Ask The DA: Coping with teen dating violence

February 25, 2013 Charles J. Hynes
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Recently my teenage daughter’s community college provided information on teen dating violence. There is someone that we would like to find counseling for that has left a relationship in which she was isolated from her friends and emotionally abused. Can you recommend where we can call for a referral for this young woman?


February is Teen Date Violence Awareness and Prevention Month which was created by Congress to give Americans the tools to prevent relationship abuse by building healthy relationships. Although teenagers may not be married, or even necessarily in serious relationships, dating physical abuse is considered an act of domestic violence.

Awareness of this issue must be raised, and we must provide information and prevention training in order to educate teens on the services that are available to them if they or someone that they know is a victim.

All teens, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic background, are vulnerable to relationship violence. Our youth need to be educated to recognize that any act of violence is wrong and illegal. Often victims are hit, threatened or verbally abused by their partner, but they do not perceive themselves as being in an abusive relationship.

Teen victims of domestic violence need intensive and specialized services. Generally, the most prevalent sign is fear of your partner. As a parent, it is important to know what to look for in your child’s relationship.

Try to keep an open dialogue with your teen about the concerns that you have. Be prepared to learn things that you may not necessarily expect and that may be difficult to hear. As a parent/guardian, your love, support and guidance will be necessary to help your child through this difficult time.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Teen Dating Violence Coordinator Farahnaz Rodriguez at 718-250-3016, or our Victim Services Unit at 718-250-3020.

Also, you can file a police report at your local precinct or come directly to our Family Justice Center at 350 Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn. Additionally, if you are in an abusive relationship, or know of someone who is being abused, you can call my office’s District Attorney’s Action Center at 718-250-2340, or “Day One,” which is a not-for-profit organization devoted to addressing teen dating violence, and which can be contacted at 212-566-9120 or

To have your questions answered in future columns, send your inquiries to [email protected].

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