Safety Planning for Teen Dating
Dating is fun, there are guidelines to follow to ensure safety and to be alert to possible dating violence. Trust in yourself, listen to your inner voice regarding a relationship. Double date the first few times you go out with a new person. Before leaving on a date, know exact plans make sure a parent or friend knows these plans and what time to expect you home. Let your date know that you are expected to call and what time your expected to call or be home. Always have money to pay your own way or to get home. Introduce your date to your parents. Don’t use alcohol or drugs, they compromise your clear thought process. If you leave a party with someone, make sure a friend knows and that that friend calls to make sure you got home.
Assert yourself when necessary. Trust your instincts, if your uncomfortable, remove yourself. If abuse happens, talk to someone. If your date or partner becomes abusive, don’t be alone with them & don’t isolate from friends. If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, BREAK-UP! Seek the help of parents or other trusted adults. There are measures to protect yourself from abusive relations.
If you want to stay in the relationship, realize that the violence will not just stop or go away. You cannot change your boyfriend or girlfriend's behavior by changing your behavior, nor are you in any way responsible for the abuse. Your boyfriend or girlfriend may need counseling or other outside help to change and you may need support so that you can begin to heal.
You should think ahead about ways to be safe if you are in a dangerous or potentially dangerous relationship. Here are some things to consider in designing your own safety plan.
- What adults can you tell about the violence and abuse?
- What people at school can you tell in order to be safe--teachers, principal, counselors, security?
- Consider changing your school locker or lock.
- Consider changing your route to/from school.
- Use a buddy system for going to school, classes and after school activities.
- What friends can you tell to help you remain safe?
- If stranded, who could you call for a ride home?
- Keep a journal describing the abuse.
- Get rid of or change the number to any cell phones the abuser gave you.
- Keep spare change, calling cards, number of the local shelter, number of someone who could help you and restraining orders with you at all times.
- Where could you go quickly to get away from an abusive person?
- Talk to someone you trust. Get adult help if you can. If you feel you can’t tell an adult you know, call your local domestic violence shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- Plan for your safety at home, school, and in community settings, whether you are staying in the relationship or leaving it. This includes planning who you can go to for help and what to do to escape a dangerous situation.
- Have phone numbers you can call in case of an emergency and a cell phone or change with you at all times
- Avoid being alone or being alone with the abuser. Try to be with a friend, family member, or other people, at home, school, and in public places.
- Vary your routes and schedule so you don’t go to the same places at the same times each day.
- When you go out, tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
- Keep a record with dates and descriptions of each violent incident.
- Recognize that there is nothing you can do that will change your partner’s behavior, but there are things you can do to keep yourself safe.