February is 'Teen Dating Violence Awareness' month
Sunday, 11 February 2018 21:00

"Encourage healthy relationships for your children by talking to them about friendships, dating, self-respect and respect for others," says Pulaski County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Gaumer.

Gaumer notes that February is "Teen Dating Violence Awareness" month, and caregivers should be aware that bruises or broken bones aren't the only form of abuse children may experience in friendships and dating. Abuse is also verbal, emotional, physical, sexual or digital hurt.

"All caregivers need to speak to children specifically about giving and getting respect in their relationships with others," said Gaumer. "Tell your children that healthy relationships are open and honest, and that partners must respect each other's individuality and share feelings without negative consequences."

Relationships where partners don't respect each other's boundaries lead to dating and domestic violence. Here are some typical forms of abuse:

Name-calling, insults or put-downs in public or in private

Verbal, written or other threats of violence

Isolating a friend or dating partner from other friends and family

Sexual coercion or forced sexual activities

Stalking, harassment or monitoring

"One of the most important actions a parent or care-giver can take is to keep the lines of communication open with children," said Gaumer. "Tell your children, if they don't want to do something within their relationship, they should feel safe to say so."

For more information, talk to the National Domestic Violence Hotline/Dating Abuse Helpline by texting "loveis" to 22522 or calling 866-331-9474. More information can also be found through www.loveisrespect.org or www.breakthecycle.org.