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Teen Dating in the United States-A Fact Sheet for Schools

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TEEN DATING VIOLENCE IN THE
UNITED STATES

A Fact Sheet for Schools

“Our schools need to be safe havens for all students, and it is critical that we provide school leaders with tools and resources to help them become stronger partners in reducing teen dating violence and other forms of gender-based violence… Like bullying, teen dating violence has far-reaching consequences for the health and life outcomes of victims. We need to do everything we can to make sure all students are safe.” 
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

What Is Teen Dating Violence?

According to the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice, violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim is dating violence. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • the length of the relationship
  • the type of relationship
  • the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

What Is the Extent of Teen Dating Violence in U.S. Schools?

  • Research shows that about one in three U.S. teens ages 14 to 20 have been victims of dating violence and about the same number say they have committed relationship violence themselves.i
  • Nationwide, 12% of 9th-12th grade girls have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.ii
  • One in six women was raped before the age of 25; 42% of female rape victims were first raped before the age of 18.iii
  • 19% of young women report experiencing completed or attempted sexual assault since entering college. Most of these victims are assaulted by someone they know, primarily an acquaintance or a fellow student.iv
  • 43% of college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, verbal and controlling abuse. 22% have been the victim of physical abuse, sexual abuse or threats of physical violence. v

How Does Teen Dating Violence Affect Our Schools?

Teen dating violence has serious consequences for victims and their schools. Witnessing violence has been associated with decreased school attendance and academic performance.vi20% of students with mostly D and F grades have engaged in dating violence in the last year, while only 6% of students with mostly A’s have engaged in dating violence.vii Further, teenage victims of dating violence are more likely than their non-abused peers to smoke, use drugs, engage in unhealthy dieting (e.g., taking diet pills or laxatives, vomiting to lose weight), engage in risky sexual behaviors, and attempt or consider suicide.viii

A 2009 study of sixth-grade students found that 25% thought it was acceptable for boys to hit their girlfriends. More than one fourth of the boys with girlfriends said they had been physically aggressive (punching, slapping) with her.ix Although all victims of gender-based violence are affected negatively, research reveals that female victims of dating violence often experience more severe and longer-lasting consequences than do male victims.x xi

What Can My School Do to Help?

Nearly half of students who experience dating violence say some of the abuse took place on school grounds. xii Relatively few schools, however, have written policies governing safety, security, and intervention with students experiencing dating violence. Research shows that schools can make a difference in preventing teen violence and other forms of gender-based violence.xiii
Things your school can do:

  • Educate your community about prevention and identification.
  • Develop locally tailored, appropriate responses to address teen dating violence.
  • To provide effective support to traumatized youth or to address the behavior and needs of perpetrators, adopt a comprehensive approach that takes into account the unique challenges that these offenses present (e.g. victim reluctance to report and trauma from sexual violence).

Educating young people about healthy relationships is critical to preventing dating abuse. There are many tools available to help schools get started. Click this link (http://www.teendvmonth.org/For-Educators) to learn about examples of resources for schools.

Resources and Publications

NOTE: This fact sheet contains resources, including Web sites, created by a variety of outside organizations. The resources are provided for the user’s convenience and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of the organizations, their products, services, or materials, or any views or claims expressed by those outside organizations. The U.S. Department of Education does not guarantee the accuracy of any information contained on the Web sites of these outside organizations. All Web sites were accessed on August 30, 2013.

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Safe and Healthy Students
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202
www.ed.gov

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i “National Rates of Adolescent Physical, Psychological, and Sexual Teen-Dating Violence,” Michele Ybarra PhD, MPH, Center for Innovative Public Health Research; Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne; Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, PhD, University of South Alabama; Josephine D. Korchmaros, PhD, University of Arizona; Danah Boyd, PhD, New York University; and Kathleen Basile, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance—United States, 2011. MMWR 2012;61(No.SS-4).

iii Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

iv Krebs, C. P., Lindquist, C. H., Warner, T. D., Fisher, B. S., & Martin, S. L. (2007). The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Justice.

v Knowledge Networks, Inc. (2011). 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll. Liz Claiborne, Inc.

vi Eaton, D.K., Davis, K.S., Barrios, L., Brener, N.D., & Noonan, R.K. 2007. Associations of dating violence victimization with lifetime participation, co-occurrence, and early initiation of risk behaviors among U.S. high school students. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 22: 585–602.

vii U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2009). Unintentional Injury and Violence-Related Behaviors and Academic Achievement. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

viii Silverman, J.G., Raj, A., Mucci, L.A., & Hathaway, J.E. 2001. Dating violence against adolescent girls and associated substance use, unhealthy weight control, sexual risk behavior, pregnancy, and suicidality. Journal of the American Medical Association 286 (5): 572-579.

