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Educating young people about healthy relationships is critical to preventing dating abuse. Luckily, many great tools exist to get schools started. Check out the leading resources below.
This comprehensive, best-practices model includes everything from how to implement a school-wide dating violence policy to teaching students how to be leaders in preventing dating violence.
The authors, Break the Cycle and Hazelden Publishing are trusted in violence prevention, advocacy and evidence-based youth programming. By combining their top resources, these two organizations are able to offer a comprehensive, best-practices model that empowers educators and students to make a difference. Here’s how it works:
- Develop a comprehensive school policy that addresses teen dating violence. If your school already has a policy in place, it’s important to revisit and update it with the most current information and state laws. Break the Cycle’s School Policy Kit will help guide your school through this process.
- Educate students about dating abuse and how to recognize the difference between caring, supportive relationships and controlling, manipulative ones through Hazelden’s Safe Dates. It’s the only dating violence prevention program currently listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
- Reinforce student learning with Break the Cycle’s interactive [Ending Violence] program, designed to educate students about their rights and responsibilities in dating relationships. [Ending Violence] builds on key prevention skills from Safe Dates while educating students about how to access the civil and criminal justice systems for protections.
- Activate student leadership on the issue. Designed for students ages 13 and up, Break the Cycle’s Speak.Act.Change: Youth Advocacy Kit is a service-learning program that engages students through youth activism and peer-leadership to address teen dating violence on their campuses and in their communities.
The Love Is Not Abuse curriculum is a free, step-by step guide to teaching teens and 20-somethings about dating violence. It comes in two editions, one targeting high school and the other targeting college students.
Using literature and poetry, the high school program provides teachers with tools to teach about this sensitive subject and is intended to be taught in either health or English/language arts classes. It even has a special supplement on digital abuse.
The first of its kind, the college curriculum educates students about the dangers and warning signs of dating violence, offers lessons specifically on abuse via technology and provides resources where college students can find help on campus.
Strategies for Healthy Youth Relationships is a consortium of researchers and professionals dedicated to promoting healthy adolescent relationships and reducing risk behaviors. They develop and evaluate programs, resources and training materials for educators and other front-line professionals who work with youth. In particular, they work with schools to promote the neglected R (for relationships) and help build this Fourth R into school climates. The Fourth R consists of a comprehensive school-based program designed to include students, teachers, parents and the community in reducing violence and risk behaviors.
Expect Respect is a school-based program for preventing teen dating violence and promoting safe and healthy relationships in middle and high school. It is designed for use by domestic violence or rape crisis centers that work with youth in schools. The manual guides you through conducting three programs:
- Expect Respect Support Groups are for vulnerable youth who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse or been involved in abusive dating relationships. The primary goal is to prevent at-risk youth from becoming victims and perpetrators in their future intimate relationships.
- SafeTeens youth leadership training empowers students to become role models and leaders in preventing teen dating violence, sexual harassment and bullying. At the end of training, participants identify a problem they want to address and develop an awareness project that may qualify for service learning credit as required in some leadership classes.
- The School-Wide Prevention Strategies component involves the entire school community in increasing awareness of dating violence and improving the school climate. Strategies include administering a school climate survey to assess needs, establishing a school policy for defining and reporting interpersonal violence and awareness campaign materials from Choose Respect, a primary prevention initiative developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for educating teachers, students and parents.
In Touch With Teens is a nationally recognized model for violence prevention curricula. Created by Peace Over Violence, the 12-unit curriculum covers many facets of violence prevention with an emphasis on relationship violence, sexual assault and harassment. Presentations can be one or two units. More extensive multi-session trainings are also available. Material is targeted towards teens and most of Peace Over Violence’s trainings take place in middle and high schools within Southern California.
Having a hard time picking? Use this chart to compare the curricula.