Oklahoma Teens Vulnerable To Dating Violence; OSDH Helps Recognize Abuse

Data shows about one in 10 Oklahoma teenagers have experienced some form of dating violence in the past few years. State health officials said dating violence can look different in each relationship, but it's important to be able to recognize the signs.

Thursday, February 15th 2024, 4:58 am

By: News On 6, Autumn Bracey


Data shows about one in 10 Oklahoma teenagers have experienced some form of dating violence in the past few years.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said it's working to make sure people have what they need to recognize and then stop dating violence. State health officials said dating violence can look different in each relationship, but it's important to be able to recognize the signs.

OSDH said dating violence is a pattern of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors used to control former or current partners. Emily Nicholls is a prevention coordinator with the State Health Department. She works to teach people about dating violence. She said teens are vulnerable because they haven't had as much dating experience.

Nicholls said it's important to recognize possible dating violence before it escalates.

"Sometimes our emotions might get the best of us. And so things like jealousy might be normal for someone to experience in a relationship. But it's important that we remember, 'Hey, this is something we can talk about and address in our relationships.' As opposed to saying things like, 'You really shouldn't be talking to anybody else.' And then moving into some of those more abusive behaviors that might include restricting somebody's ability to communicate with other people," Nicholls explained.

Nicholls said the best way to prevent dating violence is to teach healthy skills, talk with family and peers, and create safe spaces. CLICK HERE for more information.

What is Domestic Violence?

The Office on Violence Against Women describes Domestic Violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship used by a person to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic Violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological, and involves behaviors that threaten, hurt, isolate, manipulate, humiliate, or injure another person. Children exposed to domestic violence are at risk of developing social and physical problems or learning that violence is a normal way of life.

How does Oklahoma compare nationally in Domestic Violence?

The Domestic Violence Intervention Services said Oklahoma ranks first in the country for the most domestic violence cases. Oklahoma is third in domestic violence homicides. The Young Women's Christian Association reported over 43,000 domestic violence calls in Oklahoma in 2022, which resulted in almost 1,000 arrests.

For more information about Oklahomans impacted by Domestic Violence, click here.

What are some resources for Domestic Violence victims in Oklahoma?

The Oklahoma Domestic Violence Hotline, (800) 522-SAFE (7233), and the 24-hour Safeline 1-800-522-SAFE (7233), assist with safety planning, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, and advocacy for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The Abuse Hotline 1-800-522-3511 and the Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-522-3511 also provide resources for escaping abusive situations.

For the full list of Oklahoma Domestic Violence resources, click here.

How often do people experience Domestic Violence in the United States?

In the United States, more than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually. On average, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive over 19,000 calls.

For more information from The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, click here.

What are some National resources for Domestic Violence?

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233 and the National Dating Abuse Helpline (866) 331-9474 for those in abusive situations or relationships. The Rape Abuse Incest National Network (800) 656-4673 also helps in cases of rape or incest.

The StrongHearts Native Helpline (844) 762-8483 provides a culturally-specific helpline for Native Americans impacted by domestic, dating, and sexual violence.

The National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp (800) 422-4453) is for any child who is being abused or neglected. The National Center for Elder Abuse 1-855-500-3537 will help with elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

For the full list of National Domestic Violence resources, click here.

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