Weekly Feature

2016-01-20 / Editorial

Relationship program beneficial to teenagers

Bee Editorial

While National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is in October, domestic violence and abusive relationships aren’t something that stop once an awareness campaign is over. People should be aware of its existence in our community every month of the year.

Domestic violence affects more than the receiver of the abuse. It can affect family members and friends as well.

In addition, it is a misconception to think of domestic abuse only in terms of physical violence. The abuse can be verbal, psychological and sexual. Perpetrators often control a victim’s finances and with whom the victim can associate.

According to Mary Travers Murphy, executive director of the Family Justice Center, warning signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who is quick to accelerate the relationship after just a few days of dating and a partner who is extremely jealous. The perpetrator often isolates the victim from family and friends and may threaten to hurt himself or herself if the victim were to leave.

Fortunately, the Family Justice Center of Erie County offers a safe place for victims of domestic abuse to seek help. This weekend, the FJC is working with Calvary Episcopal Church to hold a special program that specifically assists youths and teenagers.

The program, “Teen Talk: Identifying Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships,” will be held at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, at the church, 20 Milton St., Williamsville.

Murphy said one of every three females while in their early to late teens will experience abuse in a relationship.

“This is the most critical information that any young person can get,” Murphy said. “The program will spell out all of the warning signs of abusive relationships.” We feel the program is necessary for youths and teenagers to attend.

Such topics to be addressed include:

• What makes a relationship safe?

• What are some signs of abuse?

• What are some strategies for identifying obstacles to a healthy relationship?

• How can teens effectively end a relationship that is no longer healthy or safe?

The FJC has three locations, including an office in the Northtowns at 330 N. Forest Road, Amherst, which opened in February 2014. The office provides a confidential setting for victims. No appointments are necessary, and no cost is involved when seeking the Family Justice Center’s services. For more information on the Family Justice Center, call 558-7233 or visit www.fjcsafe.org.

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