Teen Dating Abuse
Counseling for Teens and Young Adults
An estimated one in four teens will experience dating abuse. Studies show the rates among college students are even higher. The Dating Abuse Prevention Program (DAPP) of JBWS helps teens and young adults to identify types of abuse, provides emotional support and safety planning, and helps them to identify warning signs of abusive relationships. Counselors who specialize in working with young people can provide help over the phone and in private sessions at a school or a confidential location. The services are free and confidential. Counselors can be reached by calling the 24-hour helpline. Read Information for Teens to learn more.
Counseling for Parents
When an adolescent or young adult is involved in an abusive relationship, parents can play an important role in supporting them and keeping them safe. However, finding a balance between protecting young people and respecting their growing independence is a difficult task. DAPP counselors help parents to 1)understand the dynamics of abusive relationships; 2) recognize the danger signs of abuse; 3) improve communication with their child; 4) act as a resource for their child; and 4) utilize school and community resources. The support and influence of parents helps children and adolescents to engage in balanced, rewarding, and loving relationships. To speak with a DAPP counselor, please call the helpline.
JBWS Shares Its Expertise on Teen Dating Violence with the NJ Fatality Review Board
An estimated 1 in 3 high school girls will be a victim of dating abuse. As a result, these girls also have a higher rate of substance abuse, unplanned pregnancy, risky sexual behavior, unhealthy weight control and suicidality, according to a 2001 American Medical Association study. This same study suggested that a disturbing number of adolescent boys “have adopted attitudes that men are entitled to control their girlfriends through violence.”
The twenty-member NJ Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board program director Maggie-lou Mari, MPA, said the Board is examining a series of cases involving young people between the ages of 17 and 23 and invited Dating Abuse Prevention Coordinator for JBWS Monique Pearlman to educate them on the dynamics of dating and domestic violence for this particular age group.
“People are becoming better informed about domestic violence but are still surprised when similar dynamics occur in teen dating relationships,” explains Pearlman. “I presented information on these similarities as well as the developmental differences for teens and emphasized the high risk situations.” For the past eight years, Pearlman has been presenting and supervising the JBWS teen prevention program in area schools that reaches nearly 8,000 teens each year. She provides counseling for teens and their caregivers and runs several support groups on dating abuse in the local high schools and community based programs.
Numerous studies have found that witnessing inter-parental violence put teens (especially males) at high risk for being abusive in their relationships as well as being victimized. The Fatality Review Board’s 2010 Annual Report revealed that 81% (13) of the teen suicides reviewed included family or relationship crisis or conflicts.
Established in 1977, the principal objective of the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board is to provide an impartial review of individual case circumstances and to develop recommendations for broad-based systemic, policy, and legislative revisions for the purpose of preventing future tragedies.
A Letter from the Executive Director
Dear parents, students, teachers, youth leaders, and concerned adults:
I am a mother of two teenage daughters and, like most parents, when I go into worry mode, I think about careless and inexperienced driving, alcohol and drugs, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.
What’s not on parents’ list of concerns is dating abuse, a common problem affecting an estimated one in three teenagers. The violence is very real. Consider these statistics:
- Approximately 50 percent of youth say they are personally affected by the issue, either by being in an abusive relationship or knowing someone who is, according to DoSomething.org 2009.
- One in three teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically injured by their partner, according to a Liz Claiborne Inc. – Teenage Research Unlimited Feb. 2005 study.
- That study also reported that one in five teenage girls in relationships said their boyfriends threatened violence or self-harm if the girl tried to end the relationship.
- And one in three teens will stay in that abusive relationship after the first act of violence.
The last people most of the victims of dating violence turn to are their parents, who according to their kids, usually do not talk to them about healthy relationships.
Parents, however, can broach the subject with their kids. I urge parents and concerned adults to talk to teens about their right to be safe and happy in a relationship and how to recognize early warning signs of abuse.
Visit our website home page for links to how you can start the conversation with your teen, ideas for what youth group leaders, teachers and adolescent service providers can do, service project ideas for youth and how you can promote teen dating violence preventative education.
Together we can make a difference!
Parent and Executive Director of the
Jersey Battered Women’s Service