February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Madison—Domestic violence victim advocates throughout Wisconsin are spending this month, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, focusing on abusive relationships among young people.

Teen dating violence, which advocates define as a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner, is increasingly recognized as a widespread problem. One in three teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.  This rate is higher than all other forms of youth violence. Over half of teens, 57-percent, know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship.

“Teen victims often don’t know where to turn,” said Patti Seger, executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV). “They many times feel adults will blame them for the abuse they have suffered. We need parents, teachers and other adults to recognize the signs of abuse and know how to support teen victims.”

Advocates say Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is also a time to increase efforts to prevent abuse in future generations. In addition to reaching out to current victims, advocates work to foster better appreciation for healthy relationships among young people.

“Each new generation brings enormous potential,” said Seger. “With greater understanding that harmful relationship dynamics take hold during teenage years, we can now more intentionally instill values of equality and mutual respect in the next generation and thereby lower the rate of domestic violence in the future.”

One Billion Rising

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a number of awareness raising events will be taking place on February 14 in connection with a global movement called “One Billion Rising.” One Billion Rising seeks to engage people of all ages in creative demonstrations to end violence against women. Approximately 20 dances, flash mobs and other One Billion Rising events are planned across the state. 

“The creative energy and spirit of One Billion Rising and the many events around the state offer wonderful opportunities to get young people involved in the movement to end violence against women and increase their knowledge of domestic and sexual violence,” said Seger.

Information about One Billion Rising and other Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month events can be found here: http://wcadv.org/content/resources/teen-dating-violence-prevention-and-awareness-month-2013-events



Selected Resources

Voting Guide for Advocates and Survivors

This guide is meant to help advocates assist their clients with the voting process. With recent law changes and court decisions, even the basics of how to cast a ballot can be very confusing  The guide covers voter registeration, ID requirements and determining where to vote. 

Development and Maintenance of Policies Prohibiting Harassment of LGBTQ People


This webinar is about policies to promote inclusion of both LGBTQ clients and employees.  After viewing the webinar, participants will be able to list the types of policies that support an environment free of harassment and bullying of LGBTQ people, describe ways to assist staff in understanding and following the policies, and list the elements of a plan to monitor claims, address them seriously, and document their corrective action(s). 

VIEW AND LISTEN. You will be directed to a short survey and the link to the recorded webinar.


The series is provided by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Domestic Abuse Program, and presented by Molly Herrmann, statewide training consultant and member of the End Domestic Abuse WI and WI Coalition Against Sexual Assault LGBTQ Committee. Services Act (FVPSA) federal requirements. Webinar 3 is Development and Maintenance of Policies Prohibiting  Discrimination and Harassment of LGBTQ People.

The series offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect on organization practices and culture, and to build bridges between existing knowledge and skills and innovative, emerging practices, while also meeting the DCF training requirement.

All staff of DCF domestic violence programs receiving FVPSA funding must view each webinar live (February and March 2015) or recorded.


When you have completed the recorded webinar, download the certificate below.  It can be completed electronically or by hand and printed. Handouts are also available for download.