Apr 19, 2016

Dating Relationships and Abuse

Q: How often do people get seriously hurt or killed in abusive dating situations?

Ask an Advocate: All of the stats here come from LoveIsRespect.org Roughly 1.5 million US high schoolers (boys and girls) have been intentionally hit or physically harmed in the past year by someone they are romantically involved with.  That's about 1 in 10 high school students!  
And these behaviors don't stop in teenage years, 43% of dating college women report experiencing abusive and violent dating behaviors.  In fact, the odds of severe violence increase if the abusive behaviors started in adolescence.  
So the answer to how often people get seriously injured or killed is simply this: too many.  And the harm doesn't always come directly from the person who abuses their partner.  Half of all youth who have been victims of dating violence and rape attempt suicide.  Survivors of dating violence are more likely to develop problems with substance abuse, eating behaviors, risky sexual behaviors, and - notably - further domestic violence.

That's why we talk about Safety Planning with all of our clients and at many of our presentations.  If you'd like to look into what a dating safety plan looks like, please check here.  Or you can always call us to ask.  (Please keep in mind that we're mandated reporters).  

Q: What is a "Mandated Reporter"? 
Ask an Advocate: Almost all service providers, medical professionals, teachers, and counselors are regarded as mandated reporters in most states.   What that means is that we at ATVP are a confidential resource, but we have to break confidentiality in a few extreme cases.

  1. Imminent harm to self or others -
  2. If you have means and a plan for how to commit suicide or homicide, we'll reach out to other agencies to help get you help.

  3. Child (<18 years old) or vulnerable adult Abuse -
  4. If you disclose child or vulnerable adult abuse, then we may have to reach out to other agencies. Exception: if the police or CPS are already involved in the case in question, then we don't have to break confidentiality.
If you do disclose something that pushes against those boundaries of our confidentiality, we'll try to let you know, but we can't always get that information out right away.  Here are some ways that you can work with mandated reporters to protect your confidentiality while still accessing services.   
  1. You can work with us anonymously. If we don't have your name and age, then we don't have to make a report, unless you want us to! 
  2. You can talk about things hypothetically.  
  3. You can ask us to help you make a report.  
While Mandated Reporting can seem a bit tricky, please remember that it exists to protect people.  For a brief history of mandated reporting, check out www.socialworker.com.  

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