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Dating violence hits national spotlight

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By Carol A. Clark

One in 10 students in New Mexico reports experiencing a physical assault by a dating partner within the past 12 months. Nationwide, one in five teenagers involved in serious dating relationships reports experiencing violence from his or her partner.To draw attention to statistics such as these, the Department of Health Office of School and Adolescent Health held the state’s first-ever Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week, which concluded Friday.“Teen-dating violence compromises the health and well-being of New Mexico’s young people daily and places them at greater risk for truancy, substance abuse, teen pregnancy and suicide,” said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil in a news release. His advice? “Talk to the young people in your lives so they know the importance of recognizing dating violence and what resources are available in your communities.”Cheryl Pongratz of the Los Alamos Family Council addressed the local situation during an interview Tuesday. “I know it goes on in our town,” she said. “I don’t think it’s rampant, but I know it happens because we have clients here involved in teen domestic violence. If it happens, it needs to be resolved immediately.