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National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Dating Abuse Resources for Teens

As any parent knows, it can be difficult to communicate with your teen, especially when it comes to a sensitive topic like dating violence. Perhaps you’re not quite sure what to say, or maybe your teen doesn’t seem to want to talk.

Whatever stage you and your teen are going through in discussing and learning about dating violence — whether you want to teach them about healthy relationships for the future, or you’re concerned with a relationship they are currently in and want to give them advice — there are plenty of resources that can be really helpful.

From phone numbers and victim services centers, to online pamphlets and sites, we’ve put together a list of some of the best resources for teens. Share them with your teen and look at them together, or simply pass them on.


Who to Call

  • National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054. Call or text with peer advocates, or contact them using this confidential online form or Live Chat

What to Read

Online Interactive

Spread the Knowledge

Other Organizations

  • loveisrespect: Advice and info on healthy dating, to empower youth and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships. loveisrespect is connected with The National Dating Abuse Helpline, which can be reached 24/7 via call or text (See: Who to Call)
  • Boys Town: Boys Town works to reunite children with their families when possible, or give them the skills and foundation needed to build a life on their own. They strive to help every child, “from those who may simply be struggling or in doubt to those who are in need of the most severe behavioral care”
  • National Runaway Safeline: If you’re thinking about leaving home, or you have and are seeking information and help, the Safeline is one of the top resources for runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth and their families
  • Trevor Project: The national crisis lifeline for LGBTQ teens and adults. They have suicide prevention services for youth in digital spaces, counseling via IM, and a large online social network for LGBTQ people
  • 1 is 2 many: Launched by Vice President Joe Biden, this initiative uses technology and outreach to spread knowledge about dating violence and sexual assault among teens and young adults
  • TeenWire: In addition to information about healthy and unhealthy relationships, TeenWire has resources about everything from body image to sexual health
  • ShowMeLoveDC: A campaign to raise awareness about healthy relationships and provide resources for LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence
  • Northwest Network: A network founded by and for LGBTQ survivors, focused on safety, support, and empowerment
  • The Anti-Violence Project: AVP offers free and confidential assistance to thousands of LGBTQ people each year in all five boroughs of New York City
  • A Thin Line: An MTV campaign created to empower teens to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse
National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Celebrate Healthy Relationships This Valentine’s Day

On the surface, the focus of Valentine’s Day seems to be teddy bears and gifts but the deeper meaning of the day lies in relationships — the one you have with yourself and those you have with others. Today, take time to reflect on the different people in your life and your relationships with them. Are you being an active participant in all of your relationships? A good friend, parent or partner?

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the healthy relationships in your life by realizing what makes them great and by thinking of ways you could make them even better. Here are some ideas for how to deepen the bonds you share with your loved ones.

For your friends:
Are your friendships two-sided, with each of you giving the other support? Take time today to make sure you’re being the best friend you can be. Be there for your buddies in a way that’s focused on them. Practice “active listening”  by using clarifying phrases to make sure you know what they are saying. For example,”What I’m hearing you say is _______. Is that right?”  Use eye contact during a conversation. Don’t assume anything, and don’t spend time planning what you’ll say next instead of listening to what they’re saying now.

For you:
There’s no better time to focus on self-care than this Valentine’s Day. Give yourself the gift of paying a little more attention to #1 today (yes, that’s you!). By working on having a strong, healthy relationship with yourself, you’ll be better equipped to thrive in healthy relationships with friends and loved ones.

If you are a survivor of an abusive relationship and today is a difficult time for you, make sure to focus on your well-being and try to steer clear of things that will remind you of an ex, like the place you always went to dinner together, or a song you both loved.  If you’re worried that you might be tempted to your ex, schedule activities with friends to keep you busy and have people you can call. Don’t forget that we’re available at The Hotline, toll free, and 24/7. Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233).

For your community:
February is a great time to give back in some way to your community, because it’s National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. One of the best ways to get the word out is to talk to the schools in your community — attend a PTA meeting and bring handouts for example. Download the teenDVmonth Toolkit which includes pledges, “how to” guides, prep manuals and more.

For your children:
In fostering a healthy relationship with your children, communication and dialogue are key. Take today to talk about healthy dating with your children and the young people in your life. Explain to them that in a healthy relationship, both partners feel free to be themselves and set the boundaries they want. Partners should respect these boundaries and be supportive of each others differences. Stress the importance of communication — and let it begin with this conversation between the two of you. If they want to text or talk on the phone to an advocate their own age, they can call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 77054.

For your partner:
Healthy relationships are all about respecting and honoring boundaries, but when you’re in a close relationship with someone this might sometimes fall by the wayside. Today, make a special effort to honor your partner’s boundaries, big or small. Does it drive them crazy when you leave the dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher? Are they bothered when you show up late to places? Make that extra little effort to try respect their needs, even if it’s as simple as washing dishes and setting your watch back a few minutes. Honoring your partner’s boundaries now will prevent the little things from turning into bigger things later on — it will be a gift for both of you!

