Students help create web site on teen dating violence

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NEWTON, Kansas

An estimated one in three teens report being the victim of teen dating violence, and representatives of the Harvey County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Task Force said Newton is no different.

And the issue of violence can start early.

“As a rural community, we would like to think that we do not have kids in school dating at age 11,” said Heather Boswell, task force advocate, “but that is the reality.”

The organization has used grant money to fund a project on teen dating violence.

Students from Sedgwick High School developed a logo and Web site for the project, and representatives of the task force will visit schools in Harvey County this fall to discuss the issue with students.

“We felt we had to get the teens, schools and community involved so the project would be successful,” Boswell said.

The Web site includes information for teens and parents, including interactive wheels, that describe healthy and unhealthy dating relationships.

Warning signs, definitions of abuse and resources also are listed.

Jan Jones, executive director of the task force, said she thought the project needed to get resources in place before the advocates tried to engage the teens.

The task force staff went through training to prepare them to deal with minors.

Jones said the project was a move from a focus primarily on intervention into prevention.

Young women 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Justice.An estimated one in five teens in the United States have been the victim of physical or sexual abuse from a dating partner. These statistics may be much higher, considering an unknown number of unreported incidents, Jones said.

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Filed under domestic violence, rural violence, sexual assault

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