Breakup violence: Resources for teens and parents

Breakup violence among teens is a crime that has no zip code. It's urban, suburban, and rural. A
relationship ends and what happens is an emotional surge of uncontrollable anger. It can be verbal
or physical and sometimes, as in the case of Wayland, Mass., teen Lauren Astley, it can end in death.
The statistics are startling. Researchers estimate that one in three young adults between the ages of
14 and 20 has experienced some form of dating violence. "Of teenagers who are in abusive
relationships, 3 percent will tell an authority figure, 6 percent will tell a family member, but 75
percent will tell a friend - that's why we focus on kids," former Middlesex County, Mass., District
Attorney Gerry Leone tells "48 Hours".
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) | 1-800-787-3224 [TTY]
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Teen advocates and awareness
All through Massachusetts, teenagers are working to bringing awareness to the growing problem of
dating and breakup violence. Students participating in Lincoln Sudbury High School's Mentors in
Violence Prevention program give a dramatic presentation to fellow students about the warning
signs of dating abuse and breakup violence. Students with Boston's Start Strong program aim to
promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence and Shawsheen Regional Technical
High School's dating awareness club meets weekly to discuss how to educate classmates about the
dangers of dating abuse. Watch the video above and below to hear from the students.
Play Video
48 Hours Segment Extras
Teen advocates on dating abuse, warning signs
Massachusetts teens from Lincoln Sudbury H.S., Shawsheen Regional Technical H.S., and Boston's
Start Strong program discuss healthy and unhealthy...
Expert weighs in on teen dating and breakup violence
Boston Public Health Commission Executive Director Barbara Ferrer talks to "48 Hours" about what
parents need to know about teen dating abuse, the impact of social media, and the importance of
healthy dating relationships. Social media has "added a level of stress that, we, as adults, haven't
had to deal with and we really need to make sure that young people understand that and set
boundaries around their digital lives," said Ferrer.
Play Video
48 Hours Segment Extras
An expert weighs in on teen dating violence
Boston Public Health Commission Executive Director Barbara Ferrer talks about what parents need
to know about teen dating abuse, the impact of so...
The warning signs
According to Love is, dating abuse is a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert
power and control over a dating partner. It can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from
healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Here are some things to be aware of:
Teens and technology:
Social media adds enormous pressure -- the digital footprint that every young person lives with
makes breaking up harder, sometimes humiliating. It's a recipe for disaster. "... the loss, the
breakup, it's tweeted ... it's texted about. It's Facebook-ed," Leone said. "Everybody's electronically
communicating about it. And what it tends to do is exacerbate the entirety of the situation.
Teen survivor helping others
Brittny Henderson of Burlington Wis., came face-to face with dating abuse her freshmen year in high
school. "It all happened so slowly," Brittny explained of the increasingly aggressive and controlling
behavior her once goofy, fun boyfriend started exhibiting. Brittny's father stepped in and ended the
relationship for her. She now volunteers at the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline. "Once you're
involved in it, it sucks you in. Anyone can fall victim to abuse."
Play Video
48 Hours Segment Extras
Teen dating violence: A survivor shares her story
Brittny Henderson, 21, shares her personal story of surviving an abusive dating relationship while in
high school with "48 Hours" correspondent T...
Resources on the web:
Love is Respect is a joint project between the National Dating Abuse Helpline and Break the Cycle to
provide resources for teens, parents, friends and family, peer advocates, government officials, law
enforcement officials and the general public. All communication is confidential and anonymous. engages, educates, and empowers youth to build lives and communities free from
domestic and dating violence.
National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation's leading resource and advocacy organization for
crime victims.
The Date Safe Project is committed to being the nation's leading organization for teaching how
"asking first" makes all the difference in creating safer intimacy and in decreasing occurrences of
sexual assault.
Futures Without Violence has led the way and set the pace for ground-breaking education programs,
national policy development, professional training programs, and public actions designed to end
violence against women, children and families around the world. focuses on preventing dating
abuse by educating 11- 14-year-olds about healthy
The Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Fund was
created by her parents. It's mission is to promote
dynamic educational programs, particularly those in
the areas of the development of healthy teen
relationships, the arts and community service.
Created from tragedy, Dating Abuse Stops Here, or
DASH, was created to inspire and inform a community. The site offers fact sheets, information, and
resources about teen dating abuse to help teens, their parents and friends understand more about
this growing problem.
That's Not Cool addresses ways teens can work against dating abuse in their everyday actions.
The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women is a comprehensive and easily
accessible online collection of full-text, searchable materials and resources on domestic violence,
sexual violence and related issues. provides easy-to-understand legal information to women living with or escaping
domestic violence.
OnWatchCampus is a mobile app designed to help keep students on college campuses safe by giving
them the tools to plan and inform the people they trust when they need help.
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