Bar News - February 22, 2008
Report Gives New Hampshire an “A” On Preventing Teen Dating Violence
On Feb. 4, Break the Cycle, a domestic violence law center that promotes the rights of youth, issued the first-ever state-by-state report cards evaluating the level of legal protection each state offers young victims of domestic and dating violence. The report was issued in conjunction with National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week, February 4-8, 2008.
According to the report, one-in-three teens will experience some form of abuse in a dating relationship. Teens who suffer in abusive relationships are increasingly likely to take part in drug use, alcohol abuse, high-risk sexual behaviors, eating disorders and suicide; hence the importance of laws that protect minors from abusive relationships.
The Break the Cycle report cards are designed to draw attention to the discrepancies between the protections afforded to adult victims of violence as compared to teen victims. States were graded on an A through F scale. Those states that do not allow minors to obtain restraining orders were given an automatic failure.
Fifteen states received an “F” while only three - California, New Hampshire and Oklahoma - received “A’s.” New Hampshire is the only state in the country that specifically allows minors of any age to go to court by themselves to apply for protective orders.
Along with the grades, Break the Cycle released recommendations for improvement of state domestic violence laws. Read those recommendations and the full report.
Editor’s Note: The Domestic Violence Emergency (DOVE) Project is a program of the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Pro Bono Referral Program that provides victims of domestic violence with emergency legal services. DOVE is operated in partnership with domestic violence services agencies throughout New Hampshire and relies on the donated services of specially trained attorneys. Find out how you can help by contacting DOVE Coordinator Pam Dodge at 603-224-6942 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.