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Office of the Indiana Attorney General

ISSI > About the Initiative About the Initiative

Protecting Indiana’s youth is a priority of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. Our office teams with organizations that work in different capacities to keep future generations safe, healthy and informed.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is extending its commitment to protect youth beyond its involvement in youth organizations by developing and executing an educational outreach initiative focused on youth safety. We are committed to delivering educational material to help prevent unhealthy behaviors among our youth to improve the quality of life for their peers, their communities and themselves.

The Office of the Attorney General is working with key non-profit entities that serve as experts in the areas of internet safety, teen suicide, teen dating violence and underage drinking and driving. The entities include Century Council, Netsmartz, the Jason Foundation, the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the National Center for Disease Control. The office serves as a liaison between the public and its partners.

Situational Analysis

The staggering statistics in all four areas support the need to raise awareness of these issues and put resources in place to help with prevention efforts.

1. Internet Crimes

  • One in 4 youth had an unwanted exposure in the past year to pictures of naked people or people having sex (Crimes Against Children Research Center).
  • About 25 percent of the youth who encountered a sexual approach or solicitation told a parent. Almost 40 percent of those reporting an unwanted exposure to sexual material told a parent (CACRC).
  • Only 17 percent of youth and 11 percent of parents could name a specific authority, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), CyberTipline, or an Internet service provider, to which they could report an Internet crime, although more indicated they were vaguely aware of such authorities (CACRC).

2. Teen Dating Violence

  • About 1 in 5 high school girls have been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner (Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, 2006).
  • About 1 in 11 teens reports being a victim of physical dating abuse each year (CDC, 2006).
  • Victims of dating abuse are not only at increased risk for injury, they are also more likely to engage in binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fights and sexual activity (CDC, 2006).

3. Teen Suicide

  • When asked if they had experienced the feeling of hopelessness and sadness for a constant period of two weeks or greater during the past twelve months (possible beginning of clinical depression) – 27.3% (over 127,000) of Indiana youth said they had felt that way.
  • A survey revealed that 14.8% of Indiana youth had gone as far as to construct a plan to commit suicide and over 69,000 Indiana youth will make a plan.
  • Over 44,000 of Indiana’s youth (ONE out of every TEN) will make an attempt in the next 12 months to commit suicide.

4. Underage Drinking & Driving

  • Drivers under the age of 21 represent 10 percent of licensed drivers but are responsible for 17 percent of fatal alcohol-related crashes in the U.S. (NHTSA).
  • Teenage drunk driving is the cause of one quarter of all motor vehicle accidents (NHTSA).
  • One teen is killed in the United States every 60 minutes because of teen drunk driving (NHTSA).