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November 18. 2013 6:06PM

Teen crime, dating violence will be focus of Farmington session

FARMINGTON — Police and A Safe Place will hold a free workshop Wednesday to help parents and mentors better identify and address teen crime and dating violence.

The workshop, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Farmington High School, is designed for parents, coaches, guidance counselors and “anyone who interacts with teenagers in a positive way,” according to Karen McCall, education and volunteer coordinator for A Safe Place.

Registration required

The workshop is free, but registration is required through Police Chief Kevin Willey, who can be reached at the Farmington Police Department at 755-2731, ext. 107.

“We can accommodate almost any number of parents that choose to come,” Willey said.

McCall said Willey will review the laws and statues applicable to teen and domestic violence — including RSA 193: the Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act — and provide statistics about the issue. Meanwhile, she will address the nature, scope and consequences of the issues of dating violence.

“We’re going to let parents absorb as much as they can in 90 minutes,” McCall said, adding there will be time for questions and references for additional resources, including the Strafford County Family Justice Center, which is open daily in the Rochester Community Center.

“Teenagers are at a very delicate time in their life,” McCall said, adding positive role models and examples are imperative to help guide growing minds.

Highest risk

As about a quarter of teens will experience violence in a dating relationship, McCall said it’s important for parents and adults to recognize the signs of abuse, especially as girls and women ages 14 to 24 have the highest risk of injury.

Luckily, McCall said both dating and domestic violence are “behavioral choices which can be undone.”

The workshop will provide participants the tools they need to talk to teens about dating violence and identify the indicators of both potential victims and perpetrators.

“If people are truly invested in changing, of course there’s help,” McCall said, adding A Safe Place works with families to help overcome the issues.

For more than 35 years, A Safe Place, based in Portsmouth, has provided free and confidential domestic abuse support services and emergency shelter for women, children and men from across the region. Last year A Safe Place answered more than 9,055 crisis calls, served 1,613 women with 1,623 dependent children and 134 men, according to a release.

For more information about A Safe Place, call 436-4619 or visit asafeplacenh.org. Its 24-hour hotline in New Hampshire is: 1 (800) 854-3552.

jquinn@newstote.com


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