An Analysis of Teen Dating Violence

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The New York Times article, A Rise in Efforts to Spot Abuse in Dating, highlights the prevalence of abuse (physical, sexual, and verbal) within teen relationships—identifying females as the most prevalent victims. As the article emphasizes the need for preventive programming, this paper will present the internet resource, Heather’s Voice and provide suggestions for a program within schools that may utilize this resource in the prevention and identification of teen dating violence/abuse. In addition, this paper will present suggestions on how this program can be evaluated.

The NYT article discusses the prevalence of teen deaths due to dating violence in the U.S. over the past several years and discusses national, statewide, private, and institutional measures to aid in the prevention of this epidemic (retrieved April 20, 2009, www.nyt.com). Of the cases presented, Heather Norris’s case is highlighted to give insight around the commonness of teen dating violence and how easily it can progress and/or go undetected. Social Problem

Intimate-partner violence, sometimes called domestic violence or spouse abuse, includes acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological/emotional abuse and controlling behaviors by a current or former partner or spouse (Heise & Garcia-Moreno, 2002). It can happen within marriage, long-term partnerships or short-term intimate relationships, and can be perpetrated by ex-partners when these relationships have ended. It has been documented as largely perpetrated by men against women, although such violence also occurs in same-sex couples and can be perpetrated by women against men. As a category of interpersonal violence, intimate-partner violence includes dating violence that occurs among young people, although the pattern of such violence may be different to that experienced in the context of long-term partnerships, and studies often examine the two issues separately.

Research suggests that roughly one in three high school students has been or will be involved in an abusive relationship (physical, emotional, sexual). Furthermore, one in five adolescent girls experiences physical or sexual violence perpetrated by her dating partner, according to a recent large-scale study. International research increasingly shows that violence within intimate relationships is not a phenomenon unique to adulthood, but rather a disturbingly common feature of adolescent dating relationships (Pinheiro, 2006). The prevalence of dating violence is staggering, its impact enormous.

In an effort to educate teen girls on dating violence and provide support to those already in abusive relationships, Heather’s mother, Debbie Norris created the website, Heather’s Voice. The site states that it aims to educate teens about dating violence and domestic abuse. The website shares Heather Norris’s story and provides educational information, outside resources/hotlines, and tools geared to teen girls around awareness and prevention of dating abuse. The educational information is provided through definitions and key terms, check-list of signs of abuse (how to detect abuse in your own relationship and how to detect if someone you know is being abused), relevant articles, and statistics. The site also provides an Ask Debbie link that allows the user to ask anonymous questions around abuse and dating violence. Program Theory

Primary prevention framework
In a public health framework, primary prevention means reducing the number of new instances of intimate-partner violence or sexual violence by intervening before any violence occurs. The impact of primary prevention is measured at population level by comparing the frequency with which either victimization or perpetration occurs. This approach contrasts with other prevention efforts that seek to reduce the harmful consequences of an act of violence after it has occurred, or to prevent further acts of violence from occurring once violence has been identified. Primary...
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