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Learn more about characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.
In addition to teaching relationship skills, prevention programs can focus on promoting protective factors—that is, characteristics of a teen’s environment that can support healthy development—and positive youth development.
The Safe Dates Project is an intervention that includes school activities (e.g., a theater production performed by peers, a curriculum of ten 45-minute sessions taught by health and physical education teachers, and a poster contest) and community activities (e.g., services for adolescents in abusive relationships and service provider training).
A four-year follow-up study found reductions in the likelihood of being a victim or a perpetrator of moderate psychological and physical violence as well as sexual violence among the eighth- and ninth-grade students from North Carolina who had participated in the Safe Dates Project; however, there were no reductions in the likelihood of being a victim of Further, findings showed that those students involved in the Safe Dates Project reported less acceptance of dating violence and traditional gender roles, a stronger belief in the need for help, and more awareness of services available in the community.
The classroom-only intervention did not prove effective.
Programs and evidence to support programs will continue to evolve.
The Youth Relationships Project is a prevention program focused on addressing the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive factors that allow youth to strengthen the expression of positive interactions with dating partners and reduce the probability of power-assertive and violent behavior.
The project educates youth about gender-based violence, and helps them to develop skills and social actions such as personal responsibility, communication, and community participation.
However, boys in the intervention group were significantly less likely than boys in the control group to engage in dating violence (2.7 percent, compared to 7.1 percent).Ending Violence is a curriculum designed for high school students that focuses on educating youth about the legal repercussions and protections for perpetrators and victims of dating violence.An evaluation of Break the Cycle’s Ending Violence curriculum with a sample of predominately Latino teens from a large urban school district found that the youth demonstrated improved knowledge of the laws related to dating violence, less acceptance of female-on-male aggression, and increased perception of the likelihood and helpfulness of seeking assistance from various sources after they had completed the program.Similarly, for boys, high levels of parental bonding have been found to be associated with less externalizing behavior, which in turn is associated with less teen dating violence victimization.Most of the handful of programs that have been empirically investigated are school-based and use a group format.
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Program length varies from less than a day to more than 20 sessions.