Research confirms that as many as one in five adolescent females and one in ten adolescent males have been abused physically or sexually by a dating partner. In response, many states have made protective orders available to minors though they have limited additional legal protections to extend. Meanwhile, dependency and delinquency courts are recognizing that many of the parents of the minors that enter the juvenile system are coping with adult intimate partner violence in their lives. And tragically, too many communities have mourned the death of adolescent victims of homicide at the hands of their partners or former partners. Until recently, there has been no comprehensive effort to explore the research, present promising practices, and give the judiciary guidance for informed and effective decision-making when it comes to adolescent relationship violence.
However, in late 2010 the Office for Victims of Crime awarded the NCJFCJ a grant to partner with Futures Without Violence (Futures) to develop a judicial curriculum and facilitate a pilot training on adolescent relationship abuse. For almost two years, the NCJFCJ and Futures conducted research, performed site visits, and consulted with national experts to develop a curriculum that was piloted at the Judicial Institute on Adolescent Relationship Abuse (ARA Institute) in Phoenix, Arizona in July 2012. At this Institute, judges from around the country who serve in juvenile, family, and criminal courts came together, unified by their concern about the growing number of adolescent victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence appearing before them. This publication includes excerpts from the ARA Institute curriculum and suggestions, which arose in those three days of open exchange, regarding the future of research, judicial leadership, and community responses to adolescent relationship abuse.