February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

It’s hard to digest the statistics that confront youth today.

For example, one in three teens will experience some kind of abuse in a dating relationship. It might be physical, sexual or emotional — or all three — but that is the national statistic that explains why February has been designated Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Two-thirds of those teens will never tell anyone.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a month-long campaign dedicated to raising awareness about teen intimate partner violence and abuse, according to Tiffany Larson, the Community Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) coordinator for Building Families, which serves Hamilton, Humboldt and Wright counties.

“Every February, people across the United States join together for the cause,” she said.

“Locally, Crisis Intervention Service, Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center (D/SAOC), the Homicide/Other Violent Crimes (HOVC) Program, and the Bee Inspired Program through Building Families are teaming up to provide tips, tools, and other resources on the topic geared toward youth, parents/caregivers, schools, churches, libraries, providers, and other community members.

“Our goal is to encourage open and honest dialogue about teen dating violence

and healthy relationship awareness, with a local theme of Let’s Talk…TDVAM.”

Larson, and the people who also advocate for youth well-being through other programs and agencies, see the focus of the month as an opportunity to help young people find and cultivate good relationships.

“Whether a friendship, family dynamic or even dating relationship, the month serves as a reminder to build trust, communication, respect, safety and overall well-being in relationships,” Larson said. “It’s an opportunity to strengthen connections and spread positivity.”

Get the Facts, start early and talk often — “Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy relationship. However, dating abuse can happen to anyone. To help make a positive difference in changing the statistics, we encourage individuals to share the facts, promote healthy relationships, and have open and honest conversations on teen dating violence.”

If you are in an abusive situation and need help, there are area resources available:

The Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center (DSAOC) is a crisis-based shelter that offers a host of assistance to victims and their children fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, stalking and violent crimes. DSAOC shelter services are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Services within the shelter are all free of charge, confidential and support the survivor’s ability to once again control their own life.

The mission of the Homicide/ Other Violent Crimes (HOVC) program is to support and assist individuals, families, friends and neighbors through the trauma of violent crimes. HOVC is a service of DSAOC. Here is their service area:

Boone, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Floyd, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Kossuth, Marshall, Mitchell, Story, Tama, Webster, Winnebago, Worth and Wright counties.

Website: www.dsaoc.com

Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center (D/SAOC) Crisis Based Shelter: (515) 955-2273 or (888) 356-2006

Homicide and Other Violent Crimes Program (HOVC) Support Services for Survivors of Violent Crimes:

​Fort Dodge: (515) 955-5677

Waterloo: (319) 232-6522

Toll Free: (888) 356-2006


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