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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Loveisrespect Collaborate to Bring Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program to 150 Schools in Illinois

October 19, 2012

New Initiative Addresses Silent Epidemic with Comprehensive Outreach and Awareness Programs

Chicago, IL — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) and Loveisrespect, the ultimate source of support for young people to prevent and end dating abuse, have announced a joint initiative to bring a comprehensive program to spread awareness and promote healthy relationships to 150 schools in Illinois.

According to the CDC, only 11% percent of high school students in Illinois actually report physical abuse. However, one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence – and nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.

This new collaboration with Loveisrespect will reduce the growing epidemic of teen dating violence with tailored, on-the-ground outreach and awareness programs that will better equip our schools, families and communities with the information and resources needed to respond to this issue. Through this alliance, communities in Illinois will learn to identify the warning signs and better respond to teen dating violence through the creation of school-based initiatives such as "Loveisrespect Institutes." Free toolkits will be sent out and will include a curriculum which leverages technology to provide teachers with web-based activities and methods for creating a supportive community.

"As a result of BCBSIL's support, our innovative service-learning programs will help young people develop healthy definitions of positive relationships. We're creating, conducting, evaluating and distributing a comprehensive dating abuse prevention program that will lead to measurable successes," said Cristina Escobar, director of Loveisrespect.

"We are honored to have an opportunity to team with other organizations who share our commitment to creating pathways for teenagers, their families and friends to build relationships of warmth, mutual respect and love," said Dr. Elif Oker, medical director, BCBSIL. "In our initiative with Loveisrespect, we have tailored the program to our states to spread awareness and provide support to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. The collective impact creates a safe space for teens to talk about things that may be difficult and helps them decide when and where they want to do it, at any time, using any mode of communication they choose."

This program is in conjunction with BCBSIL's Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF), a three year initiative that pulls together local, state and national resources in an effort to make a significant impact on childhood health and wellness.

The HKHF initiative invests in and partners with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in four pillar categories including supporting safe environments, nutrition education, physical activity, and disease prevention and management. Additional "Healthy Kids, Healthy Families" pillar partners include:

  • American Lung Association "Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma Project" — a program that implements community-based interventions to improve the health outcomes of children with asthma. The goal of the program is to improve pediatric asthma care to an estimated 480,000 children over the next three years in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
  • KaBOOM! — a partnership that encourages youth to incorporate exercise into their daily lives with healthy play. Since 2009, we've worked with KaBOOM! to build 18 playgrounds and are working to complete another 11 playgrounds in 2012.
  • The CareVan Program — in an effort to provide preventive care to uninsured and medically underserved children and adults, each of HCSC's Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans operates a mobile immunization outreach program.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
With more than 7 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, BCBSIL is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care.

About Healthy Kids, Healthy Families
Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a three-year initiative designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments by Health Care Service Corporation and its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The initiative will invest in and partner with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in areas of nutrition education, physical activity, disease prevention and management, and supporting safe environments. To learn more about Healthy Kids, Healthy Families, please visit www.healthykidshealthyfamiles.org.

About Loveisrespect
Loveisrespect helps teens and young adults, ages 13-24 navigate the spectrum of healthy relationship behaviors. From the program, young people learn there are options, answers and support available to them every hour of every day. Forming the national partnership to end dating abuse, Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline designed the new loveisrespect specifically for young people, emphasizing confidentiality and trust to ensure teens and 20-somethings nationwide feel safe and supported — online and off. Find out more at www.loveisrespect.org .