During her senior year of high school, Lily* participated in AWARE®’s teen dating abuse prevention workshop, It’s Not Love®, and learned about the warning signs of abusive relationships. Following the workshop, Lily began to recognize signs of abuse in her parents’ marriage and became concerned about the escalating emotional and financial abuse she was witnessing at home. Lily looked back at the resources she received during the workshop and decided to call JCADA’s free and confidential helpline for guidance and support. Lily soon began to meet regularly with a JCADA clinician and found a safe place to discuss the abuse she was observing at home. In addition, Lily used her counseling sessions to learn how to build her own healthy relationships while managing the stress of being in college.
Lily’s story highlights the unique services available at JCADA to teens and young adults, ages 14-25. JCADA is the only domestic abuse organization in Montgomery County that has clinicians who specialize in working with teens and young adults who witness or experience abusive relationships. According to national data1 one in three adolescents in the United States is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. In addition, a three year study found that while only 54% of women admitted that their children knew about the abuse going on in their relationship, 77% of the children said that they were aware of the abuse.2 These statistics emphasize the importance of both the prevention workshops and counseling services JCADA provides for teens. Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. JAMA Pediatrics, 169 (5), 474-482.s and young adults. Our AWARE® program creates a unique and accessible path to JCADA’s support services where teens and young adults can focus on creating a safety plan for themselves, developing healthy coping skills, identifying the warning signs of abusive relationships and learning how to build healthy ones, improving self-awareness, self-esteem and relationships with others, and improving functioning in the home, school, and community.
Our mission at JCADA is not only to ensure that anyone who is witnessing or experiencing domestic or dating abuse has the resources and support, but to ultimately break the cycle and empower younger generations to build healthy and safe relationships.
1 Vagi, K. J., Olsen, E. O. M., Basile, K. C., & Vivolo-Kantor, A. M. (2015). Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. JAMA Pediatrics, 169 (5), 474-482.