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Macomb County schools join in efforts to prevent teen dating violence via Turning Point’s education outreach program

Dating violence knows no age: February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero; EAFocus Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466

Mount Clemens, Mich.—February 9, 2023— Turning Point, an agency whose mission is to empower survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking through comprehensive services and resources, is using the month of February, Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, to share information on its high school outreach efforts to prevent domestic violence.

Turning Point provides dating violence education sessions for middle and high school youth throughout Macomb and Wayne Counties to teach teens how to recognize it and/or report it. First introduced in 1996, Turning Point now offers prevention programs to 14 high schools and five middle schools, according to Sara Dobbyn, Turning Point Senior Program and Education Director.

“Our school outreach efforts are critical to Turning Point’s ultimate goal of ending domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking,” Dobbyn said. “When we can educate teens about healthy and safe relationships early on, we get in at the ground level to help them understand that violence, dominance and forced behaviors designed to intimidate or control another person are completely unacceptable at any age.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teen dating violence may take the form of sexual violence, physical violence, psychological aggression or stalking, akin to the signs of intimate partner violence adults experience. Though similar to adults, teen dating violence or abuse aren’t always identified as such because teens aren’t living together or considered old enough to be in a serious relationship. Certain teen partner behaviors may also be normalized. For example, teens may believe that a partner’s extreme jealousy is a sign that they care, but in reality, it’s likely a warning sign of controlling behaviors. 

That’s just one of the tips shared at high schools like Dakota High School, which continues to partner with Turning Point to provide education to students.

“So many students are struggling today, wanting to connect with each other but not always knowing how to remove themselves from an unhealthy relationship.  It is a battle between wanting to be accepted and loved and figuring out how to advocate for themselves and create healthy boundaries.  Every chance we can get to expose them to educational opportunities around this topic is important,” Stephanie Lange, a Dakota High School student assistant specialist, said.

Other services offered by Turning Point to help prevent and address teen dating violence, include:

  • Presentations for parents that cover tips on talking to children about relationships and consent.
  • Workshops for educators and school staff on ways to support youth experiencing domestic violence, sexual violence, or human trafficking.
  • Free,confidential services for teens including individual counseling and a 24-hour hotline.

Bringing attention to teen dating violence is critical. According to a 2019 CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey, about one in 12 teens surveyed experienced physical dating violence and about one in 12 experienced sexual dating violence in the year prior to the survey. Turning Point’s 24-hour hotline is always available at 586-463-6990 to help those impacted or those who may know someone involved in teenage dating violence. Free, confidential advocacy/counseling is also available by calling 586-463-4430.

About Turning Point 
Turning Point provides comprehensive, free, and confidential programs for domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking survivors, their loved ones, and the community. Services include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, housing, trauma advocacy/counseling, personal protection order assistance, legal advocacy, forensic nurse exams, first response advocacy, prevention, and community education. Second Hand Rose, another Turning Point service, provides survivors with gently used items while providing an opportunity for the community to donate and shop. Serving Metro Detroit for more than 43 years, Turning Point has helped over 125,000 survivors. Visit www.turningpointmacomb.org for more information. 

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