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Hidalgo County raises awareness on teen dating violence

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Commissioners Court, and Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.,center, surrounded by members of the Crime Victims Unit, representatives from law enforcement, community agencies, and students from the Lamar Academy IB Student Council.
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Teen dating abuse is a significant health issue with nearly 20 percent of youth reporting physical or sexual violence from a dating partner, and one in four teens experiencing abuse or harassment online or through text messaging.

Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., members of the Crime Victims Unit, representatives from law enforcement, community agencies, and IB students from the Lamar Academy all gathered at Commissioners Court to accept a proclamation declaring February as Young Hearts Matter: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

“We are proud of the students here today recognizing the urgency of tackling this issue in order to create a safer atmosphere for teens at school and at home,” said Rodriguez.

Crime Victims Unit Director Rosie Martinez thanked all of the agencies for their ongoing support, and said that Teen Dating Violence is an important matter that is being addressed in the community.

Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year and approximately 50 percent of students experience dating violence on school grounds. Law enforcement agencies and community groups continue to work together to fight this crime.

“Criminal Investigation Division agents are wholeheartedly here to support and fight for this challenge as we deal with it daily,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Victor Escalone. 

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High school students who experience physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, and are much more likely to carry patterns of abuse into future relationships.

Lamar Academy IB student Emelia Marroquin said that students are aware that teen dating abuse exists.

“We are advocating and will continue to stand against violence, and we are all here to help bring awareness to this serious issue,” said Marroquin.

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