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07 Nov

While teen dating violence prevention programs increased knowledge and changed student attitudes to be less supportive of such behavior, they did not actually reduce dating violence, according to this meta-analysis of research on middle- and high school intervention programs, report investigators.The researchers noted a small reduction in victimization (i.e., experiences of psychological abuse and sexual and nonsexual violence in dating relationships) following participating in a program, but it was not sustained over time For their analysis, researchers used the results of 23 rigorous studies on the short- and long-term impact of school-based interventions on student knowledge of teen dating violence, attitudes toward teen dating violence, and frequency of perpetration or victimization in adolescent intimate partner relationships.When 21-year-old college senior Kristin Mc Covery was in high school, she was a beaming confident go-getter. "We got into an argument over I guess one of my times being slower than it was before - and I said something and he choked me by the water fountain," Mc Covery said.Monday's report found that teens who experienced dating violence were more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors: attempted suicide, binge drinking and drug use.

A 16-year-old verbally abusing and emotionally controlling his girlfriend after class might make for a less dramatic mental image than our glamorous celebrity examples, but it doesn’t deserve our attention any less.

"Reporting in these areas is very low," said Nilva.

"There are a lot of reasons that young people won't come forward.

One study reports that 25% of 8 graders say they’ve been victims of dating violence. While any amount of abuse is too much and worthy of our attention, the fact that this many students engage in abusive relationships at such a young age should serve as a warning sign that teen dating violence is a serious issue, and we can’t ignore it.

Let’s take another look at that 16-year-old and his girlfriend.