Get Involved During Teen DV Month

2015-TeenDVAMFebruary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (Teen DV Month). At The Hotline, we know that education goes a long way toward prevention, and having conversations with young people about healthy vs. unhealthy dating behaviors can help stop abuse before it starts.

Did you know:

  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.
  • Eighty one percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

Loveisrespect, our project for teens and young adults, has some great activities lined up for Teen DV Month:

  • The National Youth Advisory Board is hosting Respect Week Feb. 9-13. Teens can download the Respect Week 2015 toolkit for ideas and activities for raising awareness in their schools and communities
  • Wear Orange 4 Love. Encourage friends and family to wear something orange on Tuesday, Feb. 10 – hats, shirts, pants, nail polish, accessories, anything orange will do! Let people know you’re wearing orange to show your support for healthy relationships.
  • Join the Twitter Town Hall, hosted by loveisrespect, on Feb. 12 at 6 PM Central. They’ll be having a conversation about relationship rights. Follow along and participate using the hashtag #RespectWeek2015.
  • Support loveisrespect’s Thunderclap and help spread the National Respect Announcement on Friday, Feb. 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
  • Encourage teens to take the Dating Pledge. The pledge serves as a reminder for teens and a commitment to any current and future partner that they believe love is respect!
  • Participate in #LIRasks on social media. Each Monday in February loveisrespect will ask a question related to that week’s theme on the loveisrespect blog and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Everyone is invited to post responses on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the #LIRasks hashtag. At the end of each week loveisrespect will compile the top responses and share on their blog. Check out the weekly themes:

Week 1: Starting the Conversation About Dating Abuse & Healthy Relationships
Week 2: Know Your Relationship Rights
Week 3: Helping Someone in an Unhealthy or Abusive Relationship
Week 4: Relationships in the Media

Need information or resources on helping the teens in your life? The Hotline has you covered:

We frequently offer support, information and resources to friends and family members of young people affected by dating violence. You can always contact The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or loveisrespect at 1-866-331-9474 any time if you have questions or concerns.


Signs Your Teen May Be in an Abusive Relationship

teen-relationshipIt’s natural for kids to become a bit more secretive during their teen years. They’re maturing, testing boundaries, and learning how to be more independent as they head toward adulthood. Checking in with them regularly to learn about what’s going on in their lives, at school, or with friends is important. But what if you suspect that something unhealthy or even dangerous is happening to your teen? If you start to notice any of the following signs, your teen might be experiencing abuse:

  • Your child’s partner is extremely jealous or possessive to the point where your child stops spending time with other friends and family. When asked how they feel about this, your child might say something like: She thinks my friends don’t like her, so she doesn’t like spending time around them. Or, She thinks they’re a bad influence on me, and she’s just trying to help.
  • You notice unexplained marks or bruises.
  • You notice that your son or daughter is depressed or anxious.
  • Your child stops participating in extracurricular activities or other interests.
  • Your child begins to dress differently; for example, wearing loose clothing because their partner doesn’t like for them to show off their body or attract the attention of someone else.
  • Your child worries if they can’t text/call their partner back right away because their partner might get upset.
  • Your child expresses fear about how their partner will react in a given situation.

Staying tuned in to your teen takes patience, love, and understanding – plus a little bit of effort. If you are concerned about any of your teen’s relationships, reach out and get them talking as soon as possible. There are several ways you can help, including passing along some useful resources.

This month is teenDVmonth, and our advocates are always here if you or your teen have questions. Give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online, Monday through Friday from 9am-7pm CST.


Talking to Teens About Digital Safety

digital-safetyTeens are online a lot these days. Whether they’re updating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, using Snapchat, or “checking in” with various location tools, technology has become highly integrated into their lives. While we definitely support using technology in healthy, fun, and productive ways, sometimes it can make life difficult or dangerous for teens.

