Adolescents not Immune to Dating Violence and Abuse
A national survey on adolescent dating relationships has revealed that significant numbers of children as young as age 11 engage in sexual activity and that dating violence and abuse are part of their relationships.
A total of 1,043 “tweens” (ages 11 to 14), 626 teenagers (ages 15 to 18), and 523 parents participated in a 15-minute online survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited and commissioned by Liz Claiborne, Inc. and the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.
Results showed that one in five (20%) tweens said their friends are victims of dating violence, and nearly half of all tweens in relationships said they know friends who are verbally abused. Forty percent of the youngest tweens (ages 11 and 12) reported that their friends are victims of verbal abuse in relationships, and approximately 1 in 10 (9%) said their friends have had sex.
The data also revealed that early sexual experiences can be a precursor to dating violence and abuse among older teens: Among the teenagers who had sex by age 14, one in three of them (34%) said they have been physically abused (hit, kicked, or choked) by an angry partner, compared with 20% of other teenagers. Sixty-nine percent of teenagers who had sex before age 14 said they had experienced all aspects of dating abuse, including verbal, emotional, physical, and mental abuse.
In response to the growing concerns about teen dating violence and abuse, the incoming president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), Patrick C. Lynch, said he will introduce a resolution at NAAG’s June meeting calling for the inclusion of curricula on teen dating violence in schools in every state. The campaign is inspired by the 2007 Lindsay Ann Burke Act, which requires all school districts in Rhode Island to teach about the signs of dating violence and abuse every year from grades 7 to 12.
Source.“Surprising New Research Indicates that Significant Numbers of Children as Young as 11 are Engaging in Sexual Activity and that Dating Violence and Abuse are Part of Their Relationships.” (2008, February 14). Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/02-14-2008/0004756524&EDATE=.
Substance Abuse Help for Incarcerated Individuals
A new criminal justice client resource is now available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Alcohol and Drug Treatment: How It Works, and How It Can Help You is a 4-page brochure that informs people involved in the criminal justice system about substance abuse treatment resources.
Based on Treatment Improvement Protocol 44: Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults in the Criminal Justice System, the brochure describes what can be gained through treatment before trial or while a person is incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. It encourages people to seek help for substance abuse disorders regardless of their situations.
The brochure can be accessed for free online at http://kap.samhsa.gov/products/brochures/pdfs/CJA_ConsumerBrochure.pdf. A Spanish language version will be available soon.
Source.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2008). Consumer products. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://kap.samhsa.gov/products/brochures/consumer/index.htm.
PTSD Presents Medical Risk Factors
Research published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease shows that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is just as good an indicator of a person’s long-term health status as are biological warning signs.
The study, conducted by Geisinger Health System, examined the health status of 4,462 male Vietnam-era veterans 30 years after their military service. Findings indicated that having PTSD indicated a person’s health status just as well as did having an elevated white blood cell count, which could indicate a major infection or serious blood disorder, such as leukemia. The study also found that veterans with high erythrocyte sedimentation rate, which indicates inflammation, were also at risk. There was a similar finding for a possible indicator of serious neuroendocrine problems.
The study showed that exposure to trauma has not only psychological effects but biological risks as well, yet few health care providers screen for PTSD the same way they do for other chronic disease risk factors, the researchers noted. To help individuals who have experienced traumatic events avoid depression, PTSD, and substance abuse-related problems, the researchers suggest therapy commence as early as possible after the traumatic event.
Source.“PTSD: A Medical Warning Sign for Long-Term Health Problems.” (2008, February 11). Retrieved February 15, 2008, from http://www.newswise.com/p/articles/view/537660/.
Online Course Aims to Prevent School Violence
Individuals interested in taking measures to prevent their school from becoming the next Columbine, Virginia Tech, or Northern Illinois University in terms of campus violence can now turn to their computers for help. “Understanding School Shootings,” an e-learning course designed for administrators, faculty, support staff, guidance counselors, coaches, security professionals, and concerned parents, aims to help prevent school violence. In the course, Dr. Marissa Randazzo, President of Threat Assessment Resources International, LLC, instructs participants to:
- Identify the kinds of behavior and communication school shooters typically display before their attacks.
- Know what to do if they see such behavior in a student they know.
- Separate myth from reality.
- Encourage students and others to share information.
- Take steps to prevent violence before it occurs.
The course can be accessed any time of day on any computer with an Internet connection and lasts approximately 1 to 1.5 hours, although participants can complete the course at their own pace. Quizzes throughout the course reinforce key teaching points. The $49.95 fee for individual participants includes a year of access to the course material and video instruction, as well as a resource section, forum, and podcasts where participants can submit questions, interact with other professionals, and receive periodic updates on school violence news and research.
To see a course demonstration or purchase the course, access http://www.threatresources.com/training.html.
Source.“eLearning Course Helps Stop School Violence Before it Starts.” (2008, February 13). Retrieved March 4, 2008, from http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/02-13-2008/0004755173&EDATE=.
Cyberbullying a Growing Threat to Teenagers, Both Boys & Girls
Once associated predominantly with girls, cyberbullying, the act of using the Internet or mobile devices to send or post repeated harmful or cruel text messages or images, is crossing gender lines. According to a survey commissioned by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), 37% of boys reported being victims of cyberbullying in 2006. The study also determined that although girls tend to cyberbully more often, boys engage in the act as well.
In response to these new statistics, the NCPC has released a public service announcement (PSA) called “Chicken,” which is specifically targeted to teenage boys, about preventing cyberbullying. The PSA, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, directs boys to the Web site http://www.ncpc.org to learn about how to prevent cyberbullying. The Web site also includes a downloadable document of tips and information for parents.
According to the NCPC, 43% of teenagers ages 13 to 17 said they had experienced cyberbullying in 2006, and 92% of teenagers reported that they knew the person who was bullying them.
Source.“Video: Boys Experience It Too.” (2008, March 5). Retrieved March 11, 2008, from http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=LVRJEDU.story&STORY=/www/story/03-05-2008/0004768311&EDATE=WED+Mar+05+2008,+10:00+AM.