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DELTA FOCUS: Strategic communications

Blog post

The DELTA FOCUS Project develops and disseminates frames, messages and stories about dating abuse (the problem) and dating abuse prevention policies protocols and procedures (the solutions) that resonate with decision-makers, opinion-leaders, and partners within the education system.

New Narratives, Frames and Messages 

During the first year of the project (March 2, 2013-March 1, 2014), we strengthened our capacity to apply strategic communications to influence understanding of dating abuse and dating abuse prevention among decision-makers and opinion-leaders in the education system. Members of the Implementation Support Team and Leadership Team participated in trainings by the Grassroots Policy Project on the role of public narratives in health promotion. The information and insights were brought back to the full Leadership Team and incorporated into our strategic communications activities.

With guidance from the Implementation Support Team and Leadership Team, we identified that part of our challenge in informing school policies may be that the dominant narratives, frames and messages about dating abuse and dating abuse prevention define the problem as an individual and family problem and promote solutions at these levels, with a limited role for the education system and other community institutions. We identified the need to develop new narratives, messages and frames that resonate within the education system and promote community-wide preventive solutions, rather than reinforcing individual-level solutions after violence has already occurred. 

For the first year of the project, we decided to promote new narratives, frames and messages that encourage:

  1. Community responsibility for preventing dating abuse, especially through youth-adult partnerships; and,
  2. Proactive primary prevention efforts that emphasize supporting healthy adolescent relationships, rather than reactive after-the-fact responses.

Let’s Talk About Love! Social Media Campaign 

In 2014, we designed and implemented the Partnership’s first-ever coordinated Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month campaign and first-ever social media campaign, Let’s Talk About Love!

Our objectives were to: 

  1. Increase the number of adults who engage in dialogue with young people and communicatepositive and proactive narratives, messages and frames about love and healthy relationships; and, 
  2. Increase the alignment of state and local effortsaround a Partnership-led campaign.

Seventy organizations were engaged in the campaign. Organizations complemented social media efforts with local events.

Next Steps

In the second year of the project (March 2, 2014 – March 1, 2015), we will continue to engage in strategic communications activities to develops and disseminates frames, messages and stories about dating abuse (the problem) and dating abuse prevention policies protocols and procedures (the solutions) that resonate with decision-makers, opinion-leaders, and partners within the education system. This will include engaging a communications contractor who will: 1) conduct an assessment of current narratives, frames and messages about adolescent dating abuse and prevention heard by California’s educational leaders; and 2) develop a communications plan (including new narratives, frames and messages) and guide us in implementing the plan.

Commands