What Educators Need to Know About Dating Violence: Webinar Recap

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. In honor of this and the release of our newest product Dating Violence Awareness for Educators, we recently held a webinar exploring this topic and the role educators play in understanding and identifying relationship abuse. According to the CDC, 1 in 12 teenagers have experienced physical dating violence, making it incredibly important that educators have the skills to identify the signs of relationship abuse.

In this webinar, Dr. Julie Allison, author and professor at Pittsburg State University, discussed the subtle signs and nuances of dating violence, the importance of supportive conversations, and referral to support. Dr. Allison was joined by panelist Nadia Stamp, Product Manager at Kognito, who highlighted our new training solution for educators that meets many state requirements. Continue reading for more highlights from this in-depth discussion or watch the full webinar here.

What is dating violence?

Dating violence (DV) is the use of destructive behaviors by one person with the intention of gaining power and control over a dating partner. The perpetrator may or may not be aware of their intention, and they are likely to justify the use of violent and abusive behaviors.

“We have this belief in our society that it takes two in a relationship. Of course this is true, but it only takes one to be violent.” – Dr. Julie Allison

Dating violence does not always include physical violence, but it’s likely to become physical eventually. Physical violence is supported by an entire ecosystem of other behaviors, known as “red flags,” which are geared toward obtaining power and control. Dating violence can include, but is not limited to:

  • Intimidation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolating their partner from friends and family
  • Denying or blaming their actions on their partner

When it comes to teen dating abuse, almost 1.5 million American teenagers suffer from physical abuse at the hands of their partner per year. In addition to this, half of the teenagers who experience rape, sexual assault, or physical assault will try to commit suicide.

Warning signs of an abusive personality and the motives for violence

In this webinar, Dr. Allison goes in-depth explaining and giving real-world examples of the many warning signs of an abusive personality in a romantic partner. Some of these warning signs include:

  • A push for quick involvement
  • Jealousy
  • Controlling behavior
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Blames others for problems and mistakes
  • Makes others responsible for their emotions
  • Rigid sex roles
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Threats of violence

There are also many different motives for abuse and violence in a relationship. Perpetrators of dating violence have motives that are entitlement-based, survivor-based, and sadistic-based. They may also think they deserve to feel and be “better” than their partner and may belong to groups that are respected and admired by others. A perpetrator’s reaction to loss, or threat of loss, may be terror and they show it in the form of rage. Lastly, some are motivated by pleasure and that may mean that they enjoy causing their partner pain.

For more examples and information on the motives for violence and abuse, see the full webinar.

What can educators do?

It’s important for educators and school staff to be able to identify those who are at risk of being targeted for dating violence. Some warning signs a victim of dating violence may exhibit include:

  • Intense mood swings
  • Idolizing their partner
  • Not responding to emails, texts, etc.
  • Withdrawing from class participation
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changes in personality or behavior
  • And more

It’s also important that educators seek out relevant information and know their school, district, and/or state policies regarding reports of violence and abuse. If you suspect a student is experiencing dating violence and abuse, request one-on-one time with them and be a safe and calm presence. Listening to the student is key. Reassure them that they can get through this and provide options on how to respond as needed.

“Often times when we think something might be wrong, we talk ourselves out of it. We think [the student] may just be tired, they’re working a lot, or whatever. But that’s not the case. If you’re wrong, great. If you’re right, you have the opportunity to make a difference in [the student’s] life. I can’t say that enough.” – Dr. Julie Allison

New Kognito training: Dating Violence Awareness for Educators

The second half of this webinar introduces our newest product, Dating Violence Awareness for Educators. Learners of this training will gain the awareness, knowledge, skill, and self-confidence to identify teen dating violence, and have a trauma-informed disclosure conversation with a student.

For more information on this product, contact us or request an interactive demo. To learn more about the warning signs of teen dating violence and what educators can do, watch the full webinar “Dating Violence: What Educators Need to Know.”

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