Positive Relationships Reduce Teen Dating Violence

Good communication and honesty can help with building a healthy relationship with your partner and others around you.

Did you know about 1.5 million high school students nationwide are victims of relationship abuse? According to loveisrespect.org, one in 10 high school students have been abused by their dating partner within the last year. Spreading awareness about this issue while promoting and modeling positive behaviors helps educate youth and demonstrates what to expect from a healthy relationship.

Teens often don’t report violence in their relationship because they are afraid to tell their friends and family. In a study completed by the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, results found that only 33 percent of teens who were in a violent relationship told someone about the abuse.

The CDC defines teen dating violence as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional aggression within a dating relationship — all of which can occur in person or electronically. This includes things like believing negative behaviors are okay, such as displays of aggression towards others, eating disorders, and instigating conflict. Abuse can also make someone more susceptible to behavioral health conditions.

SCF’s 2018 Health Needs Assessment identified behavioral health and general wellness as a top health priority including healthy lifestyles, emotional health, and healthy relationships. The way SCF supports these priorities is by offering programs for teens where they can interact, build relationships, and share story together, while providing education on healthy relationships.

The TRAILS program, offered for students ages 12 – 17, is a supplemental service provided to customer-owners who are enrolled in a behavioral health treatment plan. Students learn skills to help improve their relationships and communication by providing coping and daily living skills. Additionally, students are given the opportunity to participate in activities together including volunteering in the community, physical wellness, team building, and more. They also participate in discussions that include resiliency and safe intimacy.

The RAISE program is a paid internship offered to teens ages 14 – 19. Students are placed in different worksites and participate in a variety of workshops that help with team building, communication, and writing skills. Students also participate in skills Friday, where they are able to build relationships together through various team building activities as well as work together to achieve a specific task that helps to build trust amongst each other.

How can you help prevent teen dating violence? First, you can help spread awareness and educate others on the cause. Secondly, if you’re a parent or close friend, engage in more activities with your teen and try to build a trusting and honest relationship with them — let them know if they ever need to talk about anything with you that they can. Lastly, promote healthy communication skills and conflict resolution and demonstrate how important these are in a healthy relationship by modeling the behavior.

by Riley Stewman

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