National Teen Dating Violence Prevention Initiative

About the Program

Every year since 2006, United States Senator Mike Crapo (Idaho) has led unanimous, bi-partisan support among Congress members in the House and Senate to designate the first week of February "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week" in an effort to bring more public awareness to a problem confronting today's teens. Senate co-sponsors have included Senators Joseph Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Robert Menendez, Patty Murray and Lisa Murkowski. ( NOTE: For specific information about Senator Crapo and this initiative, visit his website )

For the first National Awareness Week in 2006, the American Bar Association developed and distributed nationally 1,000 Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Toolkits. The project was originally sponsored by the ABA Steering Committee on the Unmet Legal Needs of Children and co-sponsored by the ABA Center on Children and the Law and Commission on Domestic Violence along with several other nonprofit organizations. Funding came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention.

The ABA Division for Public Education and the Commission on Youth at Risk recently introduced elements of the Toolkit as a curricular component of a new partnership between the ABA and the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. The curriculum, "Take Charge: Violence Prevention, Conflict Resolution & Law," has evolved into a national pilot program through which hundreds of teen Girl Scouts in 11 major U.S. cities are being introduced to the teen dating facts, warning signs, and prevention recommendations. At the conclusion of the program, girls participate in a mock trial involving domestic abuse, with volunteer lawyers and law students coaching the girls through their roles. Since its inception, Toolkit elements have been used by high schools and community organizations across the nation and in U.S. territories, as well as by military base schools and schools that serve military families in the U.S. and abroad.

We hope that you, too, can integrate these Toolkit elements into your curricular or extracurricular programming plans and/or otherwise share these resources to raise awareness and promote healthy teen relationships.

U.S. Senate Resolution

S. Res. 388

Whereas 1 in 3 female teenagers in a dating relationship has feared for her physical safety;

Whereas 1 in 2 teenagers in a serious relationship has compromised personal beliefs to please a partner;

Whereas 1 in 5 teenagers in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner;

Whereas 27 percent of teenagers have been in dating relationships in which their partners called them names or put them down;

Whereas 29 percent of girls who have been in a relationship said that they have been pressured to have sex or to engage in sexual activities that they did not want;

Whereas technologies such as cell phones and the Internet have made dating abuse both more pervasive and more hidden;

Whereas 30 percent of teenagers who have been in a dating relationship say that they have been text-messaged between 10 and 30 times per hour by a partner seeking to find out where they are, what they are doing, or who they are with;

Whereas 72 percent of teenagers who reported they'd been checked up on by a boyfriend or girlfriend 10 times per hour by email or text messaging did not tell their parents;
Whereas parents are largely unaware of the cell phone and Internet harassment experienced by teenagers;

Whereas Native American women experience higher rates of interpersonal violence than any other population group;

Whereas violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications for victims, putting them at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide, and adult revictimization;

Whereas the severity of violence among intimate partners has been shown to be greater in cases where the pattern of violence has been established in adolescence; and
Whereas the establishment of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week will benefit schools, communities, and families regardless of socio-economic status, race, or sex: Now, therefore be it

Resolved, That the Senate
(1) designates the week of February 4 through February 8, 2008, as ``National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week''; and

(2) calls upon the people of the United States, high schools, law enforcement, State and local officials, and interested groups to observe National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week with appropriate programs and activities that promote awareness and prevention of the crime of teen dating violence in their communities.

Offical news release from U.S. Senator Mike Crapo