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New initiative addresses silent epidemic with comprehensive outreach and awareness programs
Tulsa, OK — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Loveisrespect, the ultimate source of support for young people to prevent and end dating abuse, have announced a joint initiative to bring a comprehensive program to spread awareness and promote healthy relationships to 100 schools in Oklahoma.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 6.8 percent of high school students in Oklahoma actually report physical abuse. However, one in three adolescents in the United States is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner — a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence — and nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
This new collaboration with Loveisrespect will reduce the growing epidemic of teen dating violence with tailored, on-the-ground outreach and awareness programs that will better equip our schools, families and communities with the information and resources needed to respond to this issue. Through this alliance, communities in Oklahoma will learn to identify the warning signs and better respond to teen dating violence through the creation of school-based initiatives such as "Loveisrespect Institutes." Free toolkits will be sent out and will include a curriculum that leverages technology to provide teachers with web-based activities and methods for creating a supportive community.
"As a result of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma’s support, our innovative service-learning programs will help young people develop healthy definitions of positive relationships. We’re creating, conducting, evaluating and distributing a comprehensive dating abuse prevention program that will lead to measurable successes," said Cristina Escobar, director of Loveisrespect.
"We are honored to have an opportunity to team with other organizations who share our commitment to creating pathways for teenagers, their families and friends to build relationships of warmth, mutual respect and love," said Dr. Joseph Cunningham, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Health Care Management, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. "In our initiative with Loveisrespect, we have tailored the program to our state to spread awareness and provide support to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. The collective impact creates a safe space for teens to talk about things that may be difficult and helps them decide when and where they want to do it, at any time, using any mode of communication they choose."
This program is in conjunction with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF), a three year initiative that pulls together local, state and national resources in an effort to make a significant impact on childhood health and wellness.
The HKHF initiative invests in and partners with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in four pillar categories including supporting safe environments, nutrition education, physical activity, and disease prevention and management. Additional "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families" pillar partners include: