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Local teen violence prevention program to be recognized

District to present Domestic Violence Services with Healthy Communities Award

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – In conjunction with the Domestic Violence Services (DVS) of Snohomish County’s annual gala, the Snohomish Health District will present DVS representatives with a Healthy Communities Award on Friday, March 20. This award recognizes organizations in the county that go above and beyond minimum requirements to promote the health and well-being of employees and the community they serve.

Since its launch in 2014, the Teen Dating Violence Prevention program has reached nearly 3,000 students through partnerships with area high schools. “Dating violence is all too common, and it poses serious short- and long-term effects for our youth,” said Charlene Shambach, community health director for the Snohomish Health District. “Partners like DVS that have such an impact are absolutely critical in helping teens recognize the warning signs of abuse and where to find help.”

According to a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 23 percent of females and 14 percent of males who experienced any form of violence by an intimate partner were between 11 and 17 years of age when it first happened. More recently, a 2013 survey by the CDC found that 1 in 10 high school students reported being sexually victimized by a dating partner within the previous 12 months.

Teenagers are heavily influenced by experiences in their relationships. Healthy relationship behaviors have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Conversely, youth who experience dating violence are more likely to exhibit:

  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Engagement in unhealthy behaviors like drug, alcohol and tobacco use
  • Involvement in antisocial behaviors
  • Thoughts about suicide

“Much of the work that DVS does is closely aligned with the community health priorities we have at the Health District,” noted Shambach. “As we move forward in addressing issues around suicide and youth physical abuse, we look to DVS and the many other wonderful organizations like it to help us reach an even larger population in Snohomish County.

DVS is working to establish new referral locations in the county, as well as expanding its reach to other businesses, nonprofits and agencies. By educating more groups and individuals about the signs of abuse, the hope is to enable residents to find support if the need arises.

The 23rd Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Gala Auction will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20 at Xfinity Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett, Wash. The event is sold out.

To learn more about the District’s Healthy Communities program, visit http://www.snohd.org/Healthy-Living/Healthy-Communities. For more on DVS and the services they provide, visit http://www.dvs-snoco.org/index

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