The Julian Center receives nearly $750,000 to fight domestic abuse among teens

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A local agency is taking their fight against domestic violence to the next level.

The Julian Center just received a grant that will be used to specifically to focus on young people who may find themselves in a violent relationship. The ultimate goal is to use education and new resources so they'll never find themselves in that situation in the first place.

"It's generational. Family secrets. Often times it's happening in homes and nobody knows about it and it's kept a secret but the children know and then they grow up and they're more likely to become a victim or perpetrator themselves," Julian Center Therapist, Kiev Tolka, said.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women just awarded The Julian Center a one of a kind $741,662 grant  for prevention and intervention programs focused on youth and young adults.

"Victim's tell us they enter their first violent relationship at an average age of 14 and a half. So we can provide great services for them after they've been in violent relationships and found the courage to leave violent relationships but really if we want to ever make progress on ending the cycle we need to get at it earlier," Julian Center, CEO, Catherine O'Connor said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Indiana ranks second in the nation for rates of teen dating and or sexual violence. The Julian Center will partner with seven other organizations to implement programs through what will be known as The Avery Project, serving youth as young as 5-years-old.

"Clubs for kids to join to help them reinforce the message and have some productive way to implement what they've learned, have intervention strategies available for children and young people who need services," O'Connor said.

Partnerships will also include the LGBTQ, Latinx and deaf community. Those are groups they say are under served when it comes to domestic violence services.