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Teen dating violence a risk to Georgia teens

One kind of domestic violence that isn't often discussed is teen dating violence. Victims are sometimes very young; they can be abused or harassed by boyfriends or girlfriends. Just like domestic violence, teen dating violence is about control. It's about one partner having power over the other and threatening or punishing the other person until he or she acts in accordance with that person's wishes.

There are several forms of domestic violence including sexual, financial, verbal, physical and emotional. It's important to know that teens are not as protected by law as those who are married. For instance, those in dating relationships can't access temporary protection orders under the Family Violence Act unless they have formerly lived with their partner or have a child together. This leaves out a segment of people who have a dangerous relationship.

If you're in that situation, one thing you can obtain is a stalking order. This requires a higher burden of proof, and you need to show a pattern of stalking and harassment to receive it. Since teens are young, sometimes school personnel try to help. This can be dangerous, since talking to the abuser can put the victim and others at risk of injury.

Once a teen lives with the partner, he or she can access a TPO. Even if the two lived together only for a short time, it's possible to get this protective order quickly, so the abuse can be put to a stop. It's important for teens to understand the risks of dangerous relationships like these and to have ways out of them. The right legal help can make a difference.

Source: Georgia Fatality Review, "Teen Dating Violence," accessed Feb. 14, 2017

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