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Jennifer Ann's Group offers $11,000 in prizes for dev contest

Raising awareness of teen dating violence in memory of murdered schoolgirl

Parenthood is a long list of concerns and worries, but non-profit awareness organisation Jennifer Ann's Group is working to highlight one which many parents are unaware of - the threat to children and young people from violent and abusive partners.

The group was established in memory of Jennifer Ann Crecente, who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend at the age of 18. Her father, Drew Crecente, says that whilst he was painfully aware of many of the dangers facing young people, violence at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend simply hadn't been on his radar. According to the group's research "one in three 14-year-olds has experienced physical, sexual or psychological emotional violence within a dating relationship, rising to 44 percent by the time young people graduate from college."

"I knew to talk with Jen about alcohol, drugs, sex and all those other parenting talks, but I never knew I had to teach her about dating violence," he explains. "I did not realize that it was such a pervasive issue at such a young age."

LAst year's winner: Another Chance

In Jennifer's memory, the group has now established a game dev contest focused on the theme of teen dating violence, aimed at raising awareness amongst parents and giving young people the chance to speak out about their experiences. Offering a total of $11,000 in prizes, the contest hopes to produces games which can be played by teenagers and their parents alike to educate and inform.

"Video games are often unfairly blamed for violence in our society," says Crecente, "but using them as a tool for social change to prevent violence is extremely effective. We have found that teens prefer to explore a sensitive issue like teen dating violence through self-paced exploration. Additionally, parents like to use these games as an easy way to begin a conversation with their teenagers about abusive behavior in dating relationships."

Entries for the competition are open now and close on June 1, 2016. Full details of the competition requirements and further details of the group and the work it performs can be found here.

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