February marks the second annual Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, it was originally just a week-long dedication. Teen Dating Violence received national attention during the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (Vice President, the Senator, Joe Biden was key in the creation and passing of this legislation) in 2005. The goal of this month is to shine a light on abuse in teen relationships and focus our energy towards prevention efforts. Statistics show that 1 in 4 adolescents report abuse each year and about 10 percent report being physically hurt by a partner in the last year. It is an undeniable fact that kids are dating, and dating more seriously, at younger ages these days. Because of this, discussing healthy relationships, and recognizing the red flags of an unhealthy one, is imperative as teens and ‘tweens navigate the murky waters of dating.
Presently, RCASA is implementing violence prevention, aimed at bullying, cyber-bullying, dating violence, and sexual assault prevention, efforts in the Spotsylvania School District, at-risk youth centers, Juvenile Detention Center, and several other youth-oriented organizations in the community. This approach is called a ‘primary prevention approach,’ that is to say that the goal is to stop the violence before it occurs.
By utilizing the increased attention to TDV resulting from the Awareness Month declaration, RCASA can become even more effective because the language is already there (via news reports…etc) and people are talking about it. RCASA uses three curriculum’s aimed at preventing Teen Dating Violence; Choose Respect, Safe Dates, and In Touch With Teens.
 Foshee VA, Linder GF, Bauman KE, et al. The Safe Dates project: theoretical basis, evaluation design, and selected baseline findings. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 1996;12(Suppl 2):39–47.
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance—United States, 2007. MMWR 2008;57(No.SS#4).