WRC, Safe Dates confronts teen dating violence

It’s a staggering statistic, but teen dating violence affects nearly 10 percent of all teenagers through the United States, according to teendvmonth.org. And one in three teens experience some form of domestic violence.

February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and Andrew Granick, Women’s Resource Center’s Teen Counselor Advocate. “I’m not surprised to learn that (teen dating violence) is happening,” Granick said.

He is currently working on implementing the Safe Dates program in area schools, as well as other programs centered around health relationships for teens. Of the topics covered in the program, Granick said students have reported that they have learned the most about consent – and what situations can consent not be given.

The program also focuses on unhealthy relationship behaviors, how to support a friend in a toxic or abusive relationship, and resources.

Granick said students are asked to think about the answer to, “Who in this building can I go to? Who in this building can I trust?”

A hotline number is also provided in every session.

Students are provided with scenarios and scripts– and work through them as a class. They are taught to identify toxic behaviors, such as relationship intensity and isolation. “What is normal, can become a stalking behavior over time or is an isolation tactic,” Granick said.

According to youth.gov, Safe Dates is a school-based prevention program for middle and high school students designed to stop or prevent the initiation of dating violence victimization and perpetration, including the psychological, physical, and sexual abuse that may occur between youths involved in a dating relationship. The program goals are to change adolescent norms on dating violence and gender-roles, improve conflict resolution skills for dating relationships, promote victims’ and perpetrators’ beliefs in the need for help and awareness of community resources for dating violence, encourage help-seeking by victims and perpetrators, and develop peer help-giving skills.

WRC employs full-time Counselor Advocates in its Lackawanna and Susquehanna County offices to work with teen and young adult victims of dating violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. In Susquehanna County, call 1-800-257-5765 for services, or visit wrcnepa.org online for more information.

For additional information and resources, visit these websites:

*The NO MORE Campaign


*Love Is respect


*I Wanna Know


*The National Center for Victims of Crime


*Teen Dating Abuse


*Teen Dating Violence


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