The National Council of Jewish Women/Essex informed Essex County residents of its efforts in support of February Teen Dating Violence
Awareness and Prevention Month.

The Teen Dating Abuse project had several activities as part of its ongoing fight against the mounting problem that affects one out of three teens.  TDA, a comprehensive cost-free classroom experience for high school students, offered  to participating Essex County high schools an extensive turn-key "TDA Tool Kit" including an array of information and materials designed to educate, motivate and
mobilize local teens to help spread the word that "Love Shouldn't Hurt."

The Tool Kit is part of the pioneering TDA project that since its inception in 1992 has reached more than 50,000 Essex County teens to help prevent them from entering into or remaining in abusive dating relationships. Facilitating quick and easy execution, the kit includes themed materials (bookmarks, stickers, posters, banners), informational brochure, scripts for Morning Announcements, student newspaper article template, parent education email template, poster copy to encourage reproduction, as well as a helpful list of suggested activities. A rich education resource, the kit includes such valuable information as the Warning Signs of Abuse, What Dating Abuse
Includes, What Keeps Someone in an Abusive Relationship, How to Break up Safely, and How to Help a Friend in an Abusive Relationship.

"Teen dating abuse - whether physical or emotional abuse - is a problem that is present in every type of community, among all types of teenagers from families across the economic and social spectrum," said Karen Cherins, president of NCJW/Essex. "NCJW is thrilled to know that students throughout Essex County will be exposed to this important information to help them recognize and avoid abusive relationships."

A majority of teens who have been in a dating relationship report having
endured emotional abuse from their partner, and a shocking proportion have been threatened with or subject to physical violence. 

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Studies have found that:One in three adolescents who has been in a dating relationship has experienced verbal or physical abuse from a dating partner; Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused continue to date their abusive partner; Nineteen percent of teens in a 2010 survey confessed to committing violence against a dating partner; Fifteen percent of teens who have been in a relationship report
having been hit, slapped, or pushed by their dating partner;Forty eight percent of those in a "serious" relationship say that it's "good" or "okay" for a dating partner to behave in a jealous or controlling manner.

Beyond February: Comprehensive Awareness and Education
For over 20 years, NCJW's Linda & Rudy Slucker Center for Women has been providing the teen dating abuse awareness and prevention project in Essex County high schools, suburban and urban. The multi-faceted program dispatches trained dating-abuse educators to conduct two-day workshops in high school health classes. Students learn how to recognize signs of abuse, how to end abusive relationships, and how to develop healthy dating relationships. Most recently, a video entitled "Crossing the Line" was added to bring the program to life for teen in a realistic and relatable manner.

The updated curriculum includes information about the use of texting, social networking sites, and other digital technologies in dating abuse. The program fulfills the New Jersey Department of Education requirement for teen dating abuse education.

"The statistics on teen dating abuse are staggering and speak for
themselves," said Doris Spector, chairperson of the NCJW/Essex Teen Dating Abuse project (TDA). "This is why NCJW is committed to continuing the TDA Awareness and Prevention project and bringing it to as many high schools as possible."

In addition to working directly with kids in schools, TDA runs a program for parent and community groups -- such as PTAs, churches, and synagogues - called Teen Dating: the Untold Story.

For information about how to have a free TDA presentation in your school or for your parent group, or if you are interested in becoming a TDA volunteer, please call the NCJW Center for Women at 973.994.4994.

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