Spotlight on Relationship Violence

Although dating violence is nothing new, it’s gotten a lot of attention lately. And that’s a good thing. Recent estimates from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency Focus state that one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. That’s a pretty scary figure – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth. And some very compelling research coming out of the University of California, Davis looks at the way that reproductive coercion is used as a form of abuse. Dr. Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University, has found that sabotaging birth control, forcing unprotected sex, or forcing abortion is more common that we knew before and was routinely underreported. She has been advocating for better screening practices at clinics and other agencies where young women might turn for care after such events.

At the end of February 2010, a group of professionals from several agencies gathered in Washington, DC to discuss ways we can all work together to prevent teen relationship violence. Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women, and MTV gathered to talk about what they’re doing and what tools are available to help increase prevention efforts in this area. Below are some resources you can use.

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