Policy Strategies

Laws, school policy and government funding are all huge tools in ending domestic violence. Right now though, we’re not using them to their maximum capacity. In some states, you can’t get a restraining order if you’re “just dating” the abuser. Many schools have no protocols to respond to abuse between students. Funding for dating violence prevention has been slashed.

Enter YOU. You can impact the institutions around you just by speaking up. Say loudly that you won’t allow our leaders to ignore dating abuse. Don’t let it be overlooked in the courthouse, capitol building or principal’s office. Start there and then follow up with these policy strategies to make lasting change.

Protection Orders

Protection orders are one of the most effective ways invented to help someone escape an abusive relationship. Why would you have to be 18 to get one? Why doesn’t dating qualify? Let’s change these dangerous, irresponsible laws. Visit our State Law Report Cards to find out more.

Targeted Services

Young victims of abuse have different problems than adults -- whether it’s switching dorms, telling their parents or accessing the courts. Help meet their needs by advocating for policies that fund:

  • Free, targeted youth services.
  • Training for the services that already exist (like shelters, courts, schools) so they can be sensitive to teen and 20-somthings’ issues.
  • Batterers’ intervention programs that are specific to young people.

Not Everyone has a Great Parent

Laws that require parental involvement have the best intentions at heart. But unfortunately, they often discourage teens from getting any help at all. How supportive your parents are shouldn’t determine your safety. Help young people get the support they need by advocating for policies that allow them to:

  • Disclose dating violence to counselors without triggering mandatory reporting laws.
  • Access healthcare for relationship abuse without parental consent, including the Crime Victims' Compensation program.
  • Get restraining orders without parental involvement.

We Need to Work Together

Parents, schools, media, young people, community leaders -- we all have an important role in protecting young people and preventing abuse. Let’s make sure we have the resources to work together by advocating for policies that fund:

  • Schools to collaborate with community advocates in developing and implementing comprehensive policies.
  • Training for community leaders, teachers and parents on how to educate teens about dating violence and model healthy relationship skills.
  • Youth activism and peer education programs that focus on healthy relationship skills.
  • Prevention campaigns that bring advocates and media sources together to promote healthy relationships and discourage abusive behaviors.