RCASA’s Wednesday Outreach: Safe Dates

In Advocacy, Outreach on March 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

RCASA is implementing the Safe Dates curriculum in several local middle and high schools and youth serving agencies.  Safe Dates is the only evidence-based curriculum that prevents dating abuse: a factor often linked to alcohol and other drug use.

Highly engaging and interactive, Safe Dates helps teens recognize the difference between caring, supportive relationships and controlling, manipulative, or abusive dating relationships. Designated as a Model Program by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2006, Safe Dates was selected for the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), and received high ratings on all criteria.

Safe Dates can be used as a dating abuse prevention tool for both male and female middle- and high-school students. Safe Dates would fit well within a health education, family life skills, or general life skills curriculum. The goals of this program are ;

  • To raise student awareness of what constitutes healthy and abusive dating
  • To raise student awareness of dating abuse and its causes and consequences.
  • To equip students with the skills and resources to help themselves or friends in abusive dating relationships.
  • To equip students with the skills to develop healthy dating relationships, including positive communication, anger management, and conflict resolution

Safe Dates is an evidence-based program with strong, long-term outcomes. It was the subject of substantial formative research in fourteen public schools in North Carolina using a rigorous experimental design. The program was found to be effective in both preventing and reducing perpetration among teens already using violence against their dates.

Adolescents participating in the program, as compared with those who did not participate, also reported:

  • less acceptance of dating violence
  • stronger communication and anger management skills
  • less gender stereotyping
  • greater awareness of community services for dating abuse

Researchers studied the same group of students four years after implementation and found that students who participated in the Safe Dates program reported 56 percent to 92 percent less physical, serious physical, and sexual dating violence victimization and perpetration than teens who did not participate in Safe Dates. The program has been found to be equally effective for males and females and for whites and non-whites.

For more information about this program and other prevention programs contact RCASA’s Outreach and Prevention Coordinator at 540.371.6771.


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