NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One in 10 teenagers has experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner; now, the city is working to cut that number.
“I used to come home all bruised on my arms,” Ana Rojas told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
Rojas lived through a volatile and dangerous relationship as a young teen.
“He was getting jealous and then he would start hitting me out of nowhere,” she said.
Rojas survived and she’s now raising her daughter Jaqueline and planning on attending nursing school. But for her, the journey was anything but easy.
“I cried and I cried, I didn’t know what to tell my parents so I just hid it,” she said.
Experts in the field said it’s common.
“Young people experience far higher rates dating abuse than their adult counterparts and unfortunately. It’s less than 3 percent that will tell someone like a police officer or school counselor,” said Caitlin Prior, with Day One.
Day One, a non-profit working to prevent teen dating violence, is training the people who work with high schoolers every day.
“They really are on the front lines when it comes to noticing the signs of dating abuse in their schools and among their students,” Prior said.
School safety officers said they’ve seen it first hand.
“It was a girl doing it to the boy. It was scary, he was afraid, he was crying all the time,” said one woman.
Day One said when it comes to identifying physical, mental, or technological abuse, creating a safe way to report it is key.
“A young person is less likely to go to a precinct, but maybe they’ll go to that school safety agent who is in their school, who knows their name,” said Prior.
Officers in the class said that rings true.
“Some of the kids, if they have problems during the day, they’ll ask for me and we’ll go sit down and converse, and we’ll work it out,” said one man.
The mandatory training program that started this year will reach every school safety officer in all five boroughs.