number of helpful links.
One of the pillars of the National Crime Prevention Council’s mission is protecting children and youth. NCPC has numerous resources, including its Teens, Crime, and the Community curriculum, which dedicates chapters to this important topic and includes the "Dater's Bill of Rights."