Cases of domestic violence among teenagers are not included in the 7,600 cases reported to Erie County each year.
As a result, officials don’t know how many young adults are in dangerous relationships, and many teenagers might not know the risks or how to identify abuse when it happens.
At the Buffalo History Museum Monday, the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women hosted a training session with students from nearly a dozen area high schools.
“It’s becoming a pressing issue” due to social media activity, said Dr. Karen King, the commission’s executive director. She was one of the experts on hand for the workshop, providing teenagers with the tools they need to identify signs of abuse, find solutions and be advocates for healthy relationships.
The increased use of technology from texting through social media has changed the kind of pressure that can be exerted on teenagers, said Shannon Linehan, a social work intern from UB. Excessive texting or calling might be a warning sign, she said.
As part of the summit, students are sitting down with their school administrators to discuss a game plan on how to curb teen domestic violence. Back in the classroom they'll serve as ambassadors, teaching their peers what they've learned.