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Crapo: More Outreach, Education Needed on Teen Dating Violence

Senate Resolution notes poll showing one in three teen girls victims of abuse

Washington, D.C. - Cases of teen dating violence throughout the country are unfortunately on the rise as one-third of teenagers have reported being physically, emotionally or verbal abused by a dating partner, according to a recent Liz Claiborne survey. In response to this alarming statistic, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is taking action by introducing a Senate resolution designating February 2011 as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month."

"Sadly, polls and statistics show that teenagers exposed to dating violence only continue to increase. It is critical that parents, enforcement officials, counselors and community leaders work together to discuss these issues with pre-teens and teens," Crapo said.

Due to the increased use of technology and lack of discussion surrounding this issue, parents are often unaware of signs of teen dating violence. The same Liz Claiborne poll revealed that while 82 percent of parents were confident that they could recognize dating abuse involving children, 58 percent could not identify all of the signs of abuse.

According a National Crime Prevention Council survey, 43 percent of middle and high-school students reported experiencing cyber bullying in the past year. "The increased use of technology only facilitates this abuse as more and more teens have received threats and unwanted text messages that include intimidation, threats, or worse content."

Abuse that begins at an early age establishes a foundation for violence, which creates a perpetual cycle. "Statistics show that girls abused at a younger age are more likely to experience more severe forms of violence at a later age," Crapo said.

According to another Liz Claiborne poll, over half of college students who were victims of dating violence failed to realize that they were in abusive relationships. "Equally alarming is that more than half of college students who responded to this survey said that no one was there to help them."

The resolution, co-sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut), calls for leaders to encourage healthier relationships in their communities and for youth, parents, schools, law enforcement and community groups to mark February as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month" as a way to generate discussion and action on the issue.