ATHENS - The Georgia Commission on Family Violence (GCFV) presented its Moving the Work Forward Award to the Georgia Teen Advocates Network during the 25th Annual Family Violence Conference.

The Moving the Work Forward Award is presented to organizations that are innovative in their approaches and actions to ensure that all victims of domestic violence are provided the necessary resources to live free of violence in their homes.

The Georgia Teen Advocates Network (GTAN) aims to address the issue of teen dating violence in Georgia by bringing together domestic violence advocates from across the state who work to implement teen dating violence awareness and prevention efforts. The network was founded in 2016 by Mary Haddon, of Project Safe (Athens, GA) and Claire Lisco, of Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV) (Atlanta, GA) and has grown to include advocates from 25 agencies. Teen dating violence outreach is a relatively new area in the domestic violence movement and is multifaceted, including education, awareness, prevention as well as advocacy for teen survivors. Over the past three years, GTAN has created a guide to implement programs in schools, assisted in the creation of goals and objectives for Teen Dating Violence Committees of Family Violence Task Forces statewide, and has streamlined the dissemination of evidence-based programming among teen advocates. GTAN has provided teen advocates with a space to share resources, host additional training specific to working with teens, stay up to date with recent research findings for this population and to develop best practices.

“We are proud to present the Moving the Work Forward Award to the Georgia Teen Advocates Network for their persistent efforts to advocate with and for teens in the State of Georgia, many of whom we know are impacted by dating violence. One of the key findings from the Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project is that over half of victims studied were between the ages of 13-24 when they began their relationship with the person who eventually killed them. If we want to save lives, we have to intervene with teens and young adults,” said GCFV Chair Stephanie Woodard. “We are proud to see this group of advocates taking aim at this significant issue and we look forward to supporting their progress in the future.”

The award was accepted by Mary Haddon, Youth Educator and Advocate at Project Safe, Samantha Macedo, Vice President of Prevention & Outreach at PADV, and Dante Jackson, PADV board member.

As the Youth Educator and Advocate, Mary Haddon oversees youth outreach, education, and prevention programs at Project Safe,and works to inform the community about the Breaking Silence Teen Textline, a resource for teens throughout the State of Georgia who are experiencing dating violence. 

Samantha Macedo manages the Teen Dating Violence Prevention Program at PADV. The program provides outreach and prevention education to both youth and adults across Metro Atlanta, including: one-time workshops on teen dating violence, its warning signs, barriers to leaving, and safe bystander intervention; a Healthy Relationships curriculum; the Teens Against Dating Violence (TADV) Advisory Board, where teens are empowered to use their voice to take a stand against dating violence in their own communities and through social media; and an annual Teen Summit, an event for adults and teens to increase their knowledge on dating violence and promote healthy relationships.

For more information about the Georgia Teen Advocates Network, please contact Mary Haddon at or Samantha Macedo at

The Commission’s 25th Annual Family Violence Conference was held at the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia on September 8-11, 2019. The theme of this year’s conference was Supporting Survivors and Restoring Hope: 25 Years Ago to 25 Years Ahead. More than 650 local and national stakeholders attended the sold out conference, including judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, advocates, survivors, faith leaders, counselors and community members.

About GCFV: The Georgia Commission on Family Violence, created by The Georgia General Assembly in 1992, is charged with developing a comprehensive state plan for ending family violence in Georgia. If you or someone that you know is being impacted by domestic violence, call 1-800-334-2836 to speak with a domestic violence advocate.

Contact Information:

Press Contact: Stephanie Woodard,