The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|Teens often turn to drinking, fighting, smoking|
The Franklin County Family Resource Center offers free community services and information for teen dating victims, as well as all victims of domestic violence.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Franklin County Family Resource Center (FRC) is ready to help with free services and information.
Domestic violence within dating relationships has been proven to have devastating effects on a victim, said Cynthia Treadway, FRC director.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) says that dating violence occurs when one partner attempts to maintain power and control over the other through one or more forms of abuse, including sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse. It can affect both females and males.
Those who experience dating violence are more likely to participate in binge drinking, fighting, and/or smoking and are at an increased risk of suffering from mental illness.
The rates of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy are higher for young people who have a history of abuse.
A Harvard School of Public Health study indicated that female teenagers who are victims of dating violence are significantly more likely to become victims of sexual assault and typically suffered from post traumatic
stress and dissociation, while males suffered from anxiety, depression and post traumatic stress.
Of teenage girls in a relationship, 13 percent report being physically hurt or hit, and studies indicate that as a dating relationship becomes more serious, the potential for and nature of violent behavior also escalate.
Nearly one in five teenage girls report that their
boyfriends threatened violence or self-harm when
presented with a breakup, and a study of eighth and ninth-graders found that 8 percent have been victims of sexual dating violence.
Almost half of those victims say the abuse occurred in a school building or on school grounds.
Over 30 percent of teenagers do not tell anyone about the abuse, and less than 3 percent report the abuse to authorities or family members.
Early warning signs of a future abusive partner include extreme jealousy, controlling behavior, demands for affection, mood swings, alcohol or drug use, name calling and abuse of former partners.
The NCADV warns teens to beware of partners who limit the teen's time with family and friends or is abusive to animals or children.
Virginia does not recognize dating violence in its statutes. The NCADV encourages citizens to write their legislators asking them to support education for middle and high school students that talks about healthy dating relationships, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
The NCADV also says citizens should request from legislators more funding for local programs that support intervention and counseling for victims of domestic and dating violence.
Help for domestic violence is available at the Franklin County FRC. All services are free, confidential, non-judgmental, voluntary and informative.
Services offered include a 24-hour domestic violence hotline, crisis intervention, danger assessment, safety planning, information and referral and court and systems advocacy.
Other services include an emergency domestic violence shelter, primary prevention and a children's activity support group.
The center also offers adult support groups and classes in stress and anger management, financial knowledge, parenting, training for professionals, as well as a domestic violence outreach program and follow-up.
"We want to help," said Treadway. "We want to speak to groups, teams, organizations, churches and schools. We are not only a source of help for victims, we are a source of information for prevention."
For more information, contact the center at (540) 483-5088 or visit www.franklincountyva.org/shelter.
The domestic violence hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (540) 483-1234.
Victims and their families can also visit the Dating Violence Resource Center at www.ncvc.org.
The FRC, a state-accredited domestic violence program, promotes safe and healthy living environments for Franklin County families who are victims of domestic violence, said Treadway.
"The center strives to reduce domestic violence incidents and increase knowledge, self-esteem and empowerment throughout the county by providing services to the community, promoting community awareness and providing support for victims," she added.