What are some ways you plan on celebrating the relationships in your life?

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

What is a Healthy Relationship?

“Healthy relationships.” This is a term we’re going to be talking about more on The Hotline blog. We want all of our callers to have healthy relationships in their lives.

What exactly do we mean by healthy though? And who decides what is healthy and what’s not? In the coming weeks, we want to look at what makes a healthy relationship so healthy, and what steps can be taken to improve the health of a relationship.

What Is Healthy?

Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected but still feel independent. Here are some signs of a healthy relationship.

Both partners:

  • Treat each other with respect
  • Feel supported to do things they like
  • Don’t criticize each other
  • Allow each other to spend time with friends and family
  • Listen to each other and compromise
  • Share some interests such as movies, sports, reading, dancing or music
  • Aren’t afraid to share their thoughts and feelings
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and successes
  • Respect boundaries and do not abuse technology
  • Trust each other and don’t require their partner to “check in”
  • Don’t pressure the other to do things that they don’t want to do
  • Don’t constantly accuse each other of cheating or being unfaithful

There are two major components of healthy relationships: communication and boundaries.

Communication allows you and your partner to have a deep understanding of each other. Do you feel that you can openly talk to your partner? Do you feel heard when you express your feelings? Do you allow your partner the same chance? Communication allows two people to connect.

Setting boundariesis also an important part of a healthy relationship. There are two distinct people in a relationship. While a couple should have shared goals and values, it also matters that both people have their needs met. Each person should express to their partner what they are and are not comfortable with, especially when it comes to their sex life, finances, family and friends, personal space and time.

Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to voice your concerns to your partner.

Stay tuned for more information about healthy relationships. How do you define “healthy relationships?” If you need support in your relationship, don’t hesitate to call a Hotline advocate today at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).

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On the Lines- loveisrespect, September 2010

My caller was 15 years old, in her first dating relationship. A friend of hers had sent her a link in a Facebook message: “Does Your Relationship Need a Make-Over?” She had taken the quiz, and the results were a little disturbing for her.

She told me that her boyfriend was pretty cool in front of other people, but he got jealous easily. He got angry and called her names when she talked to other guys at social events. He went through her phone to see who she had called and texted. He threatened to dump her if she hung out with her guy friends, but he would throw or punch things if she mentioned breaking up with him.

“My friend is protective and hates the way my boyfriend treats me, but I never thought much of it until I saw it in black and white on the quiz. I just thought this was how dating was supposed to be.”

I told my caller that she didn’t have to put up with controlling behavior in order to be in a relationship; she deserves to be treated with respect.  We talked about the dynamics of a healthy relationship and some of the red flags in her relationship.

“Thanks,” the caller said at the end of the call. “I’m glad my friend sent me that quiz, but I’m really glad that I called. It’s good to know that I have options.”

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Happy Father’s Day

Fathers play an important role in both the domestic violence movement and in teaching their children about healthy relationships. Kenny Wallace, NASCAR driver and friend of The Hotline, once explained the responsibility he felt as a supportive husband and father. “I want to send out the message that hitting is never acceptable and to be respectful of your loved ones,” said Wallace. “I want to set an example as a loving husband and father that any type of violence is never ok.”

Fathers who model respectful relationship behaviors and talk about domestic violence with their children, help further prevention efforts by educating the next generation. Men’s groups like Men Against Violence, Men Can Stop Rape, Men Rally For Change and countless other men’s organizations are doing inspiring work to promote healthy relationships and end domestic violence and sexual assault.

To celebrate Father’s Day, we want to highlight some important ways that a father’s behavior positively affects his children.

Fathers Help Early Learning

Babies learn rapidly from everything they experience. Did you know that the number of words a father uses when a child is two years old impacts the child’s vocabulary a year later? (see source 1) Fathers can be very crucial to a baby’s development, influencing everything from the child’s social skills to their ability to problem solve. (2) Because early development has a profound influence on the child’s life, fathers who promote happy relationships in their home help make sure that their child is in both an environment, and mental place, conducive to learning.

Fathers Can Teach Healthy Behavior

Talking to children about what relationships should look like is as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street. Children should know how to be safe in every area of his or her life. By opening a dialogue, dedicated dads can have a positive impact on a child’s understanding of relationships.

Fathers Can Provide an Anchor

A father can be a steady and calming presence in a child’s life. Children whose fathers are committed to them and their family have an established sense of reliability and devotion in their understanding of loving and caring for another person. Children will know that they can turn to a parent in times of trouble, for example, if a child is experiencing dating abuse. Having parents who will listen and help allows children the chance to safely express their feelings and get the support they need.

Fathers Can Model Healthy Behaviors
Because actions speak louder than words, showing respect to others in front of children is the easiest way to incorporate respectful behavior into his or her daily routine. Fathers often teach without words by demonstrating to their kids how to respond in different situations by communicating effectively and managing conflict well themselves. We all learn by examples, and fathers can be motivational examples for their children.

Father’s Day doesn’t only celebrate dads, but all positive male figures in our lives. We appreciate everything fathers and other supportive men do to help children and families lead healthy and happy lives. Have a safe and special Father’s Day!

