Groundbreaking New Website by FLEC at NBIMC Educates Teen Girls about Domestic Violence and Abuse
Monday, January 30, 2012 • 5:06pm
As more teenagers turn to the Internet to seek answers for their many areas of concern, the Family Life Education Center (FLEC) at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) has created an innovative and interactive, bilingual online teen education center about the dangers of interpersonal or partner (or dating) violence, and offers an accompanying support group for teen girls.
The combination of services, including an additional link on the website that offers an opportunity for girls to talk to an expert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a groundbreaking effort, the first in New Jersey, to reach teens where they are most likely to search for information.
“We decided to address the needs of our middle and high school girls by meeting them where they are, on the Internet, through a bilingual website that addresses questions about domestic violence, dating abuse and other areas of concern,” says Dr. Christine Baker, Director of the Family Life Education Center, which focuses on the prevention and intervention of child abuse and neglect by enhancing parenting skills. “Teen girls who witness violence are at risk for victimization now and in the future, even if they think they are not.”
The new site, located at www.AreasKeepGirlsSafe.com, is made possible by a grant from The Verizon Foundation through a Domestic Violence Solutions award. It provides teens with the facts about interpersonal abuse, from identifying what abuse is to providing a list of frequently asked questions and answers. Access links, videos, quizzes and a questionnaire are offered, with a variety of topics including how to help a friend who is experiencing abuse. AREAS stands for Attitude Review, Education And Support.
The support group AREAS 4 U, held at a private location, and an email option at AREAS@barnabashealth.org where teens can have questions privately answered daily, provide real life support beyond the website.
“We know that in cases of interpersonal violence, the most dangerous time is when the victim is trying to leave a relationship,” reports Dr. Baker. “Research also shows that there is a high probability that those who witness domestic violence will become victims or perpetrators of abuse. Those who are witnesses learn that aggression is acceptable among partners.”
Domestic Violence in New Jersey
On March 21, 2011, the New Jersey Safe Dating bill passed the Senate unanimously. New Jersey is now a trend-setter for the rest of the country in terms of Safe Dating legislation. The law requires all public middle schools and high schools to add safe dating to their annual health curriculum, as well as establish a dating abuse policy for the school district.
According to New Jersey’s 2008 Annual Domestic Violence Offense Report, compiled by the State Police, children were involved or present during 33 percent of all domestic violence offenses.
The Family Life Education Center (FLEC) at NBIMC is part of the Metro Regional Diagnostic Treatment Center, one of New Jersey’s four legislatively designated centers of excellence for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. For more information, please call (973) 926-6894 or (973)-926-4300.
The Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.