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Georgia teens can be domestic violence victims too


This blog has previously discussed the fact that many victims of domestic violence have difficulty seeing that they have options to get out of their bad relationships. This can be especially true of victims who are teenagers. With nearly one-and-a-half million teens being victims of dating violence each year, which is approximately one in three, domestic violence aid groups use February to raise awareness of this important problem.

This problem may be especially acute in Georgia, which the state legal services agency has said has one of the highest teen domestic violence rates in the country. Because close to 90 percent of adult domestic violence victims experienced dating violence as teens, these groups see education of young people to be important to stemming the tide. Many times, these organizations say that when they first talk to students about the issue, the young people do not identify as a problem, but when these organizations point out the behaviors involved, the teens realize that it is something that is going on in their own communities.

Teens and parents should be aware of the signs of domestic and dating violence, which may start out seeming innocuous, but can escalate rapidly. One of the most prevalent of these is the isolation of the victim; the dismantling by the abuser of the victim's support system by encouraging him or her to withdraw from family and core groups of friends. Over-possessiveness and extreme jealousy can also be signals that something is not right.

Victims of domestic violence have options in Georgia, even if they are young. Along with support groups and agencies, domestic violence protection orders can be procured, and legal steps taken to limit the ability of abusers to access their victims. Overall, while having awareness months helps to draw attention to the problem, domestic violence is an issue that needs to be addressed year-round by those who experience it.

Source: wrbl.com, "February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month," Brennen Reh, Feb. 2, 2017

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