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Domestic Violence Fatality Review Recommendations: Teens

Based on in-depth reviews of 84 domestic violence homicide and murder-suicide cases, the DVFR identified 11 key goals to improve the response to domestic violence in Washington State. Among these key goals: Increase knowledge about teen dating violence and young people’s access to appropriate services and interventions.

The following is a summary of recommendations related to youth and teens from the six DVFR reports issued 2000-2010. Page numbers (in parentheses) indicate where each recommendation can be found in the full report, along with victim stories and relevant findings from review teams.

Full reports are available here.

2010: Up to Us

Domestic violence advocates: Build the capacity of parents and adults who work with youth— for example, teachers, after-school care providers, camp counselors, youth group leaders, coaches, and teen parenting program staff—to provide information and support around healthy relationships and abuse. (30)

Domestic violence advocates and adults who work with youth: Use WSCADV’s interactive education tool In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence to help parents and adults who work with youth learn about teen dating violence. (30)

Schools, parent teacher associations, and school boards: Promote a school environment that includes teachers, administrators, counselors, and health care providers who are educated about dating and domestic violence; school curricula that provide opportunities to discuss healthy relationship models; and policies and protocols for responding to domestic and dating violence among students, families, and staff. (30)

2008: Now That We Know

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy should conduct research to explore how the evidence-based treatment models and screening instruments currently used in Washington State’s juvenile justice system do or do not address dating and intimate partner violence. (84)

Domestic violence programs and batterer’s intervention programs should make connections with juvenile probation officers, juvenile offender treatment providers, and professionals conducting assessments of juvenile offenders to provide training about domestic violence and how to identify intimate partner violence in screening, and to facilitate referrals when intimate partner abuse is identified. (84)

Funders should support the development, implementation, and evaluation of batterer’s intervention programs that are specific to teens abusing their dating partners. These interventions should be appropriate for juvenile domestic violence offenders as well as youth referred from the community. (84)

Domestic violence programs should develop domestic violence resource information and outreach materials specific to teens and provide these to law enforcement agencies. (86)

Law enforcement officers should provide domestic violence information and referrals to all victims of intimate partner violence, including those under age sixteen. (86)

Judges and commissioners should receive training regarding teen dating violence, including the potential lethality in these cases. (86)

2006: If I Had One More Day…

The Washington State Legislature should require all middle schools and high schools to develop and implement a policy for responding to domestic and dating violence when it is identified as an issue for students, faculty, or staff. Schools should partner with local, community-based domestic violence programs when developing these policies and the Legislature should provide schools and domestic violence programs with funding to support this work. (47)

The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) should collaborate with state-level domestic violence advocacy experts to review how its healthy relationships curriculum addresses domestic and dating violence and develop a plan for promoting and training on the use of this curriculum. (48)

Middle schools and high schools should identify strategies for providing ongoing information to all students, multiple times throughout their education, about healthy relationships, interpersonal boundary setting, how to recognize abusive tactics, and the support resources available. Schools should involve students in the discussion and development of these strategies to ensure their relevancy. (48)

Teen dating violence prevention education should include development of peer advocacy and a partnership with a local domestic violence agency. (48)

School resource officers, school counselors, and school nurses should all have written information available on healthy relationships, tactics of abuse, and support resources in language that is clear, relevant, and accessible to young people. (48)

People who work with teens in any capacity should receive training regarding teen dating violence, how to talk to teens about relationships, and the resources available to them. (48)

Funders and domestic violence programs should recognize teen dating violence education, peer advocacy, and prevention efforts as a part of core services. (48)

Domestic violence programs should collaborate with those in the community already working with teens, such as camp counselors and youth group leaders, to build community capacity to provide information and support around teen dating violence. Individuals who have developed expertise in this area should be visible in the community and at events where teens gather. (48)

Domestic violence coalitions and community-based programs should work together to develop model materials for parents of teens who are being abused and develop best practice models for providing outreach and services to families of teen victims. (49)

All perinatal health care providers and all professionals providing parenting education to teens should partner with a local domestic violence program to receive training on the dynamics of control in abusive relationships, and how to discuss abuse using language that is relevant and accessible to teens. (50)

Due to the prevalence of domestic violence among teen parents, information about dating violence, safety planning, and resources available should routinely be provided to all pregnant teens by health care providers, caseworkers, educators, and any other professionals working with pregnant teens. This practice should be adopted rather than screening for abuse and waiting for a teen to self-identify as a domestic violence victim. (50)

The Department of Social and Health Services Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration and Children’s Administration, in collaboration with juvenile courts, youth advocates, and domestic violence experts, should develop policies and protocols for professionals working in the juvenile justice system to address domestic and dating violence. (50)

2004: Every Life Lost Is a Call for Change

The Washington State Legislature should fund innovative, community-based child abuse prevention and juvenile delinquency prevention programs based in agencies which already have trust and credibility within their target communities. (78)

2000: Honoring Their Lives, Learning from Their Deaths

People who work with teens in any capacity should receive training regarding teen dating violence and domestic violence, and teen advocacy resources in the community. (42)

Teen centers and teen shelters which provide safe, nonviolent, positive environments with access to responsive adults are needed in each community. (43)

Communities should ensure that schools can function as a “community resource center” for teens, providing them with more of what they need in terms of support, anti-violence education, and social work resources. (43)

Schools should: find ways to provide meaningful resources to young people encountering domestic violence at home or in an intimate relationship; include teen dating violence in any anti-violence curriculum; train adults within the school to respond quickly and decisively with teens who are in danger; respond to dating violence in ways which do not stigmatize the victim or place the burden of safety solely on her (i.e. allowing the abuser to continue attendance at school and essentially forcing the victim to leave the school); send a message to all students that violence is intolerable and back it up with action and sanctions against violent youth when it occurs. (44)

Teen prevention education should include development of peer advocacy, ongoing support systems, and community organizing skills. (44)

Parents and communities need non-criminalizing alternatives to responding to runaway situations (in particular, teens who have left home to be with an abusive partner). (45)