Associate Attorney General Perrelli, Senators Announce Passage of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Resolution

Jan 28, 2010, 16:53 ET from U.S. Department of Justice

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli joined Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) today to announce the Senate's passage of Resolution 373, which designates February 2010 as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month."

Since 2004, Congress has designated the first full week in February as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week." However, this year the Justice Department worked with the Senate to designate the entire month of February as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month." This provides parity to the three other crimes included in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) – sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking, each of which has a designated month for public education and awareness activities.

"For the first time, this crime is being commemorated as 'National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month,' instead of a week. This is no small feat, and I commend the Senate for its unanimous passage," said Associate Attorney General Perrelli. "The department will continue to raise awareness regarding teen dating violence, and will use federal resources to assist schools and communities in stopping such violence."

This year marks the 15 year anniversary of President Bill Clinton signing VAWA into law and the creation of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). Today's event is another installment in the department's year-long effort to raise public awareness, build stronger coalitions among federal, state, local and tribal communities, and redouble efforts to end domestic and teen dating violence, sexual assault and stalking for men, women and children across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and approximately 10 percent of high school students have been hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Teen dating violence often keeps students from attending or excelling in school, and puts victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, teen pregnancy, suicide and adult revictimization.

In the past decade, the use of technology by stalkers has become commonplace, complicating prevention and intervention efforts. One in four teens in a relationship say they have been harassed or put down by their partner through their cell phone and texting, and more than 60 percent of teens have been pressured to engage in "sexting."

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice