ALBANY, N.Y.—The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence uses virtual sweet treats to spread awareness about teen dating violence.
OPDV is encouraging teens to engage in healthy relationships by starting a "Send a Candy Heart" campaign. Anyone can participate by creating their own conversation heart with positive messages regarding the issue, and snapping a photograph of their creation.
New Yorkers are asked to post photos with their conversation hearts to social media platforms using #tdvcandyhearts as the hash tag.
"Domestic Violence happens in teen dating relationships as well as adults. We don't often think about abuse for kids, but indeed, it happens," said Gwen Wright, Executive Director of OPDV.
In a recent study, 15 percent of men and 22 percent of women say they had first been abused by their partner when they were between the ages of 11 and 17 years old. Officials say its important to educate students as early as possible.
"It's not just physical violence. It can be stalking, it can be isolation, it can be words against them and they need to understand that these can escalate and become more problematic and more serious and more violent as time goes along," said Elizabeth Cronin, Director of OPDV.
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