CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month and 22News took a look at how this affects young people.
It’s been seven years since the murder of local resident 17-year-old Kathryn Mauke by the hands of her ex-boyfriend. Her tragic story, helping to shed light on dating violence.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said, “One in 11 teenage girls will experience some form of physical dating violence in their teenage years.”
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Hampden District Attorney’s office is putting together a program to address that alarming statistic.
Anthony Gulluni added, “This program is educating young people and everyone concerned with the prevalence of this problem. How to prevent it, also how to acknowledge and observe signs that someone is suffering from some sort of domestic abuse.”
There are several signs of dating violence. Laura Penney-Edwards, of Safe Passage in Northampton told 22News, “Someone who might be checking your phone, keeping tabs on you, isolating you from friends and family, demonstrating extreme jealousy, insecurity, or possessive controlling behavior.”
Some are at more risk than others. Teens who are female, LGBTQ, or unsure of their gender identity are at a higher risk for physical and sexual dating violence compared to males and those who identify as heterosexual.
Parents are encouraged to speak honestly and openly with their teen about what healthy relationships look like and that violence has no place in a healthy relationship.
Laura Penney-Edwards added, “We know that one of the most protective things for young people is having a connection to trusted adults, having those strong community connections is actually a really important factor for young people.”
The Hampden District Attorney’s new program will be introduced October 25th.