Dating Violence Discussion

Gina Clyde, Program Director at Bright Horizons in Norfolk, recently attended a roundtable discussion on teen dating violence, sexual assault, and related youth violence, hosted by Vice President Biden’s office in Washington D.C. Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, facilitated the discussion between the group of 25 researchers, professors, advocates, and teen victims. Discussion was held on the scope of the problem, why young people’s attitudes are tolerant of abuse, which issues are more crucial to address, and the best way forward for programs and policy to address the issue.

Many participants agreed that peer-to-peer education and outreach works for the teen population. Many also agreed that they would like to see a fourth “R” (relationships) in schools, which would mean a mandatory healthy relationship education class for students in Kindergarten through 12th grades. A small group of government officials listened in on the discussion and asked questions afterwards regarding what policies and funding would be beneficial to the prevention of teen dating violence and sexual assault.

“It’s encouraging to know Biden’s office is very concerned about these issues and wants input on what action steps to take for our country’s youth. It’s also exciting to know with the youth outreach teams Bright Horizons already has in place, we are on target with our prevention work in this area. This was an amazing opportunity and I am very fortunate to have been part of such an outstanding group of professionals that truly care about our teens,” said Gina.

Bright Horizons has two youth outreach teams, BRAVO (Bullying Recognition and Anti-Violence Organization) in O’Neill and HEROS (Helping to Empower and Respect Other Students) in Norfolk.

Ms. Rosenthal and her staff will be compiling the discussion and ideas. They plan to keep in touch with participants on how they will be using the ideas gathered for future policy and funding.