Teen Dating Violence in Florida
Teen dating violence is rarely discussed or seen in the news. When we do hear about domestic violence cases, they usually involve a married couple. However, the silence surrounding dating violence, and specifically teen dating violence, is not because it is not happening; it results from many teens in abusive relationships not talking to their loved ones about what they are experiencing. A teen in an abusive dating relationship may fear that telling anyone about the violence would make him or her “uncool” and a “snitch” in the eyes of his or her peers.
If you or a loved one is suffering from domestic violence, it is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney.
The Prevalence of Teen Dating Violence in Florida
75% of teenagers are either dating someone or have gone out with someone in the last year. Of these teens who have been dating, at least 10% have stated that they were the victim of dating violence. Teen dating violence can be physical, sexual, and/or emotional/psychological violence that occurs between individuals involved in an intimate relationship. More and more, these acts of violence occur through our electronic devices, either from texting or cyberbullying.
Florida’s Attempts to Combat Teen Dating Violence
Though there is stigma surrounding domestic violence and teen dating violence, more and more states have intervened to help educate the public the warning signs that your teen may be sufferring. The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) has developed and implemented a teen violence prevention curriculum that is taught in middle and high schools to help identify teen dating violence, and come up with action plans for stopping further violence. Additionally, Florida has laws on the books that extend protections beyond victims of domestic violence that are involved in a marital relationship with their abusers to victims of teen dating violence.
Florida Legal Protections Against Dating Violence
According to Florida statute, dating violence is defined as any violence that occurs between individuals who have had a significant romantic and/or intimate relationship. To determine whether a couple has been dating according to the statute, the relationship must:
- Have occurred within the last six months,
- Involve expected affection and/or sexual relations between the parties, and
- Have been continuous and lasted for a significant period of time.
Florida statute does distinguish between violence between individuals involved in a romantic and sexual relationship and violence between individuals who are casual acquaintances with limited fraternization.
Injunction for Protections in Florida
The Florida statute regarding intimate partner violence has a cause of action devoted specifically to cases of dating violence. Where the victim is a minor and living with a parent and/or guardian, the custodian of the minor may bring an injunction for protection from dating violence, where the victim or the guardian of the minor victim believes that he or she is in imminent danger of another attack of dating violence, or has reasonable cause to believe that she or he is in imminent danger of another attack of dating violence. The injunction for protection may require that the perpetrator of dating violence may not be in contact with the victim, that he or she may be enjoined from committing more acts of dating violence, among other possible mandates by the Court.
Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.