The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault will speak with middle and high school students and their parents about healthy dating relationships throughout the month of February in honor of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Week, Feb. 1-5.
The Hailey-based organization has teamed with the Idaho Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Project, a collaboration among several nonprofit groups and the Idaho Department of Education, to eliminate the prevalence of teen dating violence. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, spearheaded the nationwide initiative to increase public awareness through a resolution passed by the Senate in 2008.
"Dating violence can happen to anyone and new research shows that it is epidemic," said the Advocates' children's program coordinator, Darrel Harris. "Community education and awareness are key to addressing and preventing teen dating violence."
According to a press release from the Advocates, dating violence is a pattern of abusive or aggressive behavior used in a dating relationship by one partner to control the other.
The 2009 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that:
· More than 10 percent of Idaho high school students have been hit, slapped or physically hurt by their boyfriend or girlfriend.
· More than 9 percent of Idaho high school students have been forced to have unwanted sexual intercourse.
· More than 17 percent of Idaho high school students report being electronically bullied in the past 12 months.
Teens who are victims of dating violence are more likely to report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting and sexual activity, the Advocates stated.