January 28, 2010

New Focus On Teen Dating Violence

Crapo, Lieberman, Whitehouse call for activities, awareness

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate is bringing an expanded focus on teen dating violence through a resolution unanimously passed by the Senate earlier this week and championed by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and others. S.Res. 373 designates the month of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, expanding the previous Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week (held the first full week of February).

Crapo worked with Lieberman, Whitehouse and Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and David Vitter (R-Louisiana) to win unanimous passage of the legislation that calls for prioritizing efforts to stop teen dating violence and outlines some of the disturbing trends regarding teen dating violence.

"Statistics show one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner," Crapo said. "We intend to increase our focus on stopping this form of domestic violence against all victims by expanding this national awareness to a full month and repeat our call to protect federal dollars designated to help all victims of domestic violence."

The Senate Resolution approved unanimously by the Senate calls on communities to "empower teens to develop healthier relationships" and promote programs and activities to draw attention to the issue that puts teen victims at risk for "substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide, and adult revictimization."

The Resolution says that "nationwide, 1 in 10 high school students (9.9 percent) has been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend of girlfriend." It calls for awareness among parents and children and community events on the issue and notes that abuse can keep victims from attending school and result in psychological problems later in life.