Teens just coming into their own may not be able to identify abusive behavior when it’s happening. That’s why Advocates Crisis Support Services, an organization that provides support and counseling to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is in Moffat County to help.
The nonprofit took time this week to host tabling events at Craig Middle School, Moffat County High School, Goal Academy and the alternative school to educate students about dating violence and abuse.
It’s to “make the kids aware what abuse actually is,” said Denise Bagley, administrative assistant for Advocates.
That education can help teens identify problematic behavior in a world with new technologies.
The Advocates team took time to explain to students the problems of abusive texting; whether that was in the form of constant messaging or sending texts with explicit language or graphic photos.
Teens experience violence, at their home or in their relationships, at alarming rates, Bagley said.
The state’s 44 domestic violence centers recorded serving nearly 27,000 victims in 2012, and of those clients a “staggering” 30 percent were 17 years old or younger, she said.
To encourage students to learn more, Advocates held a prize drawing. Students had to fill out quizzes or tell the Advocates table something they learned from the information provided to enter their name in the drawing. Then they had a chance to win prizes such as gifts cards to fast food restaurants.
Advocates received $800 worth of in-kind donations from the community, Bagley said.
But the point of the events is to educate and show students where they can seek support if they are in an abusive relationship or experiencing violence at home.
The teens showed enthusiasm about participating. They grabbed quizzes and shared the information with their friends.
“There’s some adults that do care about teenagers,” Moffat County High School junior Carmen Carrasco said.
She appreciated the information because it would be easy to share with classmates, she said.
“Our youth outreach events are extremely important in educating our young people to stay safe and, in the cases where abuse has already occurred, we are there to offer support through a variety of services,” Bagley said in an email.
Advocates will host another tabling event at 11:10 a.m. Friday at Moffat County High School.
Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.