BCFS partners with Del Rio schools to instruct youth on healthy relationships and teen dating violence prevention
DEL RIO — The statistics are staggering. One in four high school girls have been victims of date rape, or physical or sexual abuse. Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
Domestic violence outreach coordinators and child abuse prevention specialists from BCFS’ Del Rio Family Services Center visited local middle schools, high schools and alternative schools this month to educate students on dating violence and unhealthy relationships. BCFS met with approximately 980 students between 6th and 12th grade to lead discussions on the warning signs of abuse, and what to do if you’re in an unhealthy relationship.
BCFS leads community education and outreach events every month aimed at ending cycles of abuse in Del Rio for good. The organization amped up its outreach the past several weeks in honor of February as national Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
BCFS encourages parents, other trusted adults and friends to look for the warning signs that a teen might be experiencing dating violence. Suspicious bruising, failing grades, and a disinterest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed are all cause for concern. Signs that a teen may be at risk for carrying out dating violence include issues with anger management, insulting or mean-spirited comments toward their partner, and threatening physical harm if there is talk about a break up.
BCFS Health and Human Services operates programs throughout Del Rio to serve those in need, including free counseling and crisis intervention through the Services To At Risk Youth (STAR) program, and domestic violence treatment and prevention through the Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program.
DRDV provides safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence through legal assistance, referrals to access community resources, emergency medical care, and safety planning. Last year, the program helped over 100 adults and children through face-to-face services to stop the cycle of abuse, including violence intervention and safety planning.
“Our main goal is fostering safe and loving environments,” says BCFS Senior Program Director Raquel Frausto Rodriguez. “When someone affected by abuse looks to us for help, we use resources, counseling and education to try to help them see that violence is never the answer, and that there are more effective ways to handle problems.”
BCFS’ STAR program aims to reduce family conflict and prevent delinquent behaviors, runaways, truancy and child abuse by helping youths and their families learn to resolve crises and develop coping and parenting skills. Services include free counseling in a home or office setting, crisis intervention, training for parents and youth, and emergency residential placements.
BCFS’ Domestic Violence Hotline is available round-the-clock at (830) 768-2755.
For more information about BCFS’ Family Services Center in Del Rio, including help for someone in an abusive relationship, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DomesticViolence or call (830) 768-2755.
*Statistics provided by Love Is Respect, Break the Cycle, and the National Dating Abuse Helpline.
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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected, assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities, mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services, medical services, transitional living services for at-risk youth and those in the juvenile justice system, residential camping and retreats for children and families, and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.