Teen violence is widespread. The most common form is dating violence between intimate partners. While girls are usually the victims, boys can also be targeted. Abuse between partners can start at a young age. If the victim does not seek help, the pattern of abuse may be repeated and can lead to serious long-term issues.
The victim is not the only one impacted by teen violence. It can also have severe effects on family, friends, and the community as a whole. A new bill in California aims to help stop some violence by making sure teen victims have access to hotline numbers that can give them options on how to escape the abuse.
What is in California’s School ID Bill?
Previously, in California, all students in grades 7 to 12 were required to be issued a pupil ID card if they attended any public, private, or charter school. It is mandatory for the teen to have this ID on their person while in school. The purpose of the ID is to be able to identify students easily and to be able to account for them in the case of an emergency.
The new bill was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsome and it began to take effect in January 2020. The bill requires schools to add either the National Domestic Violence Hotline number or the contact information for a local domestic violence hotline to all student IDs.
Why is the Bill needed?
The purpose of the new bill is to allow teens to have access to crisis numbers that they may not otherwise be aware of. The crisis line can help with domestic violence issues, suicide prevention, and other mental health issues that the teen may be having. It can also help friends and family find ways to help someone they may think is a victim of teen violence.
Teens may have trouble asking for help or even seeking it online. Embarrassment, peer pressure, or an abusive relationship could keep them from taking the next step in getting assistance. Hopefully, having readily available information attached to their ID will help them be able to contact someone when they need help.
While the bill does not address the perpetrators of the violence, it does give some hope to the victims. it is not intended to be a one-stop bill that will end all teen violence. However, it does show progress by admitting that teen violence is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Teen Dating and Violence Statistics
Dating and domestic violence are common among teens in grades 7 to 12. In fact, nearly 1.5 million high school students report some form of dating or physical abuse from a partner. Even further, one in three adolescents is a victim of some form of abuse from a dating partner in their lifetimes. The number might be even higher in California. This type of abuse can be physical, verbal, or sexual.
Overwhelmingly, girls are the victims of dating abuse and violence. For these statistics, the ages looked at where from 16 to 24. Those between the ages of 16 to 19 saw the highest rate of intimate partner violence. Of those reporting violence, 94% of them claimed the abuse came from a current or ex-partner. For the age range of 20-24, the rate was 70%.
Violent behavior from dating partners can start as young as 12. Often, the severity of violence escalates and those that were exposed to it a younger age are more likely to continue the pattern of being a victim in future relationships. Giving teens, especially girls, access to crisis numbers will hopefully allow them to seek the help they need before the violence intensifies any further.
Long-lasting Effects of Dating Violence
Violent intimate dating violence can have long-lasting effects on teens. It has an effect on the victim and the victim’s family and friends. Those exposed to violence have a higher incidence of further domestic violence, homicide, substance abuse, risky sexual behavior, and eating disorders. Girls also have a higher incidence of teen pregnancy or STIs when they are victims of dating violence.
Youth violence can also affect communities. For example, higher incidences of reported violence may increase local health care costs. It can also decrease home property values because areas with higher incidences of violence are not attractive to home buyers. Teen and dating violence is not an issue that is solely the responsibility of schools or teens or parents. Rather, it is a community issue and the new bill is a first step in helping address the problem.