Teen dating violence focus of Surrey forum

Messages must be delivered to children early in life that they need to listen to that 'inner voice' in relationships

Stopping bullying and threats may not be any more possible than it is to monitor our children’s every move.

But it is possible to cultivate core strength, and educate kids on the necessary skills to manage conflicts they face every day.

That includes teaching youth to listen to their inner voice, and that there’s no shame in ending a relationship that doesn’t feel right.

These are the kind of lessons taught at a day-long Surrey Coalition Against Domestic Abuse (SCADA) conference today (Wednesday), which focused on teen dating.

The city-sponsored event is the second-annual conference held by SCADA.

Surrey Coun. Barinder Rasode said it’s an extremely important topic that must be addressed.

“We’re reminded that domestic abuse is what we should call relationship abuse,” Rasode said. “And it’s a progression that starts very early in a relationship.”

Important information must be delivered to both the people who are victims of the violence and the perpetrators who can’t seem to harness their anger, Rasode said.

“This is what this dialogue was about.”

That message must come early, speakers said.

The most common advice given to teens is “just walk away” or “report it,” which is the last thing they want to do, they said.

Speakers believe violence prevention lies in the empowerment of children and youth.

Speakers at the conference include Anita Roberts (Navigating Adolescence), Teal Maedel (Vicarious Trauma and Self Care for Service Providers), Cpl. Allison Douglas (Surrey RCMP Domestic Violence Unit), and Jessie Shoker (a probation officer who facilitates workshops on teen dating abuse for offenders and victims).

The conference was scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Wednesday at the Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Ave.

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