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Stop dating violence

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Key Partnerships Usually operated through a partnership with a group that assists victims of domestic violence or an agency that serves youth, the school-based programs rely on trained youth who counsel peers, operate hotlines, and deliver curriculum lessons in the classroom.Together with community-based agencies, the schools publicize services available to victims and batterers.

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The curriculum has also been used in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.Did you know that alcohol and drugs play a major role in increasing violence toward a partner in a relationship?February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, designed to raise awareness about this and related issues. One study found that, in junior high and high school, teens who drank alcohol before age 13 were more likely to be both victims and abusers when it comes to physical dating violence.Potential Obstacles Because of fear or embarrassment, many students are reluctant to seek help through counseling and hotline services.The curriculum and supporting materials can inform them about available services and encourage them to approach teachers, peers, or community agencies for help.In the 1999 study Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, more than half of all rape victims were under 18 at the time of the first rape.

Many victims of domestic violence, too, are young women.

The Southern California Coalition for Battered Women offers Skills for Violence-Free Relationships, an education program for use with students ages 13 to 18.

Adapted for use by school personnel, shelter workers, and youth advocates, the curriculum incorporates lessons and lectures, role playing, and storytelling.

School administrators, reluctant to get involved in relationship issues, may resist using the curriculum and other services within the school.

Program proponents should emphasize the curriculum's value in combating violence among students.

The Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month’s website provides free materials to help get your event started.