Contact: Stephanie Nilva, (212) 590-9501 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DAY ONE SUPPORTS NYC DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION'S NEW PROTECTIONS AGAINST DATING ABUSE
October 18, 2011 / New York — The New York City Schools Chancellor's Regulations bar sexual harassment and sexual assault, but until last week did not prohibit dating abuse, a form of domestic violence that affected one in ten local teenagers last year. Now that has changed. Regulation A-831 addressing "Student-to-Student Sexual Harassment" now includes specific language that for the first time protects students from
- Dating abuse, and
- Electronically posting, displaying or distributing sexually oriented or suggestive objects, pictures, drawings or images.
Specific prohibitions against digital abuse are also new. In addition to the above restrictions against transmitting sexual imagery, the regulations now define "written harassment" to include abusive communications transmitted by "internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant or wireless handheld devices." Day One has been lobbying for such policy changes since the organization's inception. In addition, Day One is countering the rise of technology abuse with cell phone text and instant messaging services that allow youth to ask confidential questions about their relationships.
"With growing use of technology among teenagers to stalk, harass and emotionally abuse their partners, updates to the regulations are timely and essential," says Stephanie Nilva, Executive Director of Day One. "Young people, and their parents, may not be aware that the federal law barring sexual harassment also outlaws dating abuse. We applaud the Department of Education for taking this important step. Having the prohibited behaviors spelled out in their regulations will go far in protecting students from relationship abuse. We hope this is a first step toward incorporating more comprehensive protections for young survivors. Schools are still in need of preventive education for all students along with policies and procedures for handling incidents of abuse."
The revised DOE regulations require a principal to notify both the victim's and the perpetrator's parents about the alleged incident. However, Day One and other domestic violence organizations advocated strongly that parental involvement be informed by the potential risks to the victim. In a powerful recognition of the complexity of dating violence, the regulations provide that a principal may consider "privacy and safety concerns" of the victim when determining whether to notify the hsis or her parents. This provision will protect young survivors who may face greater danger from the perpetrator, or additional reprisal at home, if the report is made. All of these new policies and procedures must be discussed with students and staff members by October 31 each year.
About Teen Dating Violence
Experts estimate that as many as one in three teenagers experiences abuse in a dating relationship. Even though an estimated 20-30% of teenagers in New York City experience dating violence, the Department of Education does not mandate education for youth – or guidance counselors – about dating violence. The 2009 NYC Department of Health Risk Survey found that one in ten teens had been physically assaulted within the previous year. In a 2005 study of incoming freshmen at a New York City public college, more than 50% of students indicated that a close peer was involved in a violent relationship in the past year.
About Day One
Day One partners with New York City youth to recognize, prevent and end dating abuse. Through preventive education, free and confidential supportive services, legal assistance and community programs, Day One helps young people make healthy choices from day one of dating. For more information, see www.DayOneNY.org.
For interviews and commentary on what Day One is doing to help young people in New York City, contact Stephanie Nilva, Executive Director, at 212.590.9501.
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