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Community Response to Teen Dating Violence

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The DVCC and PeaceWorks are meeting yet another challenge, thanks to a grant from the STOP Violence Against Women Fund administered through the State of Connecticut's Office of Policy and Management, to establish a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to teen dating violence in Stamford. The goal of the CCR is to increase access to services, improve intervention methods and ultimately reduce the recurrence of teen dating violence in the Stamford community through a more collaborative and coordinated response to incidents of teen intimate partner abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four adolescents report physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner each year, and other studies show the rate to be as high as one in three. This means that in Stamford, at least 1,384 teens are affected by dating violence each year.

DVCC hosted its first meeting on November 17 to discuss the goals of the CCR, the services already being provided and the gaps in services and established intervention methods. Attendees included representatives from the Stamford Police Department's Special Victims Unit, Stamford public schools, Child Guidance, the Stamford Youth Bureau, Stamford Hospital, Stamford Academy, the State Attorney's Office and the Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education. Several people mentioned that among the greatest challenges were that many teens view abusive behavior as okay or normal, that they are uncomfortable with disclosing abusive behavior and that parents are often at a loss as to how to handle the knowledge that their child is being abused.

"We were thrilled with the number and range of people from the Stamford community who came to this first meeting," said DVCC PeaceWorks Educator Lauren Linkowksi. "It was a great start to this important conversation."