Breaking the cycle of dating violence

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The staff of these programs hope that through awareness and discussion, children will not become batterers or victims in their own future relationships.“Some of the teenagers we see who are enrolled in abusive teen relationships are also the children who grew up in a household of domestic violence,” says Beth Silverman-Yam, DSW, LCSW, clinical director at Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit based in New York that assists victims of domestic violence and their children.Silverman-Yam offers this example: A 9-year-old boy, as he was leaving the bathroom, saw his father almost kill his mother by hitting her with heavy objects.

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“We are going to talk it out.” Luis recalled another member of the group took the boyfriend’s side and tried to justify the violence.

He was born to an unmarried couple in El Salvador and was a frequent witness to his father beating his mother.

During one of the fights, Luis tried to intervene and broke his arm in the scuffle.

Seated in a circle in front of her were five junior high school and high school students, backpacks lying on the ground at their feet.

These five, aged 13 to 17, were not chosen at random.

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