Abuse in Teenage Dating

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January 5, 2009

Abuse in Teenage Dating

January 5, 2009 - To the Editor:

"Killings Prompt Efforts to Spot and Reduce Abuse of Teenagers in Dating" (news article, Jan. 4) brings national attention to a problem that has been too long ignored.

While the article mentioned the New York law allowing teenagers to obtain orders of protection, it did not note that such orders may not be recognized or enforced by the very institutions charged with caring for teenagers: their schools.

Although 43 percent of abused teenagers report that incidents of dating violence occur on campus, very few schools are helping their students.

In New York City, for example, the Department of Education and the individual schools do not have policies on teenage dating violence, and they do not train teachers or staff members to recognize dating violence and offer assistance and information.

Schools can be a serious impediment to the safety of abused teenagers, when they should be a safeguard against violence and abuse.

Naomi R. Shatz
New York, Jan. 5, 2009

The writer is a staff attorney and Skadden fellow, Teen Dating Abuse Program, at Legal Momentum.