The Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) announced August 27, the creation of a new program aimed at preventing dating violence and domestic and sexual violence, by helping teens build healthy and respectful relationships. HSD awarded $257,500 in City of Seattle funds to the Asian Counseling and Referral Service to conduct the program at Washington and Madison middle schools for young people ages 11-14 in partnership with the YMCA. As part of the program, youth counselors from the ACRS will conduct 12 to 15 sessions at each middle school and will include presentations and discussion on topics such as healthy relationships, contributors to violence, conflict resolution and media violence. In 2008, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency reported that approximately one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. A new study found that of 2,824 ethnically diverse sixth graders, half were already dating and 42 percent of the dating sixth graders were experiencing aggressive behavior from their partners, including threats, physical and sexual abuse..

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