February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. According to data from the CDC, nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 14 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the past year. For young people in foster care, many of whom have already experienced abuse or neglect by adults in their lives, these numbers are sure to be even higher.
Every young person needs and deserves the opportunity to have happy and respectful relationships of all kinds! By looking out for the young people we serve and having critical conversations, CASA volunteers and other caring adults can help prevent teen dating violence and support the development of healthy relationships. Check out these resources to get started!
Love Is Respect
LoveIsRespect.org is the #1 source of information on teen dating violence awareness and prevention, for youth and adults alike. It has just about everything you could need to get started, including information on the warning signs of abusive relationships, consent and boundaries, sexual health, how to get help and so much more. Love Is Respect also has information on the unique issues teens in LGBTQ+ relationships can face. Abuse happens in LGBTQ+ relationships at the same rate as other relationships, but when it does take place, these youth can be even less likely to get help. It’s important for you to be prepared to provide a safe space and accurate information.
National Dating Abuse Helpline
If you know of a teen, parent or caregiver who could benefit from speaking with a caring, well-trained peer advocate, connect them with the National Dating Abuse Helpline, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, at 1-866-331-9474 (TTY: 1-866-331-8453), by texting “loveis” to 77054, or through live chat at LoveIsRespect.org.
CASA on the Go Podcast
Specifically, check out our episode on advocating for healthy relationships with Texans Care for Children’s Kate Murphy. Learn what CASA advocates can do to connect youth with education about healthy relationship dynamics, support the prevention of unplanned teen pregnancies and successfully advocate for the unique needs of pregnant and parenting youth in care.
Lines of Support Card
If you’re looking for something tangible to share with the teen you serve, check out our Lines of Support card. This wallet-sized card offers hotline numbers on issues ranging from sex trafficking to dating abuse and suicidal thoughts. You can find the PDF version of the card on our website, and you can order it in bulk on our CASA Marketplace.