Did you know that one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship?(U.S. Department of Justice, 2003)
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Similar to domestic violence, teen dating violence is a repeated pattern of mental, physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse where one dating partner makes the other partner feel scared, weak, isolated, hurt, or sad.
However, young adults in abusive relationships face unique barriers to getting the help they need, including:
- A need for independence that makes many teens unwilling to turn to an adult authority figure for help;
- Inexperience with intimate relationships that may make it difficult to assess and identify abusive behavior; and
- An inability to avoid the abuser because they attend the same school or have the same friends.
Prevention & Education Programs
Since 1995, Between Friends has been implementing its teen dating violence prevention program Relationship Education: A Choice for Hope (REACH). REACH works with schools and youth organizations throughout Chicago to educate middle and high school-aged teens about dating violence, how to prevent it, and where to go for help. In fact, the state of Illinois recently passed a law (HB3379) mandating that public schools must provide teen dating violence prevention programs for students in 7th through 12th grades. Education and prevention programs are in more demand than ever as lawmakers, schools, domestic violence agencies, youth, and adults alike recognize that we can stop domestic violence before it starts.
For more detailed information about our prevention and education programs for students, please click here.
Services for Teens
Between Friends’ Counseling Program helps individuals deal with the traumatic effects of living in an abusive relationship or to heal from past abusive relationships. Counselors encourage survivors to explore their options and make their own decisions in order to build a safe future. Our counseling services are confidential and include:
- Individual and group counseling sessions offered in a safe and welcoming environment;
- Daytime and evening appointments;
- Phone counseling if you are unable to come to the office;
- Services are offered in English, Spanish, French and Arabic;
- Childcare can be provided during individual and group sessions; and
Illinois law allows minors to receive up to five 45-minute counseling sessions on their own. For additional counseling, parental consent is required. For more information about our counseling services, please call 773.274.5232 x 12.
Between Friends can also assist in obtaining an Order of Protection. An Order of Protection is a court order, issued by a judge, which prohibits your dating partner from abusing, harassing or stalking you. Though minors have the same rights to obtain an OP as adults, minors must have an adult 18 years or older petition on their behalf, unless they have been legally emancipated. The petitioning adult does not have to be the minor’s legal guardian. For more information about Orders of Protection, click here.
If you are looking for more information, please visit our Between Friends’ new website for young people and adults dealing with the issue of teen dating violence at www.reach4friends.org.