Thursday, February 04, 2010

Associate Attorney General Perrelli, Senators Announce Passage of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Resolution

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli joined Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) on January 28 to announce the Senate's passage of Resolution 373, which designates February 2010 as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month."

Since 2004, Congress has designated the first full week in February as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week." However, this year the Justice Department worked with the Senate to designate the entire month of February as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month." This provides parity to the three other crimes included in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) -- sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking, each of which has a designated month for public education and awareness activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and approximately 10 percent of high school students have been hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Teen dating violence often keeps students from attending or excelling in school, and puts victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, teen pregnancy, suicide and adult revictimization.

In the past decade, the use of technology by stalkers has become commonplace, complicating prevention and intervention efforts. One in four teens in a relationship say they have been harassed or put down by their partner through their cell phone and texting, and more than 60 percent of teens have been pressured to engage in "sexting." (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

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