Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790


College and High School Students, and Parents Encouraged to Learn Warning Signs

Allentown, PA (January 12, 2007) - Teenage and young adult dating violence is a growing problem across the country.  Concern for this issue has prompted the U.S. Senate and American Bar Association to designate February 12 - 16, 2007 as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.  To kick off the week, The Allentown Health Bureau, Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley and Cedar Crest College, along with many other community health and advocacy groups, are hosting a free public Dating Violence Awareness Event on Monday, February 12, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in the Alumnae Hall Auditorium. 

The program will include a special presentation by a prevention educator from Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley and an open discussion and question period. Student actors from Allentown Central Catholic High School (ACCHS), under the direction of Susan McDermott, director of theatre, speech and vocal music at ACCHS, will also present interactive role play highlighting the warning signs and escalation of dating violence in a relationship.  Representatives from the participating local organizations will have information tables and be on hand to answer questions and distribute materials.

Consider these alarming facts:

  • Dating violence does not discriminate by gender, race, socioeconomic status or geography.

  • One in five female high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a partner.

  • Dating violence among adolescents is associated with increased risk of substance abuse, sexual risk behaviors, pregnancy and suicide.

  • Locally, Lehigh Valley Hospital's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners reported that of the 484 sexual assault victims seen between 2001 and 2005, 56 percent were between the ages of 12 - 25.

 "Despite these facts, dating violence is a little talked about problem among family, at school or even among teens," says Jim Carlisle, injury prevention manager at the Allentown Health Bureau.  "The mission of this campaign is to develop a public awareness of the increasing occurrence of abusive and controlling behavior in relationships and to educate young adults, parents, professionals and the public about the warning signs of abuse, the consequences of staying in such a relationship and where to go for help."

In addition to the event, a number of the participating agencies are prepared to offer ongoing support to local schools and other groups in need of educational tools and materials and/or speakers about dating violence.

The agencies participating in this public awareness initiative include: The Allentown Health Bureau, Allentown School District, the Boys and Girls Club of Allentown, Catasauqua High School, Cedar Crest College, Center for Humanistic Change, Communities in Schools, Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley, Lehigh County Juvenile Probation with Mosser Village Family Center, Lehigh Valley Hospital Department of Community Health/SAFE_SART, PA Regional Community Policing Institute, Sacred Heart Hospital and Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley, Inc.

For more information about the event, please contact the Cedar Crest Special Events Hotline at 610-740-3791.



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