Adolescent dating abuse affects one in four youth each year. This type of trauma has long-term consequences for students’ well-being, safety, and academic performance. At the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (the Partnership), we believe youth deserve better—and that laying a foundation for healthy relationships at this crucial time will result in a future free from domestic violence.
Schools have an important responsibility to give students the skills they need to succeed in the classroom and in life. In order to enact meaningful change at the institutional level, we’re promoting school policies and institutional practices which support healthy relationships and prevent adolescent dating abuse.
Our DELTA FOCUS prevention policy project is a 5-year initiative funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). California is one of 10 states funded through the CDC to work on the primary prevention of domestic violence.
The three core components of our adolescent dating abuse school policy project are:
Adolescent dating abuse affects entire communities–and that’s why we’re creating a broad coalition of education, youth development, health, and dating abuse experts as we advance our prevention work. We’ve brought together a group of state-level stakeholders to provide guidance as we plan, implement, and evaluate our collective work to end adolescent dating abuse.
When schools recognize the importance of addressing adolescent dating abuse, they need the information and tools to implement local policy change. Working with our Leadership Team, the Partnership is developing a range of policy resources for school boards and education leaders, school site personnel, and other school-based organizations. Read our joint policy brief with the California School Boards Association to see one example of our work!
Two demonstration projects implement and evaluate prevention policy strategies and core components at the community level:
- Peace Over Violence with the Coalition for Healthy Teen Relationships in Los Angeles, CA
- Alliance for Community Transformations with the Mariposa Abuse Prevention Council in Mariposa, CA
We recognize that messages matter, and effectively communicating about adolescent dating abuse and the role of schools is essential to creating change and promoting protective factors for youth. We are working to develop strong frames and messages that will resonate with policymakers and increase the number of articles on the topic in traditional media and targeted education publications. (Read a great example here!) We’re also communicating about adolescent dating abuse through social media and the Partnership’s Prevention Newsletter, expanding our reach to diverse audiences.
- Our messaging focuses on four essential components:
- Students can’t learn if they’re hurting or don’t feel safe;
- Schools have a responsibility to give students the skills they need to succeed in the classroom and in life;
- Healthy relationships are the foundation for a strong and healthy community;
- Together, with support from community member, domestic violence advocates and school leadership, we can prevent teen dating violence.