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Teen Dating Violence Prevention: On-line Tips and Tools for Educators

Categories: Violence Prevention

Relationships are the essence of our lives. Our interactions with family, friends, teachers, co-workers and significant others are critical to our overall well-being. As a parent, I strive to teach my two daughters,13-year-old Lisa and 11-year-old Claire, how to build healthy relationships. Together we talk about the qualities of a good friend, how they can be a good friend and behaviors harmful to friendships. Importantly, their dad and I seek to model healthy relationships with each other and with them.Students

My hope for Lisa and Claire is that the healthy relationships we try to foster between them and with their friends will form a solid foundation for moving into healthy dating relationships.  In my role at the CDC Injury Center, I see many injury and violence statistics, but as the mother of two young daughters, the ones concerning teens always pique my interest.  According to 2007 data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, about 10 percent of American high school students report being hit, slapped or physically hurt by their boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s critical we help young people identify signs of a violent or unhealthy relationship before they begin to date. Early efforts to promote healthy, respectful dating relationships are more likely to prevent dating violence before the problem begins.

As much as we can do in the home, it’s normal for adolescents to look outside their families for validation. Already, my 11-year-old seeks opinions of other adults and older teens, and I understand it’s beneficial for her to confide in and listen to them. Children sometimes spend more hours in a day with educators – teachers, coaches, administrators and counselors – than they do with their own parents. This is a lot of responsibility and it is also an amazing opportunity. If educators are knowledgeable about dating violence and are prepared to talk about it openly with students, they can teach students about the importance of healthy relationships.  This could help prevent teen dating violence from occurring.

To help educators facilitate those discussions, CDC , in partnership with Liz Claiborne Inc., developed Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention. In just 60 minutes, this free, online training helps educators gain first-hand knowledge of the risk factors and warning signs associated with teen dating violence and provides resources on helping teens build healthy relationships. The training is designed for educators and others who work with youth between the ages of 11 and 14, a time when, like my daughters, young people are learning about relationships with potential dating partners.

Of course, schools by themselves cannot-and should not be expected to-solve the nation’s most serious health and social problems. Families, health care workers, the media, religious organizations, community organizations that serve youth, and young people themselves also must be systematically involved.  However, schools provide a good base for many agencies to work together to maintain the well-being of teens.

It’s been my experience in my own education, and with Lisa and Claire, that the majority of educators care deeply about the well-being of young people, beyond just academics. So I hope you will join me in encouraging the educators you know to access this on-line tool and the resources it offers to prevent teen dating violence before it happens.  Creating, influencing, and fostering teen dating violence prevention efforts gives us the opportunity to make a positive impact both today and years from now.

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this blog is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. March 8, 2010 at 10:56 am ET  -   djmoloy

    This is a very interesting post, and I definitely understand your concern for helping children foster violent-free relationships. Although I agree that we need to give youngsters the tools they need to form violent-free relationships, I believe that some parents can over do it. For example, many of my close friends were not allowed to hang around students who were seen as “trouble makers.” While I agree that some friendships/relationships should be monitored more closely than others, I do not think parents should overwhelming dominate their childrens’ personal lives. This is simply a recipe for rebellion. I know this is not exactly what you are suggesting, but some parents do take sheltering to another level, and that can be unhealthy. Let kids make mistakes (not huge ones) and learn from them.

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  2. April 24, 2010 at 12:01 am ET  -   cg

    How do we access the module? Do you need a password?

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    • April 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm ET  -   The Dating Matters Team

      CG,

      Thank you again for your interest in our new training, Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention.

      We appreciate your patience and understanding as we worked to upgrade the web-based version of Dating Matters. We are pleased to announce you can now access the training online, at http://www.vetoviolence.org/datingmatters.

      For educators interested in earning CEU certificates: Accreditation is currently pending for this training activity. We will send an email update when credits are available.

      We hope you find the information and resources we’ve provided useful; please share the link with friends and colleagues who may also find the training beneficial.

      Sincerely,
      The Dating Matters Team

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  3. April 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm ET  -   Ed Love

    Very interesting article that I personally feel that more people should read and realize that the problem exists.

    Teens have more opportunity as well as more issues to deal with these days. One of the strongest bases outside of parents is the church foundation. If the church would take a stronger role in actively working with the youth, I think they will be more empowered as they grow into adults.

    Outside of the church, schools is where the youth spend most of their time on a normal day and it is the school system that needs to be restructured in order to give our youth the real tools that they need.

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  4. June 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm ET  -   Dan

    The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore – the issue affects not just youth but their families, schools and communities as well. We need to educate our youth about healthy relationships, raises awareness among those who care for them and provides communities with a critical opportunity to work together to prevent this devastating cycle of abuse.

