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County Partners with Courts, School District and Community Agencies to Address Teen Dating Violence

Domestic Violence Information and Resource Collaborative Reaches East Side Union High School Administrators and Counselors

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Information and Resource Collaborative, in partnership with the East Side Union High School District (ESUHD), is hosting the first professional development training on teen dating violence for school administrators and counselors. The meeting will take place this evening at the East Side Union High School District Office.

“Domestic violence does not only occur between adults,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor George Shirakawa, Chairperson of the Public Safety and Justice Committee and former Board Member of East Side Union High School District. “I commend the Office of Women’s Policy and the Domestic Violence Information and Resource Collaborative for providing the right tools to school administrators, so they can effectively raise awareness and empower young people so they do not become victims.”

“Our schools could be an important point of intervention, because teachers and counselors may see the signs or learn from youth who are experiencing family violence or teen dating violence” said Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Director of the County’s Office of Women’s Policy. “This workshop will help schools better understand and navigate the system of reporting abuse and violence, and connecting youth and their families with the support they need to break the cycle of violence.”

Teen dating violence statistics are alarming and raise concerns for school administrators. According to statistics from various reports*, dating violence exists across race, gender, and socioeconomic lines. Research indicates that:

    •     Approximately one in five high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
    •     Nearly 25 percent of 14-17 year-olds surveyed know at least one student who was a victim of dating violence.
    •     One out of 10 teenagers know multiple victims of dating violence. One third of teens have actually witnessed such an event.
    •     Thirty nine percent of female high school students report that students talk in school about whether someone is attempting to 
           control the person they are dating.
    •     When female high school students were asked whom they would talk to if someone they date is attempting to control them, 
           insults them, or physically harms them, 86% said they would confide in a friend, while only 7% said they would talk to police.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Office of Women’s Policy and the Domestic Violence Information and Resources Collaborative to host this professional development for our staff and administrators,” said Jennifer Klassen, an ESUHD Social Worker who is helping coordinate the workshop. “The more our administrators and staff are aware of the dynamics of teen violence and community resources, the better they are prepared to support students on our school campuses.”

The County of Santa Clara Domestic Violence Information and Resources Collaborative has conducted workshops across Santa Clara County to expand awareness and promote resources and information about domestic violence. Over 20 public and community agencies are participating at today’s workshop, including the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy, the Superior Court, the Department of Mental Health, the Social Services Agency, the Office of the Public Defender, the Probation Department, the Office of the Sheriff, the Criminal Domestic Violence Court, the Family Court, the Drug Court, Child Support Services, and substance abuse counseling and emergency services.

To protect participants’ confidentiality, this workshop is only open to ESUHD administrators and counselors. Reporters are encouraged to interview coordinators prior to the event.

Available for interviews, prior to event:
Buu Thai, Office of Women’s Policy and Workshop coordinator (408) 299-5135 Cell (408) 772-2825

*Statistics extracted from the following sources:
Jay G. Silverman, PhD; Anita Raj, PhD; Lorelei A. Mucci, MPH; and Jeanne E. Hathway, MD, MPH, “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy and Suicidality,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 286, (No. 5., 2001).
Empower Program, sponsored by Liz Claiborne Inc. and conducted by Knowledge Networks, Social Control, Verbal Abuse, and Violence Among Teenagers, (2000).
Tiffany J. Zwicker, Education Policy Brief, “The Imperative of Developing Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Intervention Programs in Secondary Schools.” 12 Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies, 131, (2002).
Tiffany J. Zwicker, Education Policy Brief, “The Imperative of Developing Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Intervention Programs in Secondary Schools.” 12 Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies, 131, (2002).

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, 
Buu Thai, Office of Women’s Policy (408) 299-5135, Cell: (408) 772-2825

Posted: March 10, 2010