Dating matters

Unhealthy experiences can result in negative long- and short-term consequences, therefore it is essential to emphasize teen dating violence prevention early on.

Taking into account these alarming facts, advocates now join together every year to highlight TDV Awareness month in February.

The ultimate goal is to stop dating violence before it starts.

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Hopkins assistant Professor Teri Williams Powell uses the exercise as a learning opportunity. The pilot program began in 2012 in Baltimore; Chicago; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Oakland, California— all cities with similar urban violence problems.

Baltimore Dating Matters is part of the Baltimore City Health Department’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention and supports the Healthy Baltimore 2015 priority area of Healthy Children and Adolescents.

The consequences can be both immediate and long term: health concerns like binge drinking and suicide are significantly higher for teens who experienced both physical and sexual violence.

We can prevent teen dating violence by intervening early, before it ever happens.

Many organizations such as loveisrespect.org, Break the Cycle, The Domestic Violence Awareness Project and the CDC provide TDV prevention resources for youth, families, communities, service providers, and healthcare professionals.

They also provide support and referrals for victims of TDV.

During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning about relationships with potential dating partners.

This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of dating violence that can last into adulthood.

By bringing awareness to this issue, and equipping local public health agencies with tools and resources, we can decrease the prevalence of dating violence everywhere.

Dating Matters®: A Local Approach to Addressing Dating Violence The CDC created the Dating Matters® (DM®) initiative to determine indicators related to violence utilizing school and neighborhood data from four major cities: Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Oakland, CA.

As an emergency physician and a mother of a 6-year-old daughter, I recognize how essential it is to talk about the need for healthy relationships early and to model them at home.

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