FREDERICTON (CNB) – A new publication, Teens and Dating: Tips for keeping abuse out of your relationship, has been released to help teens avoid abusive relationships. There is also a new poster available to raise public awareness in schools, teen centres, libraries and other locations.

The pamphlet includes a quiz that refers to some of the most common forms of relationship abuse. It warns teens that if they answered "yes" to any of the questions, they may be in an abusive relationship. In addition to setting out the signs of an unhealthy relationship, the pamphlet offers tips for staying safe and encourages friends who notice abusive behaviour to offer support.

"Some of the negative behaviours that can happen when teens start to date may be mistaken for love and affection,” said Deborah Doherty, executive director, Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick. “When someone is extremely jealous and controlling, teens might see this as a sign that the person must be in love to act like that. And, often friends will simply laugh off many abusive tactics.

"The pamphlet debunks this notion and sets out a range of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual behaviours that are signs of an abusive relationship. The bottom line emphasized in the pamphlet is that there is no excuse for any form of abuse."

Lorraine Whalley, executive director of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, explained the importance of educating the public.

"This pamphlet is an excellent resource to share with teachers, guidance counsellors and others who are working with youth on a daily basis,” Whalley said. “The information and the way it is presented are great ways to get everyone talking about these issues.

“For example, the pamphlet points out that one in four high school girls has experienced forced sexual activity while on a date. It is important to create awareness that this is another form that dating violence can take. We also liked the positive tone of the pamphlet; it encourages teens to know the warning signs, speak out, take action and say "no" to doing things with which they are uncomfortable.”

This publication was created by the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick in collaboration with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre. Other participants included Victim Services, Department of Public Safety; Public Prosecutions Branch, Office of the Attorney General; as well as social services providers and staff and residents of Chrysalis House in Fredericton.

The Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick is a non-profit charitable organization that educates the public about the law. It receives funding and in-kind support from Justice Canada, the New Brunswick Law Foundation and the Office of the Attorney General.

For more information or to obtain resources, contact the Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick at P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 5H1, or call 506-453-5369, fax 506-462-5193.