ix Simon, T. R., Miller, S.,Gorman-Smith, D., Orpinas, P., Sullivan, T. (2010). Physical dating violence norms and behavior among sixth-grade students from four U.S. sites. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 30(3), 395-409, first published on March 30, 2009.

x Ackard, D.M., M.E. Eisenberg, & Neumark–Sztainer, D. 2007. Long–term impact of adolescent dating violence on the behavioral and psychological health of male and female youth. Journal of Pediatrics 151 (5): 476–481.

xi ISVS: 2010 Summary Report.

xii Molidor, C., Tolman, R. Gender and Contextual Factors in Adolescent Dating Violence. Violence Against Women. Vol. 4 No. 2, April 1998, 180-194.

xiii Taylor, B., Stein, N.D., Woods, D., Mumford, E. 2011. Shifting Boundaries: Final Report on an Experimental Evaluation of a Youth Dating Violence Program in New York City Middle Schools. U.S. Department of Justice. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236175.pdf.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: United States Government’s Response-A Fact Sheet for Schools

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FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION/CUTTING:
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE

What is female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C)?

Female genital mutilation/cutting refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of external portions of or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.[1] The reasons given for conducting FGM/C encompass beliefs about health, women’s sexuality, and community and adulthood initiation rites. Depending on the degree of the cutting, the practice can lead to a range of physical and mental health problems. The practice is mostly carried out by traditional practitioners, who often play other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. However, health care providers now perform more than 18 percent of all FGM/C in countries where it is traditionally practiced,[2] and the trend towards medicalization is increasing.[3]

Who is at risk?

FGM/C is carried out on young girls sometime between infancy and age 15, and occasionally on adult women. Between 100 million and 140 million women and girls are thought to be living with the consequences of FGM/C.[4] While reports suggest that the rate at which FGM/C is practiced is dropping in some areas, as many as 30 million girls under the age of 15 may still be at risk for the procedure. The practice is most common in the western, eastern, and north-eastern regions of Africa, in some countries in Asia and the Middle East, and among migrants from these areas to North America and Europe.[5] Girls and women most at risk of FGM/C in the United States are those born to families that have emigrated from countries where FGM/C is practiced.

FGM/C in the United States: Legal, Programmatic, and Policy Responses

Since 1996, there have been specific federal criminal penalties for performing FGM/C in the United States on any minor younger than 18 years old, including fines or up to five years in prison, or both (118 U.S.C. § 116(a)). In 2013, Congress criminalized the knowing transportation of a girl younger than 18 years old outside of the United States for the purpose of performing FGM/C (so-called “vacation cutting”) (118 U.S.C. § 116(d)). The Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains a hotline where people can anonymously report violations or potential violations of the FGM/C statute. Numerous U.S. states have also criminalized the practice. DOJ will develop and disseminate a newsletter to U.S. Attorney’s Offices providing guidance regarding investigations and prosecutions using the FGM/C statute.

The United States works through its embassies and consulates in countries where FGM/C is practiced to inform certain travelers and immigrants to the United States of the federal law forbidding the practice. In certain cases, women and girls at risk of FGM/C have been granted asylum or refugee status in the United States. Department of Homeland Security personnel working with refugee populations receive extensive training on adjudicating gender-related claims, including those involving FGM/C.

The U.S. Department for Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will produce in 2014 a report estimating the number of girls at risk for or who have already undergone FGM/C in the United States, updating 1997 figures. This report will be based on census data and the prevalence of the practice in the girls’ country of origin.

HHS recommends health screening services to newly arrived refugees. Patients can access comprehensive primary and behavioral health care at community centers, and HHS maintains a website with contact information for those seeking additional information, resources or support. Over the past two years, over 100,000 individuals have visited the site to obtain information on FGM/C. Research funded by the HHS National Institutes of Health has helped to inform immigration-focused medicine, highlighting FGM/C for healthcare providers.

Through HHS grants programs, such as the Ethnic Community Self-Help Program and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, the United States supports domestic community-based organizations in populations where girls are most at risk for FGM/C. An April 2014 funding announcement for the Ethnic Community Self-Help Program explicitly mentions efforts against FGM/C as an allowable activity under the grant. These community-based programs provide leadership training, education on health and sexual violence, including through promoting sensitive treatment by healthcare providers, and direct services. The work done through these programs is driven by community concerns and interest. Lessons learned are shared with community organizations, educators, and immigrant and refugee service provider organizations.

