October 8, 2013: Teen Dating Violence – Cyber Abuse
Did You Know?
Did you know that more than a quarter (26%) of youth in a relationship said they experienced some form of cyber dating abuse victimization in the prior year?
· Nearly a fifth (18 percent) of all youth experienced cyber dating abuse.
· Youth experienced cyber dating abuse at a rate that was comparable to that of physical dating violence, about half that of psychological dating abuse, and twice that of sexual coercion.
· Females were twice as likely as males to report being a victim of sexual cyber dating abuse and/or sexual coercion in the prior year.
· Male youth, on the other hand, reported significantly higher rates of all forms of physical dating violence victimization.
· LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable to all types of teen dating violence/abuse and bullying, including cyber dating abuse and cyber bullying.
· Few victims of any teen dating violence or abuse sought help after such experiences. Less than one out of ten victims reported seeking help, with half as many male victims as female victims seeking help.
* Technology, Teen Dating Violence and Abuse, and Bullying: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/243296.pdf
What can we do?
The following suggestions were given by the researchers:
ü Community Awareness
§ Raise awareness in the community & the schools about the harmfulness of perpetrating such acts and educate victims about the importance of reporting and seeking help. These activities should include all members of the school and community, including principals, teachers, and peer leaders.
§ Schools can refer youth to programs and online resources, such as online forums for safely airing grievances and resolving disputes (see http://www.thatsnotcool.com/CalloutCards.aspx).
§ Because victims of teen dating violence and abuse and bullying victims are more likely to go to friends for help or advice, schools might consider creating peer-led groups to build awareness around the issues and create a comfort-level for victims to report.
§ In addition, since this research found that many help-seeking victims also reach out to their parents, it may be valuable for schools to help parents form support networks for each other, so that parents of victimized or vulnerable youth can share advice and resources regarding preventative measures. Likewise, schools could hold seminars and workshops for parents on how to identify and report when their child is being bullied or being abused via technology, and on how to help them cope with and address the issue.
ü Targeted Outreach
§ Given the finding that so few youth victims of teen dating violence and abuse and bullying seek help, schools might create more formalized reporting mechanisms to ensure that such violence and abuse is being addressed effectively and promptly for both males and females. In particular, since less than half of male victims seek help, specific outreach efforts to male victims might be appropriate so that they can receive any needed assistance.
ü Professional Education
§ Because so much of teens’ dating violence and abuse and bullying experiences occur at school, faculty and staff should be trained on how to identify signs of both types of acts and how to handle such incidences (e.g., when to report, to whom to report, how to report).
Sandy Bromley writes: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)! Each business day in October, we will send out a “DVAM: Did You Know?” highlighting interesting research findings and statistics or best practices in preventing and responding to domestic violence. Please pass along this information to your colleagues, community groups, friends, and family members. Speak out to end domestic violence in Fairfax County!