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Valentine is a Healthy Relationship

The most popular gifts loved ones give each other for Valentine’s day are roses, chocolates and jewelry. Yes, it is nice to get the flowers and treats, but it is also nice to know that you are in a loving and secure relationship. The best gift you can give a loved one is the gift of a healthy relationship year-round.

Here are some tips to a healthy relationship:

  • Be respectful, thoughtful and kind. This sounds simple enough but there are times when our own emotions get in the way and we take out our stress and anger on those we love.
  • Be honest and talk openly with each other if something is bothering you. If there is conflict, see if there is a compromise that suits you both.
  • Be supportive of each other’s successes and also be there for one another when things don’t go quite right.
  • Maintain your own identities and spend some time apart so that you do not become dependent on each other and isolated from friends and family.

If you’re a parent, remember that maintaining a healthy relationship is also good for your children. They mimic what they see at home so show them through your own relationship what they should look for in a partner. It is never too early to talk with your children about how to develop a healthy relationship.

Consider these goals for teaching your children about relationships:

  • Ensure they respect other people and other people’s property.
  • Show them how to address a situation that makes them angry without using violence or angry words.
  • If they have a problem with a friend, talk to them about compromises.
  • Teach them that there are consequences for our actions. Kids need to know this, even at an early age.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship but you should strive for a healthy relationship that makes you happy and doesn’t cause you an inordinate amount of stress. Everyone deserves love, dignity and respect in their relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

New Partnership Launches Ultimate Healthy Relationship Resource

Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline announced today that they are joining forces to create a powerful and comprehensive online destination to engage, educate and empower teens and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships: loveisrespect.org.

Break the Cycle has provided training, education, online resources, advocacy and activism for teens and young adults for over 15 years.  The National Dating Abuse Helpline first started taking online chats and calls in February 2007. With these two groups joining forces, teens and young adults will have one comprehensive site that gives them resources, articles, chats and all the information they need to make informed decisions about their relationships.

Loveisrespect.org posted a video that talks more about the partnership or you can read the press release for more information.

announcement

New Partnership Launches Ultimate Healthy Relationship Resource

Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline, the Two Most Respected Dating Violence Advocates, Join Forces to Create the Most Powerful Online Healthy-Dating Resource for Teens and Young Adults in the United States, loveisrespect.org

Feb. 8, 2011 – Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline, a project of the National Council on Family Violence, are joining forces to create the most comprehensive online destination to engage, educate and empower teens and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships–loveisrespect.org.

Break the Cycle is the nation’s leading organization addressing dating abuse with more than 15 years of providing training, education, online resources, advocacy and activism. The National Dating Abuse Helpline provides the only peer-to-peer online chat in the country where trained advocates give advice to other teens and young adults.

Teen dating violence is an urgent, silent epidemic. One in three teens will experience abuse in a dating relationship and more than two-thirds of them will never report it to anyone.

“Break the Cycle’s extensive experience serving teens and young adults, in collaboration with the National Dating Abuse Helpline’s one of a kind chat service offers a new nationwide response to dating violence,” said Marjorie Gilberg, Executive Director of Break the Cycle. “This revolutionary partnership will establish loveisrespect.org as the ultimate online source of help and information for teens and young adults.”

“We are thrilled to launch this innovative partnership and project,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the National Dating Abuse Helpline and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Partnering with Break the Cycle will broaden and enhance services and resources available for the thousands of teens and young adults who contact us at loveisrepect.org.”

A National Advisory Board composed of a diverse group of youth and culturally specific service providers will enhance the partnership by providing feedback on how to best serve teens and young adults.

Loveisrespect.org will help teens and young adults, ages 12-24 navigate the spectrum of healthy relationship behaviors. Young people will learn there are options, answers and support available to them every hour of every day. Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline are designing the site specifically for young people, emphasizing confidentiality and trust to ensure teens nationwide feel safe and supported – online and off.

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About National Dating Abuse Helpline

The National Council on Family Violence launched the National Dating Abuse Helpline in 2007 with funding from Liz Claiborne, Inc. and serves as an innovative source of support and resources for teens and young adults involved in abusive dating relationships, their peers, parents, teachers and friends. The Helpline offers services to young people across the country who are experiencing dating abuse and are seeking to engage in healthy relationships by utilizing the technologies they use most often: web, chat and telephone. Young men and women can anonymously contact trained peer-to-peer advocates by telephone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-331-9474 or online via live chat at www.loveisrespect.org.

About Break the Cycle

Break the Cycle believes everyone has the right to safe and healthy relationships. As the leading voice for teens on the issue of dating violence, Break the Cycle advocates for policy and legislative changes that will better protect the rights and promote the health of teens nationwide. Engaging, educating and empowering youth through prevention and intervention programs, Break the Cycle helps young people identify and build healthy relationships. For more information, please visit www.breakthecycle.org or call 310-286-3383.

Contact: Susan Risdon at 214-226-6741 or susan@redmediagroup.com