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Teen Dating Violence Interventions and Resources

Teen Dating Violence Interventions and Resources

Here’s a list of things I’ve found around the web that I hope you find useful in addressing and preventing teen dating violence in your students:

Statistics from the CDC:

• One in 10 high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year.
• Among adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, 22.4% of women and 15.0% of men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.
• Across studies, 15-40% of youth report perpetrating some form of violence towards a dating partner.
• Risk factors for teen dating violence include individual, peer, partner, parent, and neighborhood influences.
• Perpetrating dating violence in adolescence increases the risk of perpetrating violence toward a partner in adulthood.
• Exposure to dating violence significantly affects a range of mental and physical health problems.


Evidence Based Programs

Safe Dates:

school social work safe datesSafe 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.

NREPP Review of Safe Dates  |  Purchase the program

Fourth R: Skills for Youth Relationships

school social work 4RThe Fourth R: Skills for Youth Relationships is a curriculum for 8th- and 9th-grade students that is designed to promote healthy and safe behaviors related to dating, bullying, sexuality, and substance use. Based on social learning theory and grounded in stages of social development, the Fourth R focuses on improving students’ relationships with peers and dating partners and avoiding symptomatic problem behaviors (e.g., violence, aggression).

The Fourth R is composed of three units: (1) personal safety and injury prevention, (2) healthy growth and sexuality, and (3) substance use and abuse. Each unit contains seven 75-minute classes, which are delivered by trained teachers and integrated into the school’s standard health and physical education curriculum. The Fourth R engages students with exercises to define and practice the rights and responsibilities associated with healthy relationships. The curriculum includes many examples of the types of conflicts faced by teens on a daily basis, and examples of both peer and dating conflicts are used concurrently (where possible) so that youth who are not dating will find the material relevant. The Fourth R makes extensive use of role-playing, with feedback from peers and teachers, to increase students’ interpersonal skills and problem-solving abilities. Boys and girls participate in slightly different exercises and activities, which are intended to raise their level of awareness of social norms and minimize gender-based defensive or hostile reactions.

NREPP Review of Fourth R

More information and to purchase the program

Free Curricula

Love is Not Abuse Curriculum

school social work teen dating violenceThis curriculum focuses on four critical goals:
1. Increasing students’ understanding of teen dating abuse
2. Enabling students to reach out to provide support and help to a friend or family member who may be involved in an abusive relationship
3. Increasing help-seeking behavior among students involved in abusive dating relationships
4. Promoting healthier approaches to dating relationships and conflicts

The curriculum is broken down into four lessons (45 minutes each) with handouts and activities specific to each lesson’s theme:

Teen Safe: Healthy Relationship Group Curriculum

school social work healthy relationshipsThe Teen Safe Curriculum is a 4 module group developed by the Center for Young Women’s Health for use with adolescent girls (ages: 12-15). The modules include: healthy relationships, safety in relationships, safety on the streets, and safety on the internet. Each module is designed to take place in 1-1.5 hours so they may require modification to meet time constraints within your school.

Dating Matters: Free Online Training for Educators

school social work dating mattersDating Matters™: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention is a 60-minute, interactive training designed to help educators, youth-serving organizations, and others working with teens understand the risk factors and warning signs associated with teen dating violence.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with Liz Claiborne Inc., Dating Matters™ also will highlight the importance of promoting healthy relationships.

Dating Matters™ takes place in a virtual school setting, complete with navigation through school hallways and classrooms. A teacher’s whiteboard presents information in a user-friendly way and provide navigation, help, and interactive resources for use throughout the course.

Teen Dating Violence Video Games

school social workSince 2008, Jennifer Ann’s Group has sponsored the Life.Love. Game Design Challenge to challenge video game designers and developers to create video games about teen dating violence. Their goal is to increase awareness about teen dating violence as well as provide educational information to help teens, tweens, and young adults identify and avoid abusive relationships.

You can use these games to add an interactive/experiential component to your individual or group interventions.

How to Organize a Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week

National Dating Abuse Helpline

school social work love is respectMake students aware of the anonymous, secure, and easily-accessible
loveisrespect, National Dating Abuse Helpline. Resources and services are
available 24/7 online at or by calling 1-866-331-9474 or
1-866-331-8453 TTY

Websites: Love Is Not Abuse provides information and tools men, women, children, teens, and corporate executives can use to learn about domestic and dating violence and how they can help end the epidemic. Loveisrespect is the ultimate source of support for young people to prevent and end dating abuse, inspiring them to create a culture of healthy relationships. Break the Cycle, Inc., is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage, educate, and empower youth to build lives and communities free from domestic and dating violence. Day One provides preventive education and direct legal services to young people and technical assistance to professionals related to teen dating abuse and violence. Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships (TEAR) is a teenrun organization that works with schools and organizations to educate people about teen dating violence. That’s Not Cool is a national public education campaign that uses digital examples of controlling, pressuring, and threatening behavior to raise awareness about and prevent teen dating abuse. That’s Not Cool is sponsored and co-created by Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund), the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, and the Advertising Council.

About The Author

Scott Carchedi

Scott Carchedi is the founder and co-editor of SSWN. Scott provides technology support and consultative services to school social work associations across the US. Scott is also a practicing school social worker in the western suburbs of Chicago, serving grades 9-12.


  1. Paul Lyons

    Thank you for all of these timely and pertinent articles and info. Really useful.
    Question: About a year ago or maybe it was Spring 2016 I came across a link in the School Social Work News Letter where many different types of free assessment tools were offered or identified. Cannot seem to locate it now.
    Ideas? Thanks again.

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