Nothing ever really disappears from the internet – whether it’s a photo, a status update, or a tweet – so it’s important to have regular, open and honest conversations with your kids or students about safe ways to use technology. During teenDVmonth, we want to encourage you to start having these conversations as soon as possible! Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • Open the conversation by using current examples of how sharing online can quickly escalate out of control. In one brilliant experiment, a teacher received a LOT of attention when she posted a photo of herself online to show her 5th grade students how anything can be widely shared or digitally manipulated on the internet.
  • Talk to your teen about privacy. How does he or she define privacy? What types of things would they like to keep private? Be sure to talk about using apps to “check in” to places online, or tagging their location on Instagram and Facebook, and how that might compromise their safety or their friends’ safety.
  • Create “Digital Safety Guidelines” with your teen. Let them have input, and talk through what they are comfortable sharing online and why. Together, you can learn about privacy settings for social networks and how to use them.
  • Talk to your teen about establishing digital boundaries with their boyfriends or girlfriends. These boundaries might shift and change as the relationship progresses, but it’s important for both partners to continue communicating about what they’re comfortable with. Some good questions to discuss are:

– Is it okay to tag or check in?
– Do we post our relationship status?
– Is it okay to friend or follow my friends?
– When is it okay to text me and what is the expectation for when we return it?
– Is it okay to use each other’s devices?
– Is it okay to post, tweet or comment about our relationship?

  • Go over the signs of digital abuse. Ask if they’ve ever experienced any of these signs, or if they know someone who has. Brainstorm ways to deal with this type of abuse.

The internet isn’t going away any time soon, so it’s unrealistic to expect your teens not to use it. By learning more about how the teenagers in your life are using technology, you can help them determine how best to keep themselves safe and healthy.

If you have any other suggestions for how to talk to teens about staying safe online, please leave them in the comments!


Get Involved: Respect Week 2014 is February 10-14!

At loveisrespect, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, our advocates take calls, chats, and texts from teens who have questions about relationships, and respect is an issue they frequently discuss. In honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (teenDVmonth), we hope that you will start conversations with the teens in your life about what healthy relationships look like. Maybe you got things started this past Tuesday on It’s Time to Talk Day, but if not, you still have time – Respect Week 2014 is just around the corner!

Hosted by loveisrespect’s partner Break the Cycle, Respect Week encourages teens and youth leaders to participate in teenDVmonth. From wearing orange to actively engaging your community, here are just a few ways you can help spread awareness of teen dating violence:

      • Download the Respect Week 2014 Guide, created by loveisrespect’s National Youth Advisory Board, for a comprehensive look at information, ideas, and activities for the week
      • Wear orange and be part of the nationwide orange-out on Tuesday, February 11 to help spread awareness of dating violence. Invite your friends to the Facebook event, post a picture and update your social media using the hashtags #teenDVmonth and #RespectWeek2014
      • On Valentine’s Day, ask students to read the National Respect Announcement across your school’s intercom, to your class, youth group or wherever fits best. You’ll raise awareness of teen dating violence and how to end it. You can also spread the word by joining the Thunderclap and sending out the National Respect Announcement to all your social media networks
      • Host an event where you can educate your family and friends about how dating abuse affects one in three teens
      • Keep talking to the teenagers you know and love about healthy relationships

This year, take part and help everyone learn how to build relationships free from abuse. Keep the conversation going and get ready for Respect Week 2014!


February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

TeenDVMonthAccording to loveisrespect, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, one in three teens in the US is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a partner. While teen dating violence can happen to anyone, the majority of the violence affects young women. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence – almost triple the national average.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TeenDV Month), a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it, and YOU have the power to help! Talk to teachers at your local high school, bring up dating violence at the next school board meeting, and have a conversation with the teens in your life about healthy relationships.

We’ll kick off TeenDVMonth tomorrow, February 4th, with It’s Time to Talk Day. Hosted by Break the Cycle’s Love Is Not Abuse Campaign, It’s Time To Talk Day is an annual awareness day that aims to generate conversations about healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence and abuse. Learn more and pledge your support on the website!

Another great way to get involved this month is to participate in Respect Week, February 10-14, hosted by the loveisrespect National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB). Check out the loveisrespect website for more information and to download the NYAB’s Respect Week 2014 Guide.

Everyone deserves safe and healthy relationships. Want to know how to help a young person experiencing abuse? Call our advocates today at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). Also, find us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated with important resources and information for loved ones who may be experiencing dating violence.

Don’t forget check back with our blog throughout February for more on TeenDVMonth!