Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.
Legal Responses to Teen Dating Violence
Not only do more teens than adults keep dating violence a secret, the majority of teen victims never obtain mental health services, seek protection in shelters, or pursue legal help, such as cases against abusers and protection orders.1 These findings are exacerbated for male survivors, who are more than two times less likely than girls to seek help and/or report. 2 When teens do seek help regarding dating violence victimization, they typically turn to peers rather than turning to adults or going through a formal reporting process.
The lack of teens’ help-seeking behavior is particularly concerning given the fact that youth who are victimized by and exposed to violence have a higher likelihood of future delinquent behavior and involvement with the juvenile justice system than those who are not. 3 Research has proven that the presence of supportive peer and adult allies, strong and open avenues of communication where youth feel comfortable expressing their issues, and enrollment in schools that address not only the academic needs of youth but also their social and emotional needs all serve as protective factors against youth delinquency. 4 Therefore, receiving informal and formal support following exposure to teen dating violence could serve as a significant protective factor against future violence and delinquency for youth.
Schools and youth-serving organizations should consider implementing accessible, uncomplicated, straightforward formalized reporting mechanisms to increase the number of youth who receive help. 5 Establishing peer support networks to spread awareness of dating violence prevention efforts and offer support to survivors is also recommended. 6
Access issues contribute to the lower rate of pursuing legal recourse among teens. Such barriers include requirements related to age (e.g., protective orders are not available for minors), relationship status (e.g., limiting the definition of domestic abuse to abuse between partners who are married, cohabitate, or have children together), and parental consent (e.g., not allowing access to those teens who will not or cannot tell their parents about the abuse).7 For a description of state legal responses to teen dating violence, go to the nonprofit group Break the Cycle’s 2010 State Law Report Cards: A National Survey of Teen Dating Violence Laws.
1 Break the Cycle, 2008; Lachman, Zweig, Dank & Yahner, 2019
2 Thornberry, 2008; Cuevas et al., 2013
3 Risk & Protective Factors, n. d
4 Lachman, Zweig, Dank, & Yahner, 2019
5 Lachman, Zweig, Dank, & Yahner, 2019
6 Break the Cycle, 2010; Saperstein, 2005
Other Resources on this Topic
Tools & Guides
Videos & Podcasts
Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people
Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.
Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.
Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.
Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).