Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Survey Links The Troubled Economy to High Levels of Teen Dating Violence and Abuse

This survey was released June 10 by CAEPV Members Liz Claiborne Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Full topline results can be downloaded from the CAEPV website at

A new survey reports that teens nationwide are experiencing significant levels of dating abuse, and the economy appears to be making it worse. Nearly half of teens (44%) whose families have experienced economic problems in the past year report that they have witnessed their parents abusing each other. Alarmingly, 67% of these same teens experienced some form of violence or abuse in their own relationships and report a 50% higher rate of dating abuse compared to teens who have not witnessed domestic violence between their parents.

For the first time, data also shows that despite the fact that the majority of parents say they are comfortable talking about these issues, parents are not effective in educating their children about the dangers of dating abuse. 74% of sons and 66% of daughters say they have not had a conversation about dating abuse this past year. Even more troubling, the majority of teens who are in abusive relationships report they have not talked to their parents. Of the fewer than 1/3 who do confide in their parents, 78% of these teens report staying in these abusive relationships despite their parents’ advice.

Liz Claiborne Inc. and the Family Violence Prevention Fund commissioned the survey “Impact of the Economy and Parent/Teen Dialogue on Dating Relationships and Abuse” conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) to explore how the economy has impacted dating relationships among young adolescents and to determine the level and impact of parental engagement in the issue of teen dating violence and abuse.

Recognizing this critical need for education, Liz Claiborne Inc. and Macy’s are joining forces with national teen dating abuse awareness campaigns designed to educate both teens and parents about the warning signs and dangers of teen dating violence and abuse and ultimately save lives.

Liz Claiborne Inc.’s newly launched MADE (Moms and Dads for Education) to Stop Teen Dating Abuse,, is a growing coalition of concerned parents, teens, education advocates and community leaders urging schools across the country to teach about teen dating violence and abuse. MADE members are uniting today in Washington, D.C. to push for teen dating abuse education and urge parents to make their voices heard as part of this movement.

“Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working over the past five years through our Love Is Not Abuse campaign to raise the level of awareness on teen dating abuse and communicate the vital importance of education to help teens. This new data reveals that 75% of teens who have been taught about dating abuse say it has helped them recognize the signs of abuse. But sadly, the data also shows that only a quarter of the teens have ever taken a course,” says Jane Randel, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Liz Claiborne Inc. “MADE is working with the support of the 50 State Attorneys General and the National Foundation for Women Legislators to introduce curricula on dating violence education in every middle school and high school in every state.”

At the same time, to provide resources to help parents, Macy’s is sponsoring the Family Violence Prevention Fund’s RESPECT! Campaign which works to promote healthy relationships and stop relationship violence through positive role modeling and respect education. The RESPECT! Campaign provides parents with the much needed resources and communications tools to talk with their children early about respect and positive relationships.(

"This poll shows a disconnect between what some parents think is happening with their teenage children and what teens say they are experiencing," said Family Violence Prevention Fund President, Esta Soler. "Not enough parents recognize behaviors that may be warning signs of abuse. It concerns us that about one-third of parents don't recognize that isolation from family, being kept away from family by a dating partner, and isolation from friends can be danger signs. We are making progress educating parents, but we'd like those numbers to be higher. So we have more work to do. Dating violence is a huge problem in this country, and we need parents, schools and everyone to take responsibility for helping keep teens safe. Macy's is leading the way with its support for the RESPECT! campaign, which offers the tools parents need to define and promote healthy relationships, and intervene effectively if abuse begins."

MADE Co-Founder Ann Burke testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing addressing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and funding for teen dating abuse education and prevention initiatives. Ann and Chris Burke worked tirelessly with Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch to advocate for The Lindsay Ann Burke Act which was adopted in 2007 and requires all school districts in Rhode Island to teach about the signs of dating violence and abuse every year from grades 7- 12. The Act was named in honor of Lindsay Ann Burke, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend after a 2-year struggle in an abusive relationship.

Survey Methodology
Liz Claiborne Inc. and Family Violence Prevention Fund commissioned TRU to conduct quantitative research among teens who have been in a relationship (ages 13-18) and parents of teens (ages 11-18) about young dating relationships and the presence/absence of abusive behaviors. TRU independently sampled the two groups and fielded a customized 15-minute survey online to both groups from April 10 to May 5, 2009. TRU recommended online as the data-collection method for this research not only because of its high penetration (93%) among this population, but also because of the sensitive nature of the content of this survey, allowing young people to answer candidly (i.e., no adult interviewer) within the context of their preferred communications method. A total of 1,233 teens and 500 parents completed the survey, resulting in a margin of error (at the 95% confidence level) of ±2.8 percentage points for teens in total, and ±4.4 percentage points for parents.

Liz Claiborne Inc.
Since 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working to end domestic violence. Through its Love Is Not Abuse program, the company provides information and tools that men, women, children, teens and corporate executives can use to learn more about the issue and find out how they can help end this epidemic. Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse curriculum was officially launched in April 2006 and has been distributed to approximately 4900 schools and organizations across all 50 states.

Family Violence Prevention Fund
The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because everyone has the right to live free of violence. More information is available at

Macy's, the largest retail brand of Macy's, Inc., delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at more than 800 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Macy's stores and offer distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy's is known for such epic events as Macy's 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Building on a 150-year tradition, Macy's helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities that make a difference in the lives of our customers. For Macy’s media materials, images and contacts, please visit our online pressroom at

National Foundation for Women Legislators, Inc. (NFWL)
Through annual educational and networking events, the National Foundation for Women Legislators supports women legislators from all levels of governance. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, NFWL does not take ideological positions on public policy issues, but rather serves as a forum for women legislators to be empowered through information and experience.


Anonymous said...

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
TTY1 1-866-331-8453

Kim Wells said...

Dear Anonymous - thank you so much for posting the information for the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline! A very important part of this story for sure. Note it is also one of the permanent links on my blog site!

AJA9391 said...

I am very pleases to hear about all the improvements being made in order to educate the masses on abusive relationships and their warning signs. I am 17 years old and I am also a recovering victim of abuse. Experiencing abuse in the home and seeing my mother be abused has left me with some permanent emotional scars, but unlike the majority of teens, I feel I have used my experience to keep myself out of abusive relationships. In fact, just last year I separated myself from a friend who was always very physical and manipulative. It took me some time to realize that what they were doing was abuse, but I was able to remove myself from the situation. I am very glad though that strong efforts are being made to inform the mass public about the frequency and effects of abuse. With efforts like these, I am sure that in time we will be able to decrease or eliminate the cases of domestic violence and abuse on a grand scale.

Kim Wells said...

Dear AJA9391 -- Thank you for sharing your story. You are a remarkable young person. I am so glad you are healing and that you are working hard to keep yourself healthy and in relationships that are healthy for you. You are a wonderful example for all of us! Kim

Dating said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You are a remarkable young person.