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  5. November 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm ET  -   Dr. Pump

    Very good pointers raised in the article. Also I think we should increase the punishment for violence against children.

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  6. March 14, 2011 at 4:40 am ET  -   safety training canada

    This is a very interesting post, and I definitely understand your concern for helping children foster violent-free relationships. I agree that some friendships/relationships should be monitored more closely than others, I do not think parents should overwhelming dominate their childrens’ personal lives. This is simply a recipe for rebellion. Teens have more opportunity as well as more issues to deal with these days. One of the strongest bases outside of parents is the church foundation. If the church would take a stronger role in actively working with the youth, I think they will be more empowered as they grow into adults. I understand it’s beneficial for her to confide in and listen to them. Children sometimes spend more hours in a day with educators – teachers, coaches, administrators and counselors – than they do with their own parents. This is a lot of responsibility and it is also an amazing opportunity. If educators are knowledgeable about dating violence and are prepared to talk about it openly with students, they can teach students about the importance of healthy relationships. This could help prevent teen dating violence from occurring. Thanks for sharing..

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  7. May 28, 2011 at 8:11 am ET  -   Katie

    This website and training sounds like an excellent resource for parents as well as teachers. I think many people either are too naive to realize that dating violence happens in their community especially the suburbs. But it does. Dating violence can happen in many different forms, from verbal and emotional abuse to physical and sexual. I recently wrote a paper on dating violence and found some interesting information:

    “Other conditions may be associated with dating violence several years after adolescent victimization and may take the form of medical disorders or health risk behaviors. Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillence System found women over 18 who experienced violence from an intimate partner reported cardiovascular disease, joint disease, asthma, risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, and heavy drinking more frequently than did women who did not report violence from an intimate” (Teten, A., Ball, B., Valle, L., Noonan, R., Rosenbluth, B., 2009, p. 924).

    Researchers found that young adults are affected developmentally, emotionally, and physically by dating violence- and the cause for these problems might go un-detected if someone does not know or ask. There is a program that some schools across the country have implemented that is aimed at dating violence prevention;

    “Safe Dates Program uses a dramatic play, a 10-session curriculum, and a poster contest to address dating violence with high school students… Safe Dates has been shown to be effective in reinforcing positive and egalitarian relationship skills, decreasing reports of serious physical violence, and reducing sexual violence victimization and perpetration both one and four years after the intervention” (Herrman, 2009, p. 167).

    If people can become more aware of the high incidence of dating violence and the effect that it has on the victims, we can do more to stop it. There are programs out there that can aid in teaching the youth of america what is too far and how they can protect themselves.

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  8. July 1, 2011 at 11:23 am ET  -   julie garcia

    I spent over two hours on the dating matters online training. Definite lack of Latino youth and experts-huge missed opportunity for cultural competence. I spent a half hour or so on the post test and it malfunctioned and I am not sure it was ever submitted to obtain the .02 CEUs. There were constant gliches with the sound going off each time one advanced to the next module or screen-very time consuming. Links should include easier access to fact sheets. Suggest that there be a list of fact sheets on 1-how to recognize TDV; 2-How to talk with youth who are victims of TDV- 3-How to work ongoing with youth who are victims of TDV to increase support – they are often ridiculed/revictimized by others if they disclose TDV and get the perpetrator in trouble Educators would benefit from some role playing with students on how to approach the topic, best practices to intervene and work ongoing. Some of the comment bubbles went by too quick to read and the text was too small even with my glasses. CEU needs to be fixed ASAP. I used a MAC. Certificate of completion should be offered and perhaps some type of incentive for schools who staff complete over 75% or more-free materials or recognition from CDC; may be useful to survey educators and what would motivate them to complete this online training. More emphasis is needed on how to intervene once TDV is disclosed and to work together to identify students and intervene. Thank you.

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    • July 5, 2011 at 9:17 am ET  -   directorsview

      Julie,

      Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate your interest in Dating Matters and apologize for the technical difficulties you encountered while taking the course. We are aware of some of the issues you reference in your message; the course is currently undergoing an update that will bring it in line with the latest technology.

      Sincerely,
      The Dating Matters Team

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  9. May 4, 2012 at 11:20 am ET  -   how to end a relatiosnhip

    I actually liked this post. thank you. I will tell others about this too.

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  10. May 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm ET  -   kava pills

    Very interesting topic , thanks for putting up.

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  11. October 30, 2012 at 2:41 pm ET  -   Connie Lewinski

    Really helpful, thank you.

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