February 6, 2006
Posted online February 10, 2006
Madigan urges teens, parents and educators to
recognize signs of teen dating violence
Chicago – To increase public knowledge of National Teen
Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week, running this year
from February 6 through 10, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today
released a Teen Dating Violence Awareness quiz. Madigan urged
teens, parents and educators to take the time to learn how to
recognize the signs of dating violence and abuse so they can help
prevent it or stop it from escalating.
Madigan said teens should realize that dating violence often
involves more than just physical abuse. It can be yelling,
threatening, incessant name calling, extreme jealousy, constant
telephone calling or paging and even sexual abuse. Almost any
tactic used by one person in a relationship to control his or her
partner can constitute dating abuse or violence, she said.
"With all of the excitement of high school life, many
teens may not recognize common signs of dating abuse or violence
their friends may be displaying," Madigan said. "But
it is important to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship
and provide help to the victim before the abuse
Madigan's office provides an online Teen Dating Violence
Resource Kit with information for victims, friends, parents,
educators and young men on how to identify and help a victim of
teen dating violence. The kit offers advice for victims of abuse
and recommendations for teachers and counselors.
Madigan said domestic violence affects women of all ages and
can happen in all kinds of relationships. However, the number of
young girls that are either in or know of abusive dating
relationships is startling. According to the American Medical
Association, one in five young women are physically or sexually
abused by a dating partner, and a separate study revealed that
roughly one in three young women know someone who was physically
abused by the person they were dating.
Adolescent girls who experience dating violence face an
increased risk of eating disorders, multiple sexual partners,
pregnancy and suicide.
"Educating young people at an early age so they can
recognize and avoid certain behaviors can help prevent incidents
of abuse," Madigan said.
Recognizing the signs of abuse is the first step. If a teen
answers yes to any or all of the following questions about his or
her friend, this may be a sign that the friend is in an abusive
-- Has your friend given up her favorite activities
or withdrawn from family and friends?
-- Does your friend always worry about making her
boyfriend angry and apologize for his behavior?
-- Does your friend spend all of her time with her
boyfriend or seem afraid to break up with him?
-- Does your friend have unexplained injuries?
Madigan offered the following suggestions for teens who
believe they may know someone who is a victim of abuse:
-- Listen to the victim and believe her.
-- Remind the victim that the violence is not her
-- Talk openly and without judgment.
-- Offer to go with the victim for help.
-- Validate the victim's feelings and
-- Talk with the victim in private, encourage the
victim to find help but don't tell others unless the victim
asks you to.
-- Gather information, such as the number for a
local domestic violence agency or local court options, to help
take effective action.
The Office of the Attorney General's Web site provides
the Teen Dating Violence Resource Kit, hotline numbers and local
crisis center information at:
Contact: Melissa Merz