The Alfred E. Smith Building, home to the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, will be illuminated orange this evening to mark Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month and "Wear Orange Day," a nationally recognized initiative aimed at raising awareness about teen dating violence through prevention education. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation designating February Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month in New York State, while OPDV announced a month-long social media campaign, a year-long outreach effort to raise awareness about teen dating abuse and a forum with the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation to engage teens and help service providers develop best strategies to respond to and prevent dating abuse.
“As we continue our work to be survivor-centered in New York State, listening to voices of every age and experience is essential,” OPDV Executive Director Kelli Owens said. “This February, we are eager to focus on listening to teens’ input on dating abuse and highlight the tactics used even more frequently among this population, such as cyber abuse. We thank Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to increasing awareness of the many facets of gender-based violence. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration with organizations such as the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation to elevate the voices of young people throughout New York State.”
New York State has been a national leader in advancing the rights of women and girls, and OPDV is reaching out to teens and the adults who they interact with to assist with recognizing the signs of dating abuse, identifying means to prevent it and ensuring that teens find the support they need. OPDV’s forum with the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, which provides violence prevention and intervention services, will be private so teens can freely explore the signs of dating abuse and their responses to it. The forum will be part of a year-long campaign focused on listening to teens and giving them a voice.
OPDV will also mobilize a teen advisory group, launch a teen Instagram page and release YouTube videos. The social media platforms will host user-generated content, live chats, surveys and educational materials for both teens and the adults who interact with them. Throughout the year, OPDV will provide an array of training materials and fact sheets and host follow-up discussions with partner organizations to improve outreach, education and services for teens.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "There are sadly many forms of gender-based violence, and that includes teens who experience dating abuse. New York State's commitment to raising awareness and providing support services is deeply personal to me, as my mother was an advocate for domestic violence victims and survivors. I want to commend the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for their efforts to stem this ugly scourge. The more we educate, the better our chances of preventing and ending gender-based violence."
Joe Torre, Chairman and Co-Founder of Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, said, “The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation is proud to partner with the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to engage with more teens and prevent dating abuse. I grew up in a violent home where I felt the abuse was my fault. Too many children live in fear, feeling alone and ashamed. Our forums will address these issues head-on, listening and focusing on the signs and responses to teen abuse.”
New York State's Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-942-6906, text: 844-997-2121 or chat: @opdv.ny.gov. For a list of domestic violence hotlines by county, visit the New York State Domestic Violence Directory. The Office of Victim Services also funds a network of more than 200 community-based programs that support victims of crime and their families.