Health officials say talk to your kids about healthy relationshi - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Health officials say talk to your kids about healthy relationships

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The Valentine's Day holiday is about celebrating relationships. However, not all relationships are healthy. February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month and State health officials are encouraging parents to talk to kids about healthy relationships.

"We can't control everything our kids do, but there is a lot you can do to help prevent teen dating violence and abuse," said State Health Commissioner William C. VanNess, M.D. "One of the most important things you can do is to keep the lines of communication open with your kids. Let them know the risks and let them know they can come to you for support and information."

One in 10 high school girls and one in eight high school boys in Indiana have been the victim of teen dating physical violence. Also in Indiana, one in seven girls and one in 20 boys report being victims of forced sexual violence, often by their dating partner.

The following tips can help you encourage violence prevention and awareness with your teen:

  • Be a role model by treating your kids and others with respect.
  • Start talking to your kids about healthy relationships early, before they start dating.
  • Get involved with efforts to prevent dating violence at your teen's school.
  • On Feb. 14, join the One Billion Rising Movement to end domestic and sexual violence. On this day, women and men around the world will rise up, dance and show their support for violence prevention. Visit www.OneBillionRising.org to learn more and find a location near you.
  • Call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or text "love is" to 77054, if you are worried about your teen.

Efforts at both the state and local level are addressing teen dating violence. The Indiana State Department of Health Sexual Violence Primary Prevention program funds the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence to coordinate a Youth Advisory Council, comprised of students from across the state who are advocating for an end to teen dating violence. These students are working with their schools to implement prevention programs and awareness campaigns.

An on-line healthy relationship resource for teens, www.LoveIsRespect.org, provides a safe and confidential space for young people to access information and help in an environment that is designed specifically for them.  

To learn more about Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov.

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