Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dating Violence

The New York Times published an article last week by Elizabeth Olson about the rise in dating violence.

One important point about dating violence that was not raised in the article is that there is an evidence-based intervention to prevent dating violence. (Unfortunately, there are few evidence-based prevention programs for domestic violence and sexual violence). This prevention program is called Safe Dates and is listed on the SAMHSA registry of evidence-based programs. Dr. Vangie Foshee at the UNC School of Public Health has been the lead investigator in the efforts to develop and study this prevention program.

The description on the SAMHSA site states: "Safe Dates is a program designed to stop or prevent the initiation of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse on dates or between individuals involved in a dating relationship. Intended for male and female 8th- and 9th-grade students, the goals of the program include: (1) changing adolescent dating violence and gender-role norms, (2) improving peer help-giving and dating conflict-resolution skills, (3) promoting victim and perpetrator beliefs in the need for help and seeking help through the community resources that provide it, and (4) decreasing dating abuse victimization and perpetration."

Given the serious consquences of dating violence- as the Times' article highlights dating violence can result in young women's deaths- it is unfortunate that Safe Dates is not provided in more communities. Though I hear from advocates who provide prevention programs that it can be very challenging to gain access into schools to provide prevention programs like Safe Dates.

So I am wondering if others have had success in gaining access to schools to provide prevention programs like Safe Dates? If folks have had success, how was this accomplished?

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