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OCO Engages Community to End Teen Dating Violence

OSWEGO, NY – One in three teens is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.

Yet only 33% of these teens ever told anyone about the abuse.

In addition, a staggering 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue, or admit they don’t know it’s an issue.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – an opportunity to engage youth, reach new audiences to raise awareness about dating abuse and support young people in learning to have safe and healthy relationships. In recognition of this important campaign, Oswego County Opportunities Services to Aid Families program will be reaching out to students, parents and community members in order to alert individuals about this alarming epidemic.

“Throughout the month of February, educators from SAF will be visiting schools throughout Oswego County to teach students about the disturbing rates of teen dating violence, where to go for help, and characteristics of healthy relationships. SAF will also be partnering with local libraries to showcase literature that addresses teen dating violence,” said SAF education manager Meredith Needham.

SAF is also urging adults and community members to take time this month to educate themselves and others about teen dating violence. SAF is partnering with OCO Health Education Program to provide parent workshops during February.  These workshops, focused on teen dating violence, will provide the opportunity to learn about the reality of dating violence in youth’s lives and how parents and adults can support teens to choose healthy relationships.

The schedule for these workshops is:

February 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the OCO Main Office, 239 Oneida St., Fulton.

February 13 from 10 a.m. – noon at the Hamilton Homes Community Room, Oswego.

February 19 from 1 – 3 p.m. at the OCO Senior Nutrition Site, 5871 Scenic Ave., Mexico.

February 25 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Orwell Town Hall, routes 2 and 22, Orwell.

Additional information and resources may be found at the following websites:

www.loveisrespect.org

www.teendvmonth.org

www.breakthecycle.org

“SAF is encouraging adults to talk to the young people in their lives about relationships and how to have a healthy one; support your family and friends by encouraging them to engage in healthy relationships; and speak out in your community to end teen dating violence. Additionally, you can show your support of youth and healthy relationships by wearing orange on February 11,” added Needham.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking, please call the Abuse and Assault Hotline at (315) 342-1600.

The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours.

SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for more than 30 years.

OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.

A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.

For more information, visit www.oco.org