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Office of Women's Policy and Domestic Violence Collaborative Hosting Teen Dating Violence Forum for Service Providers

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA –To commemorate National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, today, the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy and the Domestic Violence Information and Resource Collaborative (DVIR) are hosting a forum for service providers and educators who may need to assist teenagers involved in violent dating relationships. 
“Violence is never a justifiable behavior in dating, regardless of age,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, President, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “The County supports the Office of Women’s Policy and the Domestic Violence Collaborative efforts to raise awareness about this issue and to advocate for victims, so they can promptly receive assistance and guidance.” 
For the past five years, the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy and the Domestic Violence Information and Resources Collaborative have coordinated more than 20 free workshops to bring together agencies and services providers who may help the community to understand and navigate the system to assist victims of domestic violence.  This particular forum targeting service providers and educators will take place today at the County of Santa Clara Re-Entry Center Auditorium, 151 W. Mission Street, San Jose, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
“It is very difficult to fathom minors experiencing violence while dating,” said Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Director of the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy.  “The forum will provide insightful and very useful information to service providers who not only may be in a position to intervene, but to save a life.” 
Forum participants will learn about warning signs associated with teen dating violence, and local resources and services that are available in Santa Clara County. They will connect with community agencies, and become familiar with the process of reporting and expediting help for victims.
“The collaborations we have forged with law enforcement agencies and community organizations are crucial to protect young victims from violent behavior,” said Andrew Cain, Supervising Attorney for Legal Advocates for Children and Youth (LACY) and event chair. “Our goal is to help everyone identify the red flags, and facilitate cohesive responses to put an end to toxic relationships before they leave lifetime scars.” 
About the Domestic Violence Collaborative (DVIR)
The DVIR Collaborative currently includes the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy, the Superior Court, the Office of the District Attorney, the Sheriff’s Department, the Probation Department, the Public Defender, the Social Services Agency, the Department of Mental Health, South Bay Labor Council, the Domestic Violence Intervention Collaborative and over 50 service providers and agencies assisting victims of domestic violence.  
About Teen Dating Violence 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define teen dating violence as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking.  Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. A 2011 nationwide survey on youth risk behavior revealed that 9 out of 100 high school students reported being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey. 
Various reports* warn that dating violence exists across race, gender, and socioeconomic lines and offer the following findings below:
·         One in three people are affected by physical, sexual or verbal violence while dating.
·         Approximately one in five high school students report being physically (slapped, pushed, hit, threatened or coerced) 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 surveyed 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 percent said they would confide in a friend, while only 7 percent said they would talk to police.
 *Statistics extracted from the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Empower Program and the Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies.
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Esther Peralez-Dieckmann, Office of Women’s Policy (408) 299-5142; Andrew Cain, Supervising Attorney, Legal Advocates for Children and Youth (LACY) (408) 280-2461.    
Posted:  February 7, 2013