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Health Picture of Health

Huguely case reminds us about the problem of teen dating violence

The case against George Huguely, accused of beating his girlfriend to death, reminds us about the problem of teen and young adult dating violence.

Huguely, 24, is on trial for murder for allegedly banging girlfriend Yeardley Love's head against a wall in May. Love's roommate later found her dead in her room.

The senior lacrosse players at UVA were a young couple in a tumultous relationship filled with physical abuse.

State health officials says these types of relationships are more common in young people than some might think.

Nearly one in three teens in the United States reports being a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, according to Break the Cycle, a national nonprofit organization that aims to stop teen and young adult dating violence. Nearly half of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors,  according to the group.

Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention (GOCCP) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), are recognizing Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month by reminding teens and parents that there are resources to help victims and witnesses of this violence.

“Domestic violence knows no boundaries, no limits, no borders, no colors. It affects every family regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, geography or age. And we must remember that this type of violence is not limited to marital relationships,” Brown said in a statement.

Teens and parents can turn to websites such as: www.teendvmonth.org, www.loveisrespect.org, www.ovw.usdoj.gov, or www.thatsnotcool.com.

DHMH also recently developed a document to help health care providers identify and address domestic and dating violence among patients. The document, “Intimate Partner Violence: A Guide for Health Care Providers."

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee Opinion on Intimate Partner Violence released this month notes the important role of OB-GYNs in women’s health, putting them in an ideal position to assess and provide support for women who experience intimate partner violence.

Brown has also launched domestic violence programs in state hospitals. He has personal expericne with domestic violence because his cousin Cathy was murdered by her estranged boyfriend in 2008.  Brown is leading efforts to increase the availability of hospital-based domestic violence screening programs.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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