FGM/C Globally: Policy, Programming, and Diplomatic Responses

The U.S. commitment to ending FGM/C is rooted in efforts to protect and advance the rights of women and girls globally. The U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally, launched in August 2012, specifically recognizes FGM/C as a harmful practice. The United States also supports efforts to end FGM/C in humanitarian settings and among refugees with a range of programming. The United States recently strengthened the reporting on this issue in its Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which now include information on whether FGM/C is prevalent, the type and category of genital cutting most common, as well as international and governmental efforts being taken to address the practice.

The United States is working to foster constructive legal and policy frameworks by supporting host country legislation against the practice of FGM/C; participating in the FGM Donors Working Group to discuss donor coordination and best practices to eliminate FGM/C; and engaging civil society through social media and public outreach to spotlight the work being done to educate and invest in girls, a key to preventing FGM/C.

Through the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States supports community-based programming to raise awareness on the harmful effects of FGM/C in regions where the practice is prevalent. This approach includes supporting the Nairobi Center of Excellence, which seeks to improve health care for girls and women suffering negative consequences from FGM/C and to promote broader education and dissemination of information on the harmful effects of FGM/C. The State Department and USAID are launching a new program dedicated to addressing this issue in Guinea, partnering with the Government of Guinea and with multilateral and civil society actors to work to eliminate the practice in Guinea’s eight districts – impacting up to 65,000 girls through community awareness and capacity- building efforts. From 2011-2013, the State Department supported the development of seven FGM/C free villages in Kurdistan, through grassroots development and increased awareness regarding the health and economic consequences of FGM/C. A new Gender-based Violence Emergency Response and Protection Initiative is dedicated to assisting survivors of extreme forms of gender-based violence.


[1] Eliminating Female Genital Mutilation, An Interagency Statement: WHO, 2008.

[3] Global Strategy to Stop Healthcare Providers from Performing FGM: WHO, 2010.

[4] WHO, 2008.

[5] WHO, 2008.

Human Trafficking of Children in the United States-A Fact Sheet for Schools

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Human Trafficking of Children in the United States

A Fact Sheet for Schools

What Is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a serious federal crime with penalties of up to imprisonment for life. Federal law defines "severe forms of trafficking in persons” as: "(A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery." [U.S.C. §7102(8)]

In short, human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. Those who recruit minors into commercial sexual exploitation (or prostitution) violate federal anti-trafficking laws, even if there is no force, fraud, or coercion.

What Is the Extent of Human Trafficking in the United States?
An unknown number of U.S. citizens and legal residents are trafficked within the country for sexual servitude and forced labor. Contrary to a common assumption, human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. territories. Victims of human trafficking can be children or adults, U.S. citizens or foreign nationals, male or female.

Common examples of identified child trafficking cases include:

  • Commercial sex
  • Stripping
  • Pornography
  • Forced begging
  • Magazine crews
  • Au pairs or nannies
  • Restaurant work
  • Hair and nail salons
  • Agricultural work
  • Drug sales and cultivation

How Does Human Trafficking Affect Our Schools?
Trafficking can involve school-age youth, particularly those made vulnerable by challenging family situations, and can take a variety of forms including forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation.
The children at risk are not just high school students—pimps or traffickers are known to prey on victims as young as 9. Traffickers may target minor victims through social media websites, telephone chat-lines, after-school programs, at shopping malls and bus depots, in clubs, or through friends or acquaintances who recruit students on school campuses.

How Do I Identify a Victim of Human Trafficking?

Indicators that school staff and administrators should be aware of concerning a potential victim:

  • Demonstrates an inability to attend school on a regular basis and/or has unexplained absences
  • Frequently runs away from home
  • Makes references to frequent travel to other cities
  • Exhibits bruises or other signs of physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression, anxiety, or fear
  • Lacks control over his or her schedule and/or identification or travel documents
  • Is hungry, malnourished, deprived of sleep, or inappropriately dressed (based on weather conditions or surroundings)
  • Shows signs of drug addiction
  • Has coached/rehearsed responses to questions

Additional signs that may indicate sex trafficking include:

  • Demonstrates a sudden change in attire, personal hygiene, relationships, or material possessions
  • Acts uncharacteristically promiscuous and/or makes references to sexual situations or terminology that are beyond age-specific norms
  • Has a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” who is noticeably older
  • Attempts to conceal recent scars

Additional signs that may indicate labor trafficking include:

  • Expresses need to pay off a debt
  • Expresses concern for family members’ safety if he or she shares too much information
  • Works long hours and receives little or no payment
  • Cares for children not from his or her own family

How Do I Report a Suspected Incidence of Human Trafficking?

