The DVCC Teen Advisory Board members told us that when in trouble regarding social situations, teens rarely confide in adults. They are afraid adults might not understand or might force them to end the relationship. The person they are most likely to share relationship concerns with is another teen. However, none of these kids knew how to help or best advise a friend with dating abuse or domestic violence issues. To better reach teens with important information and skills to prevent or end dating abuse and domestic violence, the DVCC launched the Certified Peer Advisor program.

This 2 hour training gives kids the information and skills they need to avoid abusive relationships and teaches them how to best share this information with peers. Teens talking to teens is one of the most effective ways of getting this important information to this demographic group. Once teens have completed the certification, they are provided with a certificate, a Teen Peer Advisor t-shirt, and their school is notified that they are now available as a peer advisor when needed.

The immaturity and inexperience of many teens can make it hard for them to spot the signs of a dangerous relationship. They are new to interpersonal relationship communication skills and sometimes don’t know how to express their strong and ever-changing emotions effectively. Not knowing how to best handle anger, not just power and control issues, are key factors in dating abuse for teens. By teaching them how to interact in a healthy and respectful way, we seek to help them understand the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. In addition, we’re helping kids who are living with DV in their family home learn how to get help and break the cycle of violence in the future.

To become a Certified Teen Peer Advisor or to have the DVCC host a training at your venue, contact Kelly O’Rourke at kes2523@my.fsu.edu