Teen dating violence and abuse is a major public health problem in this country. In addition to undermining young people’s individual growth and academic potential, dating violence and abuse puts young people at risk for long-term health consequences, serious injury and even death. Prevention needs to be a public health priority. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 10 high school students report experiencing physical dating violence.
Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships (Start Strong) was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in collaboration with Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) and Futures Without Violence. From 2008 to 2012, RWJF and BSCF invested $18 million in 11 Start Strong sites across the country to promote healthy relationships among 11- to 14-year-olds and identify promising strategies to prevent teen dating violence (TDV).
It was one of the largest initiatives ever funded targeting middle school students to promote healthy relationships and prevent dating violence.