Support Group to Address Teen Dating Violence

By Ben Boulden

The group meets at 5:30 p.m. each Wednesday at UAMS’ Psychiatric Research Institute and is open to women who have been exposed to emotional, physical or sexual violence by their partner or spouse.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, part of a national effort coordinated by the National Youth Advisory Board to raise awareness about abuse in teen and young adult relationships.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of those who have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, about one in five women and nearly one in seven men first experienced some form of partner violence between the ages of 11 and 17.

Teen dating violence can include stalking and harassment by frequent cell phone calls or monitoring of text messages and social media accounts.

Lori Graham, a clinical therapist in the Women’s Mental Health Program, says many young girls consider such acts part of a normal relationship and often don’t seek help.

“Arkansas is a small state but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to this sort of problem,” said Graham, a licensed clinical social worker. “Young girls who are exposed to abuse in a dating relationship are more likely to have problems in school, substance abuse issues and mental health issues. They are also likely to remain in abusive relationships as they grow older.”

The group is open to any woman who has experienced domestic violence in the past or is currently in an abusive relationship. Every effort will be taken to maintain a participant’s confidentiality. There is no cost to attend the hour-long sessions, but it is necessary to call in advance. All participants should be at least 16 years of age, but do not have to be a patient of the Psychiatric Research Institute to participate.

If you are interested in attending or for more information, contact Graham at (501) 526-8433 or


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.