Image that says, "Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence"

Every October, people and organizations across the country work to raise awareness about domestic violence, and on October 24, New Yorkers across the five boroughs will wear purple to join the cause.

Many people think “domestic violence,” only involves adults who live together. But this is not the case; in fact, domestic violence can happen between anyone in a familial or intimate relationship.

When domestic violence occurs between students, City schools often refer to it as “dating violence,” and unfortunately, it affects students more frequently than many of us may realize. According to NYC’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 1 in 8 City public high school students reported experiencing dating violence one or more times within the previous 12 months before the survey. That number was nearly 18 percent for the City’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, and 30 percent for pregnant/parenting teens. Violent acts included, “being hit, slammed into something, or injured with an object or weapon.”

This violence leads to serious consequences for victims and schools. The YRBS found that students who experienced intimate partner violence were also almost four times more likely than other students to have attempted suicide, over three times more likely to miss school because they felt unsafe, and three times more likely to have consumed alcohol. Another study found that students who are exposed to dating violence can act out, mimic aggressive behavior, withdraw, or harm themselves. This behavior then poses risks to other students and their learning environments.

Five hands holding one another

Adults should let their children know that healthy relationships are respectful and nonviolent, and involve trust, honesty, communication, and compromise. (Photo by wonder woman0731. Used under Creative Commons license.)

We also know that nationally:

Domestic violence isn’t only restricted to physical behavior; it can also occur in digital spaces. A recent study on digital dating abuse among high school students showed that:

  • 53.8% of students reported experiencing “digital monitoring/control,” (i.e. pressure to respond to text messages quickly, monitoring whereabouts, pressuring for passwords, etc.);
  • 46.3% reported experiencing “direct digital aggression,” (i.e. mean/rude text messages, rumors/threats/insults on social media, etc); and
  • 32.2% reported experiencing digital sexual coercion (i.e. pressure to “sext,” receiving unwanted photos, pressure to engage in sexual acts, etc.).
Flyer entitled 'What Makes a Healthy Relationship?'

Flyers like this one are placed in schools across the City. Experiencing dating violence? Call the NYC Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-4673.

How are NYC schools working to promote healthy relationships?

We know that positive social-emotional skills are critical for lifelong learning, personal happiness, healthy relationships, and long-term success.

To help ensure that NYC schools remain safe and respectful spaces for all of our students, in June 2019, we announced a major expansion of social-emotional learning across all City schools—the most comprehensive approach of any school system in the nation. Over the next three school years, schools across the City will develop and provide resources in support of students’ social-emotional development. Starting in Pre-K, City students will learn to get comfortable about talking openly and clearly about their feelings while building positive relationships with their peers. Every City teacher will have access to a strong social-emotional learning curriculum, and every teacher will soon be trained to teach this curriculum in their classrooms.

In the meantime, what can YOU do to combat domestic violence?

  • Wear Purple on October 24.
  • Take photos of purple landmarks and purple-wearing colleagues, and post them on social media with the hashtag, #NYCGoPurple and #DVAM2019.
  • Learn more about New York City’s domestic violence reporting and prevention services on the City’s NYC Hope website.
  • Bring in professionals like the NYC Healthy Relationship Training Academy to run a workshop for your group or organization.
  • Help a survivor (or yourself) by visiting a City Family Justice Center, which provides victims of domestic violence with comprehensive civil legal, counseling and supportive services.
  • Call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-621-HOPE if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence.
  • Attend the DOE’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Liaison training (DOE school staff members only) to become a resource for students and staff members in your school.
  • Attend the first-ever Consent and Relationships Education (CARE) Conference (DOE school staff members only) on November 5 at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. To register and learn more, visit the DOE’s Office of Safety and Youth Development website.

Together, we can all help to end domestic violence.

The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019