“It is essential that dating violence and the needs of minor victims be specifically addressed within state domestic violence statutes,” said Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of Break the Cycle. to propose legislation that will ensure the protection of all victims of domestic violence — regardless of their age.” National surveys have estimated that one in three youths experiences dating abuse at some point during their teens — incidents ranging from a slap on the cheek to homicide.Despite the high rate of abuse, Break the Cycle and other advocacy groups say too many states do not treat dating violence with appropriate seriousness.“If you’re a parent, you want to know if your child is in danger, but on other hand, teens want the anonymity, to not have to tell their parents,” she said.
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“Some states feel that if have they good child abuse laws, minors are protected,” Gilberg said in a telephone interview.
“There’s definitely a lack of awareness about the prevalence of abuse among teens in their relationships.” Break the Cycle contends that all young people over 12 should have the right to petition for protection on their own behalf and that domestic violence protection orders should be available even against abusers who are minors.
They may have strained relations with their parents or come from a home where domestic violence already is occurring.
Korobov, a former prosecutor in Indianapolis and Loudoun County, Va., said it’s important in such instances for courts to provide an attorney or other expert to guide the youth through the legal process.
For example, in Ohio, which got a failing grade, Attorney General Richard Cordray and some lawmakers have been promoting a bill this year that would allow juvenile courts to issue protection orders for minors in dating relationships.