Today marks the start of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month – 29 days of consciousness-raising around an issue near and dear to our hearts. In the years since JWI began working on this issue, we have developed a suite of programs aimed at dating violence prevention. Now we’re pleased to announce that our newest healthy relationship training program for teens – a faith-based curriculum adaptable to every religion and denomination – will be released later this spring.
Our recent survey of U.S. Jewish domestic violence programs and organizations found that respondents rank teen dating abuse as one of the three most serious violence-related problems facing young people today. Nearly 70% of respondents provide healthy relationship programming for teens. Organizations focus efforts on middle school, high school, and college students through healthy relationship programming at school, after school and in synagogues. The results of this survey will help us assess the services available in the Jewish community, as well as the most critical areas of unmet need, so we can help programs better serve their clients as we advocate for them on Capitol Hill and facilitate a sharing of ideas and resources.
JWI’s advocacy work focuses on critical issues for women and girls: Lately we have been working tirelessly to raise support for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which includes provisions for innovative prevention programs that teach young people, especially teens, about violence and healthy relationships. S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011, is currently moving through Congress, and will ensure that life-saving VAWA programs and services are continued for another five years. You can help ensure that this prevention-focused bill is passed into law by contacting your Senators today and urging them to co-sponsor and pass S. 1925.
We are so pleased that President Obama has recognized the importance of raising awareness for teen dating violence prevention and declared February National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. We hope you’ll join us in protecting the safety of girls everywhere!