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“There’s definitely a lack of awareness about the prevalence of abuse among teens in their relationships.” Break the Cycle contends that all young people over 12 should have the right to petition for protection on their own behalf and that domestic violence protection orders should be available even against abusers who are minors.
The new report gives states lower grades if their laws block minors from seeking protective orders on their own, without parental involvement.
Today, for better or worse, this kind of interpersonal sexual communication also occurs in a digital format.” Recognizing that sexting is an activity that many teens participate in — it's estimated that a third of 16- and 17-year olds have sexted — many states have established laws that carry lesser penalties in an attempt to prevent lives from being ruined because of participation in a widespread, modern-day activity.
Licensed clinical social worker Amy Morin suggests several steps to take if you find that your child is participating in sexting.
It received an A along with California, Illinois, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
For example, in Ohio, which got a failing grade, Attorney General Richard Cordray and some lawmakers have been promoting a bill this year that would allow juvenile courts to issue protection orders for minors in dating relationships.
Korobov said the law in Virginia, where she is based, makes it hard for many teens to get protective orders because it generally limits them to cases where the victim and the perpetrator have been married or lived together — circumstances which often don’t apply to dating violence.
“A lot of people tend to see crimes being committed by juveniles as ‘kids being kids,”’ Korobov said. It’s not as serious as domestic violence.”’ Gilberg said some legislators are wary of the changes advocated by Break the Cycle because they fear creating a “litigious group of minors” who might misuse expanded access to the justice system.
“It’s very complicated, trying to find a balance between a victim’s rights and parents’ right to know.” Kristina Korobov, an attorney with National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women, said it’s sometimes crucial for teens to be able to seek protective orders on their own.
They may have strained relations with their parents or come from a home where domestic violence already is occurring.
Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, said parental involvement is a challenging issue.