You may have the perfect relationship. But probably someone you know doesn’t. Check out the real facts of teen dating abuse here. Read More »

Warning Signs

Abuse escalates. Know the signs from early warnings to the lethal threats. It could save a life. Read More »

For Parents

DASH is for Parents: Articles and resources designed to keep you up to date with your teen, to keep you tech savvy, and to help you stay involved. Read More »

For Friends

DASH is for friends! Do you suspect your friend is in an abusive relationship. You CAN help. Read More »

For Guys

DASH is for guys. Be part of the solution. Get the facts and be a great role model for the people in YOUR life. Read More »


Strangulation now a felony in Virginia

Strangulation is one of the lethal warning signs in teen dating abuse and in domestic violence. As of July 1, 2012, in the State of Virginia attempting to strangle someone is a class 6 felony. The new law, which began as bill HB752 / SB459 from Del. Benjamin Clin (R-24th District) and Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd District) makes strangulation offenses punishable as a Class 6 Felony with up to 5 years in prison and a $2,500 fine. In addition, the new law applies to those in dating relationships rather than just those in households.

Before this law was enacted, strangulation was a misdemeanor like assault, battery or injury to a person. According to the domestic violence group Safe Harbor Shelter:

Strangulation is a common form of domestic violence

  • victims can lose consciousness within 10 seconds;
  • brain death can begin in 4-5 minutes;
  • short- and long-term physical, psychological and neurological health effects can occur;
  • accounts for 10% of violent deaths in US and most victims are women
  • injuries (including fatal injuries) can be sustained even several hours after an attack

School counselors lack training in teen dating violence

A nation-wide assessment of school counselors concludes that most do not have the proper training to help victims of teen dating violence. The August 2012 issue of  Pediatrics, the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, published the study which looked at the knowledge, training, perceptions, and practices of school counselors in dealing with teen dating violence incidents (described in the report as Adolescent Dating Violence ADV).

A questionnaire was sent to 550 members of the American School Counselors Association. From the 305 responses (58%), the report found:

“A majority of the school counselors reported that they did not have a protocol in their schools to respond to an incident of ADV (81.3%). Additionally, the majority (90%) of counselors reported that in the past 2 years, training to assist survivors of teen dating abuse has not been provided to personnel in their schools, their school did not conduct periodic student surveys that include questions on teen dating abuse behaviors (83%), and their school did not have a committee that meets periodically to address health and safety issues that include teen dating abuse (76%).”

Warning Signs – Substance Abuse

DASH’s early warning signs are meant to guide you in determining whether your relationship is healthy. In this series of articles, we will explore each warning sign in more depth so that you will have a better idea about what each sign means and if you need to address a problem in your relationship.

Our seventh early warning sign of abuse is:

Substance Abuse

You’ve been taught since elementary school that drugs and alcohol are bad news. With good reason, your teachers and parents have tried to impress on you the dangers of substance abuse. These dangers can escalate when your dating partner is under the influence.

Someone who uses drugs or alcohol can become more violent and paranoid.  A person under the influence does not have the same control over his/her emotions or reactions as when sober. A small issue or incident may get blown out of proportion. Whatever “little” things bother him/her will suddenly become big things. You may be caught in the cross-fire of a paranoid reaction. You are the one your partner may take his/her frustrations out on. If your partner exhibits other warning signs of dating abuse (threatens you, insults you, tells you what to do), he/she will only become worse under the influence.

Prevalence of Dating Violence Unchanged in CDC Report

The Centers for Disease Control recently released it 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance based on surveys of teens in grades 9-12 covering the September 2010-December 2011 time period. Surveys were conducted nationwide and included 43 state surveys and 21 large urban school surveys. An eye-opener for parents, the surveys covered such topics as health-risk behaviors (tobacco, drug and alcohol use), bullying, dating abuse, and emotional health. Tables within the report display the data by state and select cities.

Of concern to DASH is the survey’s results about teen dating abuse. Quoting directly from the report:

During the 12 months before the survey, 9.4% of students nationwide had been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend (i.e., dating violence). Overall, the prevalence of dating violence was higher among black (12.2%) and Hispanic (11.4%) than white (7.6%) students; higher among black female (11.8%) and Hispanic female (10.6%) than white female (7.7%) students; and higher among black male (12.4%) and Hispanic male (12.1%) than white male (7.4%) students.