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April 5, 2004

Ortiz Provides Life Line for Abused Teens

Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (D-51st) is lending a concerned ear for teens involved in abusive relationships. The Brooklyn legislator is proposing the creation of a toll-free statewide hotline for victims or potential victims of teen domestic abuse. The bill will also require all New York State high schools to hold an assembly addressing the dangers of domestic abuse and providing information on assistance for victims.

A recent study reports that one in five or 30,000 teenage girls in New York City are victims of dating violence every year. In another study it was shown that nearly 25% of female students are victims of forced sexual intercourse by grade twelve. In New York City alone there has been a 70% increase in adolescent calls to the City's Domestic Violence Hotline since 1998.

Violence in adolescent relationships has become a growing concern in society and most often results in long term trauma for victims and future violence for abusers. Patterns of abuse are developed during the adolescent years and teens must be educated about the dangers of domestic violence during this formative time. Abuse is not always a physical assault. There are many forms of abuse such as verbal or psychological abuse and teens must be informed of all aspects of domestic abuse. They must also be made aware of what to do in an abusive situation as well as be told of the existing avenues of assistance available to them.

"We as adults must educate our young people on the dangers of domestic abuse and sexual assault. They must learn the proper way in which to treat their partner in the relationship. Our young men as well as the women must be taught that all women deserve to be respected and that no man should raise their hand to a woman or force themselves upon them sexually. As a father of three young men I know the importance of teaching boys how to be a gentleman," stated Ortiz.