February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2021

Pensacola, Fla. (February 1, 2021) – Adolescents who experience trauma such as teen dating violence are vulnerable to future violence in relationships. They also are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences such as suicide attempts, eating disorders and substance misuse. Promoting awareness and prevention can help us break the cycle.

A teen may not realize what’s happening. Share some warning signs of a potential abuser: 

  • Checking the teen’s cell phone without permission
  • Jealous behaviors and belittling remarks
  • Explosive temper outbursts
  • Isolating the teen from loved ones
  • Mood swings and possessiveness 
  • Inflicting physical pain
  • Telling the teen what he/she can or can’t do

If a teen is the victim of dating violence, or any trauma, make sure the child feels safe. Report the crime to the police. Reach out to a mental health expert who can help navigate the discomfort and recovery process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides helpful resources on this topic at CDC.org and by searching “Teen Dating Violence.” Other supports forincreasing safety include:

  • Lakeview Center Victim Services 24/7 helpline - 850.433.7273
  • FavorHouse of Northwest Florida - 850.434.1177
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline - 800.799.SAFE (7233)
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673)

“Remind the teens in your life that they deserve a violence-free relationship and if dating violence occurs, the behavior is not their fault,” said Sweneda McDonald, LMHC Adult Outpatient Clinical Manager at Lakeview Center.