Study: Texas schools barely meet teen dating violence policy standards
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 02:02
The Crime Victims’ Institute at Sam Houston State University recently published a study that analyzes the Teen Dating Violence Policy required in all Texas school districts, and identifies the problems found in the districts’ implementation of the law.
According to the study, the researchers evaluated a sample of school districts in Texas for whether or not they met requirements set by Texas in 2007 regarding a dating violence policy for schools.
According to Robin Jackson, a doctoral research assistant in the College of Criminal Justice and co-author of the report, she and the other researchers decided to look at school districts’ codes of conduct and student handbooks to verify that districts were following the law, and providing both a definition of dating violence and addressing a plan in the event of a dating violence situation.
Jackson detailed that their findings revealed that most of the schools only had the bare minimum of what the law required, and some had nothing at all. The issue she was most concerned with was the lack of information about victims rights in almost all cases.
“In nearly every handbook we looked at, victim’s rights aren’t addressed specifically,” Jackson said. “They mentioned bullying and sexual harassment, but never gave details a victim’s rights or even promoted victim’s services and awareness.”'
Jackson then explained that she felt like the current law is the initial state of implementing the policy and hoped that legislation would continue to improve and expand the policy to center more on the victim instead of the perpetrator.
Jackson also commented on dating violence in general, and detailed that it is starting to gather more attention in society than ever before.
“For many years, marital violence has been so focused on, that dating violence stayed in the background,” Jackson said. “In the last 10-15 years though, dating violence has been acknowledged at higher and higher rates as a serious problem. As we see more incidents happening, especially with teenagers, the more aware people become.”
Jackson urged students, both in high school and college, to get information and get help if they are a victim in a violent relationship, or if they know of a victim.
“Get out of the situation as quickly and as safely as possible,” Jackson said. “You don’t have to be ashamed to ask for help, and know that it happens more often than you think. There are websites and counseling centers everywhere that are willing to provide information and assistance.”
Jackson reminded SHSU students specifically that the Counseling Center on campus provides both information and counseling services on their website and in their offices.