Skip to site content

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

by Minette C. Galindo, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service and Erica Gourneau, RN, BSN, National Forensic Nurse Coordinator, Indian Health Service

Today, 1 in 5 teens experience dating violence in some form. Teen dating violence is commonly associated with those between the ages of 12-19 although age ranges can vary and only one of the relationship partners may be a minor. It can also occur between a current or former dating partner.

Dating violence can manifest in different ways:

  1. Physical
  2. Psychological/Emotional
  3. Sexual
  4. Stalking
  5. Reproductive Coercion

Abuse can also extend on social media. This ranges from a partner checking your phone, social media, accessing passwords, monitoring contacts, post likes, and controlling social media followers. Another form of abuse is also using sexual or nude photos to blackmail, control, harass, or coerce another person.

One important thing to know is that most people who are victims of violence, including teen dating violence, do not grow up to act violently. There are many things at every stage of life to overcome the negative effects of trauma and help people heal.

Indian Health Service (IHS) Addressing Teen Dating Violence

The IHS is working to increase collaboration within the health care system by ensuring our work, in partnership with Tribal leaders, helps create safer communities. Our goal is to deliver effective prevention efforts to address risk factors and increase protective factors.

It is vital that health care providers consider the linkages with social services, schools, criminal justice, and youth programs. Working in collaboration helps to increase support for blended funding streams, sharing infrastructure, building capacity, and bringing resources to where people, live, learn, work, and play.

The IHS has two grant programs that focus on reducing risk factors: the Domestic Violence Prevention Program (DVPP) and the Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Program (SASP). The DVPP funds 83 projects that deliver community-based violence prevention programs to combat domestic and sexual violence. This is important because violence is interconnected and it is important to work together to end all types of violence. The SASP is the biggest funding stream IHS has focused on Native Youth and funds 108 projects, totaling more than $19 million. The program primarily addresses suicide and substance use prevention which are important risk factors with teens. Projects across the country are combatting teen violence and related risk factors by increasing Native youth’s resiliency through programs that connect youth to a caring adult, equip them with coping skills, and utilize culture and traditional Native teachings to remove the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed.

Community Strategies to Prevent Teen Dating Violence

Everyone can be a part of ending teen dating violence. Encouraging healthy relationship behaviors that focus on boundaries, consent, and respectful communication are key factors in preventing teen dating violence.

Communities can get involved in combatting teen dating violence by working to ensure youth are engaged in supportive relationships with family, friends, and community groups, such as schools or faith-based organizations. Creating strong support networks give teens places to share experiences with a trusted space while fostering resiliency.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call:

Related Links:

Intimate Partner Violence

IHS Forensic Healthcare Professionals Assist Patients Healing from Trauma

Trauma Informed Care Provides Healing

Free online IHS Intimate Partner Violence Training for Health Care Providers Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Minette C. Galindo, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service and Erica Gourneau, RN, BSN, National Forensic Nurse Coordinator, Indian Health Service

Minette C. Galindo, MPA is a public health advisor in the IHS Division of Behavioral Health and serves as the Native youth lead and Behavioral Health Aide program lead. She is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Erica Gourneau, RN, BSN, also contributed to this blog. She is a National Forensic Nurse Coordinator in the Division of Behavioral Health at IHS Headquarters and is an enrolled member of the Turtle Band of Chippewa Indians.