  • In the case of an immediate emergency, call your local police department or emergency access number.
  • To report suspected human trafficking crimes or to get help from law enforcement, call toll-free (24/7) 1-866-347-2423 or submit a tip online at www.ice.gov/tips.
  • To report suspected trafficking crimes, get help, or learn more about human trafficking from a nongovernmental organization, call the toll-free (24/7) National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
  • To report sexually exploited or abused minors, call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST, or report incidents at http://www.cybertipline.org.

Resources and Publications

One of the best ways to help combat human trafficking is to raise awareness and learn more about how to identify victims.  For 20 ways you can help fight human trafficking, click here.

Information on human trafficking can also be found on the following Web sites:

NOTE: This fact sheet contains resources, including Web sites, created by a variety of outside organizations. The resources are provided for the user’s convenience and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement, by the U.S. Department of Education of any views, products, or services offered or expressed therein. All Web sites were accessed on January 7, 2013.

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Human trafficking is a serious federal crime with penalties of up to imprisonment for life. Federal law defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as: “(A) sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or (B) the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” [U.S.C. §7102(8)] In short, human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. Those who recruit minors into commercial sexual exploitation (or prostitution) violate federal anti-trafficking laws, even if there is no force, fraud, or coercion.

What Is the Extent of Human Trafficking in the United States?

An unknown number of U.S. citizens and legal residents are trafficked within the country for sexual servitude and forced labor. Contrary to a common assumption, human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. territories. Victims of human trafficking can be children or adults, U.S. citizens or foreign nationals, male or female.

How Does Human Trafficking Affect Our Schools?

Trafficking can involve school-age youth, particularly those made vulnerable by challenging family situations, and can take a variety of forms including forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation.

The children at risk are not just high school students—pimps or traffickers are known to prey on victims as young as 9. Traffickers may target minor victims through social media websites, telephone chat-lines, after-school programs, at shopping malls and bus depots, in clubs, or through friends or acquaintances who recruit students on school campuses.

How Do I Identify a Victim of Human Trafficking?*

Indicators that school staff and administrators should be aware of concerning a potential victim:

  • Has unexplained absences from school or demonstrates an inability to attend school on a regular basis.
  • Chronically runs away from home.
  • Makes references to frequent travel to other cities.
  • Exhibits bruises or other signs of physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression, or fear.
  • Lacks control over her or his schedule or identification documents.
  • Is hungry or malnourished, in need of medical care, or inappropriately dressed.

Additional signs that may indicate sex-related trafficking include:

  • Demonstrates a sudden change in attire, behavior, relationships, or material possessions.
  • Has a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” who is noticeably older.
  • Engages in uncharacteristically promiscuous behavior and/or make references to sexual situations or terminology that are beyond age-specific norms.

How Do I Report a Suspected Incidence of Human Trafficking?

  • In the case of an immediate emergency, call your local police department or emergency access number (911).
  • Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-3737-888 to:
    • GET HELP and connect with a service provider in your area;
    • REPORT A TIP with information on potential human trafficking activity; or
    • LEARN MORE by requesting training, technical assistance, or resources.

The NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The NHTRC is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government.

  • To report sexually exploited or abused minors, you can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST, or report incidents at http://www.cybertipline.org.
  • To report suspected instances of trafficking or worker exploitation, you can call the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Tip-line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423). You can also report online at http://www.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp.
  • Suspected incidences can also be reported to the FBI Field Office nearest you at http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm, or you can contact the Department of Justice’s Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line at 1-888-428-7581.

How Does the United States Help Victims of Human Trafficking?

The U.S. government supports a victim-centered approach and funds a national public awareness campaign and a number of nongovernmental organizations that assist victims. The U.S. government seriously pursues human trafficking cases and prosecutes the traffickers. For an assessment of U.S. government efforts to combat trafficking in persons and agencies’ progress under the Obama Administration, please visit the U.S. Department of State Web site: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/response/usg/index.htm.

Resources and Publications

One of the best ways to help combat human trafficking is to raise awareness and learn more about how to identify victims. Information on human trafficking can be found on the following Web sites:

* This is not a comprehensive list of all of the signs of human trafficking and students who exhibit these signs are not always trafficking victims.

NOTE: This fact sheet contains resources, including Web sites, created by a variety of outside organizations. The resources are provided for the user’s convenience and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement, by the U.S. Department of Education of any views, products, or services offered or expressed therein. All Web sites were accessed on January 7, 2013.

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U.S. Department of Education
Office of Safe and Healthy Students
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202
www.ed.gov