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Senate Approves Codey Resolution Promoting Awareness Of Teen Dating Violence

Studies Show Abuse on the Rise Among Students

TRENTON – The full Senate today approved a resolution sponsored by Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) that would designate February 1 – 5, 2010, as “Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week” in New Jersey.

“For a variety of reasons, teen dating violence is all too often overlooked,” said Sen. Codey. “Sometimes as parents, we fail to realize how quickly our kids grow up, so we might not even think to look for the warning signs. At the same token, kids are often embarrassed to report dating violence for fear of being ridiculed or stigmatized.”

The resolution aims to reduce teen dating violence by promoting public awareness of the crime’s frequency, signs and symptoms, and potential consequences in an effort to reach both victims and aggressors. It is believed that a minor who commits violence on a dating partner, or on any other minor for that matter, may simply be continuing a pattern of violence learned at home. Sen. Codey hopes that raising awareness of the problem may help to break this cycle.

“In my experience dealing with mental health issues, I’ve found that the more awareness we raise about an issue, the more comfortable people feel to come forward and talk about it and get help. Raising public awareness of the problem is the first and most important step. Hopefully, having ‘Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week’ will help us do just that,” added Sen. Codey.

According to a study published last summer in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, more than one-third of the 920 students questioned reported that they had been victims of emotional and physical abuse by romantic partners before they started college. A survey by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene showed that dating violence among teenagers had risen by more than 40 percent over the last 10 years. Some experts believe teen dating violence is increasing as young people succumb to the temptation to use the Internet and text messaging to harass and control their romantic partners.

The bill now heads to the Assembly for approval.

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