Violence happens frighteningly frequently in teen romantic relationships. Love Is Respect, an offshoot of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, offers help to teens experiencing violence in relationships. According to Love Is Respect, emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse occurs in one out of three teen relationships. Love Is Respect also states that 43% of female college students in America say that they’ve experienced abuse or violence from people they’re dating. In fact, teen dating violence is so common that in 2010, Congress declared that February would be Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. It’s clear that dating violence is a topic of great concern for teens – and for schools, where teens spend most of their time. But how can schools protect teens from dating violence?
The Devastating, Lasting Impact of Teen Dating Violence
According to a recent article in Tennessee’s The Independent Herald, the effects of teen dating violence are devastating and deep. The Herald explains that teen girls who experience dating violence also experience long-term damage to their health, including a tendency to develop eating disorders. Moreover, teen girls who experience violent relationships are also more likely to experience suicidal ideation and substance abuse. The Herald states that people who are in violent adolescent relationships “will often carry unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships.” Also, the victims in these relationships can act out in other settings, including school. Lastly, according to The Herald, victims of teen dating violence “often wind up the victims or perpetrators of adult domestic violence.”
How Can Schools Protect Teens from Dating Violence?
The Independent Herald offers several suggestions for preventing teen dating violence. First, they emphasize the importance of raising awareness of the issue. For schools, this could include educating students, faculty, and parents about red flags that may indicate dating violence. The Independent Herald provides a list of these red flags, including “Excessive jealousy or insecurity;” “Controlling tendencies;” and “Preventing you from going out with or talking to other people.” By encouraging and educating students about healthy relationships, The Independent Herald suggests that schools can end dating violence before it begins. They also encourage students who may be experiencing dating violence to reach out to guidance counselors and faculty members for help.
However, some teen victims of dating violence may be hesitant to talk to school staff about their experience. Therefore, it’s important for schools to be aware of incidents of dating violence so they can get students the help they need. Screen monitoring software, like LearnSafe, helps schools help students by detecting mentions of dating violence. The LearnSafe platform lets schools know when intervention is necessary, whether on an individual or grade-level basis. LearnSafe also offers access to a social-emotional learning platform and tele-mental health support. In this way, LearnSafe can help schools prevent dating violence and help the victims heal.