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Texas: Youth Relationship Violence High, State Responds

In a recent survey conducted by the Texas Council on Family Violence of Texans between the ages of 16 and 24, approximately 75 percent of respondents reported knowing someone (themselves included) who had experienced dating violence. About half of the 918 young people surveyed reported being a victim of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. According to Salon, this rate is much higher than the national average of about one-third.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released these statistics on Monday, committing Texas to tackling the problem of youth relationship violence with a $2 million, three-year campaign, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has launched a public awareness campaign called Red Flags which aims to educate young Texans about warning signs and ways to help themselves or friends in potentially violent relationships. The campaign targets both women and men, abusers and victims, and behaviors ranging from embarrassing a dating partner in public to using violence or threats to telling a dating partner how to act.

Not surprisingly, dating violence was more prevalent among teens who had witnessed a parent in a violent relationship. “Red Flags” will attempt to re-teach healthier behaviors. Sheryl Cates, CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said, “With Red Flags, we hope to teach young Texans at a critical period in their dating lives, helping them learn to distinguish healthy behaviors from dangerous onesÉ This is the time to learn how to make the best choices in relationships.”

Sources:

Texas Council on Family Violence website; Salon 8/29/06; Houston Chronicle 8/29/06