February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Believe it or not, more than 1 in 10 teens who have been on a date have been physically abused by someone they were dating. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do as a parent and friend to help prevent teen dating violence and abuse, especially by working to maintain open lines of communication with the teens in your life.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends the following steps to make a difference:
Model respectful behavior. Set a pro-active, positive example of treating your kids and other teens respectfully.
Start talking to your kids about healthy relationships early – before they start dating.
Get involved with efforts to prevent dating violence at your teen’s school.
If you are worried about your teen, call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of dating violence, a medical provider, professional counselor or a clinical social worker can be a valuable resource. Missouri’s Community Health Centers employ these professionals and are open to all patients, regardless of insurance status and they provide reduced-cost care based on your ability to pay. To find a Community Health Center near you, visit the Missouri Primary Care Association website.