Dear [Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss – Insert name(s) of key staff person(s)]:
Teens are at great risk for domestic and dating violence. One in three teens experiences some type of abuse in their romantic relationships, including verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. In fact, females between 16 and 24 are the most vulnerable, experiencing the highest rates of relationship violence.
Teaching teens about dating violence and their right to healthy relationships is a responsibility that schools should recognize and undertake. The AAUW Educational Foundation has shown that 85% of students nationwide report that students harass other students at school. In addition, of those teens experiencing dating violence, 42% of boys and 43% of girls say the abuse occurs in school or on school grounds.
Harassment at school can come from an abusive partner, linking teen dating violence and harassment.
In 2010, Break the Cycle, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to teen dating violence prevention, released their yearly State-by-State Teen Dating Violence Report Cards
, which address each state’s laws and protections as they pertain to teens. The information collected was startling – nearly half the states do not offer adequate protection for minors to get protection when involved in abusive situations. Without strong legislation that provides better legal protection and continued education in our schools, this epidemic will continue to grow.
I request that you reflect on this serious issue and act to ensure the safety and education of all students. Students deserve a safe school where they can confidentially seek and receive help resources. Lastly, students should be able to make decisions to help protect ourselves, like receiving a protective order against an abusive partner. Please support us by committing to stopping dating violence.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and give your utmost consideration to this issue. If you would like to find more information about domestic and dating violence and what every legislator, educator or community member can do to prevent it, please visit thesafespace.org and/or breakthecycle.org.
[Name(s) and contact information of student participant(s)]