Guest View: Resources on hand to report teenage dating violence

By Verna Griffin-Tabor

Center for Community Solutions, a nonprofit agency that offers a complete range of sexual assault and domestic violence prevention and intervention services, is partnering with the County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency to raise awareness about teen dating violence.

CCS offers a wide array of prevention, intervention and educational programs. Following February’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week, R&B singer and teen heartthrob Chris Brown was charged with felony counts of assault and making criminal threats during an altercation with his pop star girlfriend, Rihanna. His arrest draws attention to the serious problem of teen dating violence, which has become a major, national adolescent health concern.

Youth, specifically between the ages of 16 to 24, experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

One in three teens report having been abused by an intimate partner, or having a friend who has been abused. A 2006 Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse, conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, found that one out of five teens in a serious relationship has been hit, slapped or pushed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

To raise awareness about teen dating violence, CCS has developed and executed customized education programs for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. It is important to be aware of the warning signs of teen relationship violence including jealousy, controlling behaviors, isolation and put-downs.

Teens are especially vulnerable to ongoing abuse through means such as text-messaging, cell phones and MySpace.

Teen dating violence is a reality for many teenagers and the statistics are staggering. It is crucial that teenagers, their parents and the community in general, are aware of and understand the seriousness of this growing trend so we can all join forces in breaking the cycle of violence.

Teens and anyone dealing with domestic violence also can receive help through the county-funded bilingual crisis hotline: (888) DVLINKS (385-4657), a toll-free help line available 24 hours a day.

Verna Griffin-Tabor is executive director of the Center for Community Solutions,/i>.