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Failure was automatic for states where protective orders are unavailable for minors, or where dating relationships are not explicitly recognized as valid for obtaining such orders."It is essential that dating violence and the needs of minor victims be specifically addressed within state domestic violence statutes," said Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of Break the Cycle. to propose legislation that will ensure the protection of all victims of domestic violence - regardless of their age."National surveys have estimated that one in three youths experiences dating abuse at some point during their teens - incidents ranging from a slap on the cheek to homicide.Despite the high rate of abuse, Break the Cycle and other advocacy groups say too many states do not treat dating violence with appropriate seriousness."Some states feel that if have they good child abuse laws, minors are protected," Gilberg said in a telephone interview.The legal ability of minors to consent to a range of sensitive health care services—including sexual and reproductive health care, mental health services and alcohol and drug abuse treatment—has expanded dramatically over the past 30 years.This trend reflects the recognition that, while parental involvement in minors’ health care decisions is desirable, many minors will not avail themselves of important services if they are forced to involve their parents.Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, said parental involvement is a challenging issue."If you're a parent, you want to know if your child is in danger, but on other hand, teens want the anonymity, to not have to tell their parents," she said."It's very complicated, trying to find a balance between a victim's rights and parents' right to know."Kristina Korobov, an attorney with National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women, said it's sometimes crucial for teens to be able to seek protective orders on their own.With regard to sexual and reproductive health care, many states explicitly permit all or some minors to obtain contraceptive, prenatal and STI services without parental involvement.Moreover, nearly every state permits minor parents to make important decisions on their own regarding their children.

Your support enables the Guttmacher Institute to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and globally through our interrelated program of high-quality research, evidence-based advocacy and strategic communications.But she said awareness-raising efforts were making headway in several states.For example, in Ohio, which got a failing grade, Attorney General Richard Cordray and some lawmakers have been promoting a bill this year that would allow juvenile courts to issue protection orders for minors in dating relationships.Getting F's were Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.Korobov said the law in Virginia, where she is based, makes it hard for many teens to get protective orders because it generally limits them to cases where the victim and the perpetrator have been married or lived together - circumstances which often don't apply to dating violence."A lot of people tend to see crimes being committed by juveniles as 'kids being kids,"' Korobov said. It's not as serious as domestic violence."'Gilberg said some legislators are wary of the changes advocated by Break the Cycle because they fear creating a "litigious group of minors" who might misuse expanded access to the justice system.

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