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Thursday, February 12, 2015

New York State has created a social media campaign designed to educate teens, young adults and others about teen dating violence, which national research has shown affects one in four teens, regardless of their gender.

The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is coordinating the campaign, which encourages young people to start a virtual conversation about the issue by using the hash tag #ICanDoSomethingNY.

“We encourage young people — and all people — to speak up and step in when they see something happening that doesn’t feel right, whether they are in school or in the community,” said Gwen Wright, executive director of the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. “When peers intercede to take a stand against violence and abuse, they can create change.”

According to national research on the topic, 62 percent of “tweens” who were 11 through 14 said they know friends who have been verbally abused — called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc. — by their boyfriends/girlfriends. In addition, approximately one in 10 teens reported they were hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Elizabeth Cronin, director of the state Office of Victim Services, said, “Teen dating violence is a serious issue that crosses gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic lines. All New Yorkers can, and must, do something about it."

Milinda Reed, director of Domestic Violence Services at Unity House of Troy said, “Helping teens learn about and build healthy relationships are keys in the fight against both teen dating violence and adult domestic violence."

Connie Neal, executive director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said, “This thoughtful and engaging campaign promotes responsible bystander behaviors for adolescents and recognizes that everyone has a role to play in creating a community free from violence. ... This is a vital step towards preventing teen dating violence.”

Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence and sexual assault can seek help 24 hours a day by calling the state’s toll-free hotline: 1-800-942-6906.

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is charged with improving the response of state and local communities to domestic violence. OPDV provides guidance to Executive staff on policy and legislation; conducts statewide community outreach and public education programs; and trains professionals on addressing domestic violence in a wide array of disciplines, including child welfare, law enforcement and health care.

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