Ten percent of teens surveyed by the State Department of Public Health last year said they were in a physically abusive dating relationship. And 17 percent said they were in an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship.
Teens from Stamford, Greenwich and Norwalk will get together Tuesday, Feb. 8, in Stamford for a program aimed at making more people aware of the problem. The event will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the Stamford Government Center lobby and feature teenagers, administrators and community service providers from three municipalities. It coincides with February’s designation as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
The teens lobby concerning issues associated with teen dating violence, said Bob Kocienda, coordinator of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council in Stamford.
“In addition to public awareness, they also conduct volunteer work and participate in a social change campaign,” said Kocienda, adding that the Stamford, Norwalk and Greenwich groups work independently of one another.
Among successes is getting the Connecticut Department of Public Health to include inquiries about emotional and verbal abuse on surveys, in addition to physical abuse, said Kocienda.
Current efforts include lobbying for legislation that will allow teens to obtain restraining orders from their abusive teen partners, and adding teen dating violence to the state’s bullying law.
Tuesday’s program is open to the public. Participants will include Lindsay Swatland of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council, Stamford High School; Marialena Bazzano, Center for Youth Leadership, Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk; and Connor Stapleton of the YNet Program, Greenwich YWCA and Greenwich High School. Also speaking, among others, will be Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia, Norwalk Mayor Ricard Moccia and Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei.
Do you know someone affected by teen dating violence? Are there resources available to help?