TCFV starts online effort to fight teen dating abuse

DALLAS: The nonprofit Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) is working with Ruder Finn on an online push aimed at raising awareness of teen dating abuse and engaging parents and teens on an interactive level.

DALLAS: The nonprofit Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) is working with Ruder Finn on an online push aimed at raising awareness of teen dating abuse and engaging parents and teens on an interactive level.

Starting in early July, RF relaunched the organization's outreach Web site, loveisrespect.org. The site now includes a digital dating bill of rights, which is based on a bill used by various anti-abuse organizations.

The site opens with a video, encouraging teens to sign in and submit their own videos for a contest, to be judged in mid-November by a panel that includes Project Runway star Tim Gunn.

"[The video initiative] first lets them put their stamp on it, then asks, 'Do you want to add something to this? Tell us your story,' anything they want to express themselves with," said April Dinwoodie, director of online integration at RF.

The video was launched on the Web site on September 25. To promote it, RF created a YouTube channel and a page on MySpace's impact channel. Seventeen, a partner in the endeavor, posted the video on its Web site, and editor-in-chief Ann Shoket remains an active participant.

The agency is also driving awareness organically with teen and parent-focused Web sites and blogs.

Melanie Collier, associate producer at RF, said the firm has received positive responses from its e-PR outreach. Dinwoodie added that they reached beyond their target.

"[The issue] weighs more heavily on girls, but we're finding that more boys than we expected are interested in being in the video and talking," she pointed out. "They're asking, 'What can I do differently?'"

Collier noted that while there haven't been any video entries to date, they're expecting to see uploads soon. However, the MySpace page, www.myspace.com/ntdah, has acquired over 200 new friends since the relaunch of the TCFV teen dating abuse site.

Financial details of the account were not disclosed.

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