Your 15-year-old daughter comes home in a tank top, and you see what appears to be a fresh series of bruises on her shoulder and upper arm. You ask what happened, and the explanation of “I got hit with a basketball in gym the other day” is given with little eye contact or consideration for the conversation. She clearly doesn’t want to discuss it. Instead of pushing that particular issue, you follow up with a question about her new love interest. Again, a few words are given in response but no eye contact is made. Should you be worried? Yes.
According to the Center on Disease Control, 1 in 10 teens reported to a survey that they had been physically injured on purpose by a significant other. Luckily, there are ways to prevent your child from enduring such violence and ways to get help if you know someone who is suffering from intimate partner violence (IPV).
While this issue is important at all times, February gives us a national platform for consideration about teen dating violence — a classification within IPV — and is a time where numerous organizations come together to raise awareness for prevention and to help victims.
To start, we need to know how IPV is defined. The Center for Disease Control defines IPV as a “serious, preventable public health problem… [that] describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression…by a current or former intimate partner.” For teenagers, it is these actions inflicted on any person between 12 and 18 years old. Victims may be currently suffering or may be legal adults who suffered from such abuse in their teen years; regardless, these people have suffered from teen dating violence.
From a security perspective, this type of violence affects personal safety and public safety. From the first perspective, one’s personal space is being violated and their body is being harmed. Reactive actions include telling someone and reporting the incident to police or campus officials. Preventative actions may be limited but can include reporting the perpetrator so no one else is harmed.
On a public safety level, we consider the impact IPV places on those related to both the victim and the perpetrator — the family, friends and the school. We discussed the chain reaction of violence in our October awareness blog, but we want to recap the ways in which a school may be at risk.
Per the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, when violence is witnessed, a correlation with decreased school attendance and academic performance is found across the board. Students who engage in dating violence tend to perform more poorly, earning average grades of D and F. Additionally, these students are likely to engage in risky behaviors, illegal behaviors (e.g., underage smoking, drug use, underage sexual activity) and attempt or consider suicide.
Furthermore, just as is true in adult IPV situations, teen dating violence can be a catalyst for an active shooter situation. According to the CDC, peer and social risk factors, including bullying and teen dating violence (as well as violence inflicted outside of school such as at home) are often a part of school violence such as active shooter situations. Whether it is a victim seeking revenge or a perpetrator committing the ultimate act of domestic violence, the reality of school violence is one we need to acknowledge and for which we need to prepare.
You can prepare your school as a whole through active shooter training designed for civilians and pre-law enforcement response. AEGIS offers four unique opportunities for educating you about active shooter situations, handling an active shooter, and saving yourself and others. Visit www.aegis.com/survive-active-shooter-training for more infomation. To learn more about our approach to preventing school shootings, visit here.
Additionally, we recommend, in conjunction with numerous education and safety organizations, setting up a system for students to report concerns about teen intimate partner violence and discuss the reality of it with students and parents alike. For family protective factors, social protective factors and individual protective factors, visit the CDC site.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of dating violence, free and confidential help is available 24 hours a day through the National Dating Abuse Helpline (from youth.gov)
- Call 1-866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453.
- Seek online support at loveisrespect.org through the live chat feature.
- Text ‘loveis’ directly to 77054 to begin a text chat with an advocate.
AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people locates, and background investigations. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit www.aegis.com.
Author: Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner