Teen Dating Violence (DV) Prevention and Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.

The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore — they hurt not just the young people victimized but also their families, friends, schools and communities, said Cathy Covington, of ALIVE, Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments.

Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide come together to highlight the need to educate young people about relationships, teach healthy relationship skills and prevent the devastating cycle of abuse.

For years, young people across the nation have organized to put a stop to dating abuse. With their adult allies, they achieved a major victory in 2005 when the importance of addressing teen dating abuse was highlighted in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

The following year, Congress followed the lead of dozens of national, state and local organizations in sounding the call to end dating abuse. Both Chambers declared the first full week in February “National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Week.”

Then in 2010, Congress began dedicating the entire month of February to teen dating violence awareness and prevention.

Now in its fourth year, Teen DV Month is celebrated by leaders in government, student bodies, schools, youth service providers, community-based organizations, parents and more.

ALIVE plans to visit high schools in Franklin County during lunch times this month to offer information on teen dating violence and encourage students to take the pledge and promise to have healthy, safe relationships free from violence and free from fear.

For further information or to schedule a time for ALIVE to attend your school, people should call Cathy Covington at 636-583-9863.