The DM initiative's comprehensive approach to teen dating violence prevention includes a range of prevention strategies, including youth and parent education and skill-development programs, educator training, communication strategies, policy strategies, and evaluation and surveillance for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods.
Although informing policy development, implementation, and evaluation can be challenging, long-term work, policy interventions have the potential for sustained impact over time at a population level and are often an effective use of community resources.
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Schools randomly assigned to the comprehensive approach will: implement 6th, 7th, and 8th grade student curricula in English to all the students in these grades; offer parent programs for parents of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders;implement a communications campaign involving brand ambassadors, a text message campaign, and social media campaign;encourage all educators to take an online training about teen dating violence for educators;be supported in assessing and informing local school or community policies relevant to teen dating violence.
Preventing teen dating violence requires a comprehensive approach involving diverse partnerships working across multiple levels of the social ecology to influence the norms and behaviors of individuals, families, peer groups, community and government organizations, neighborhoods, and the society at large.
The focus on high-risk, urban communities is predicated on data that suggest that the prevalence of dating violence among middle school students is higher in urban communities (O'Leary & Slep, in press).Specifically, the initiative includes: (1) school-based implementation of a CDC-developed healthy relationship curriculum in the 6th and 7th grade and an adaptation of an evidence based TDV curriculum (Safe Dates) in the 8th grade; (2) implementation of a 6th (Parents Matter with added TDV content), 7th (CDC developed), and 8th (Families for Safe Dates) grade parent-curriculum; (3) an on-going communications campaign implemented throughout the initiative, which includes a Brand Ambassador adolescent program; (4) educator completion of an online training on the risk factors and warning signs of TDV; (5) policy assessment and information at a school or community level; and, (6) development and validation of school and community-level indicators of TDV.In addition to these components, the schools implementing Dating Matters will also receive additional training and technical assistance in adapting these programs with surface level adaptations to make them more culturally relevant to their specific populations.CDC is funding the local, city, or county public health departments in Chicago, Illinois, Alameda County (Oakland), California, Broward County (Ft.Lauderdale), Florida, and Baltimore, Maryland to implement the two models of TDV prevention that will be evaluated in the outcome and implementation evaluation: the comprehensive Dating Matters initiative and the standard of care model, which is Safe Dates implemented in 8th grade.