Teen Dating Violence Prevention
Section 1006.148, F.S. requires school districts to adopt and implement a policy prohibiting dating violence and abuse by any student on school property, during a school sponsored activity, or during school-sponsored transportation, and providing procedures for responding to such incidents of dating violence or abuse, including accommodations for students experiencing dating violence or abuse.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Teen Dating Violence is a pattern of emotional, verbal, sexual, or physical abuse used by one person in a current or past dating relationship to exert power and control over another when one or both of the partners is a teenager. Abuse may include insults, coercion, social sabotage, sexual harassment, stalking, threats and/or acts of physical or sexual abuse. The abusive partner uses this pattern of violent and coercive behavior to gain power and maintain control over the dating partner. This may also include abuse, harassment, and stalking via electronic devices such as cell phones and computers, and harassment through a third party, and may be physical, mental, or both. In Teen Dating Violence relationships, there are Three Important Roles:
- The Abuser - A person who physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally hurts a dating partner.
- The Victim - A person who is hurt physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally by a dating partner.
- The Bystander - A person who is aware that someone is being abused in a dating relationship. The bystander may become aware of the abuse through the abuser's or target's actions or words, or through second-hand information.
- Florida's Law (S. 1006.148, F.S.)
- FDOE's Model Policy (PDF)
- FDOE Memorandum and Policy Requirements (PDF)
What Can You Do About Teen Dating Violence
If you observe that someone you know may be a victim of Teen Dating Violence, DO:
- Listen to what the student, family or friend is saying without interrupting.
- Find out what the person would like to do about the relationship and support them regardless of their decision.
- You may let them know that abuse usually gets worse over time. Let them know that you will be there for them if they ever need you.
- Expect the person to be confused about their feelings and about what to do. Expect them to change their mind, maybe even a few times.
- Watch your body language and respect the person's right to privacy and personal space.
- Help the person become informed of available resources, some of which are listed on this page.
- Decide how you should proceed with informing any other persons, especially if you feel the person's safety may be in danger.
Be careful… DO NOT:
- Judge the person
- Give advice - Instead talk to them about the choices they have and help them find persons able to help
- Ask unnecessary questions ; the victim may shut down if they feel like they are being pressed to share information that they aren't ready to talk about
- Confront the person's abusive partner about the abuse - confronting the abuser may put you in danger, and may put the victim at increased risk
- Set clear policies about reporting dating abuse or violence of any kind, whether it occurs on campus or not, as required in Florida Statute 1006.148.
- Work to create a school environment where respect, responsibility and safety are promoted.
- Take all protection orders, or other court orders due to dating abuse, seriously and proactively enforce the order on campus.
- Train staff to recognize signs of dating abuse and intervene appropriately - local centers can assist.
- Teach an evidenced-based and effective curriculum about dating abuse.
- Host school-wide dating abuse campaigns involving students. Give students responsibility in the planning and organizing of such events.
- Educate parents about the issue.
- Identify local community resources and make these available to students in a safe, accessible place; some students may not feel comfortable asking for resources directly
Obtaining a Protection Order
The following types of abuse can result in a protection order
If someone has physically abused, sexually abused, attempted or threatened to physically abuse, stalked and/or unlawfully held another person against his/her will, a protection order may be obtained for the victim's safety.
How do teens get a protection order?
- If a teen qualifies for a protection order, they may go to court and file for a temporary order, which lasts for 15 days.
- If the judge schedules a hearing, they can grant a permanent order that lasts as long as the judge orders.
- Contact your local domestic violence center for more information and assistance with applying for a teen dating violence protection order.
- Many local domestic violence centers can assist with this process
Resources for Teen Dating Violence
Curriculum Resources for Teachers
- Get Smart. Get Help. Get Safe. Teenage Dating Abuse Training for Specialized Instructional Support Personnel
National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Florida Abuse Hotline
Phone: 1-800-453-5145 (TDD)
Florida Domestic Violence Hotline
TTY Hotline: 1-800-621-4202
Non-emergency Legal Hotline: 1-800-500-1119 prompt 3
Prevention & Programs
Florida Department of Health
Sexual Violence Prevention Program
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin #A-13
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1723
Phone: 850-245-4455 (for education and campaign resources)