Dates of Project: July 2009 through June 2011
Field of Work: Intimate partner violence prevention
Problem Synopsis: One in four adolescents report verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a dating partner. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can cause short-term and long-term effects, including poor school performance, substance abuse, depression and anxiety, and suicide attempts.
Synopsis of the Work: From 2008 to 2011, eight projects implemented Safe Dates, a dating abuse prevention program, in middle and high schools through New Jersey Health Initiatives, which supports projects that improve the health and health care of state residents. Safe Dates includes a 10-session curriculum that targets attitudes and behaviors related to dating abuse and violence, and a play and a poster contest that reinforce key points in the curriculum.
Grantees included organizations that specialize in prevention programs, school-based health centers, one staff training organization, and one school district. The nonschool-based grantees partnered with middle and high schools.
Schools that offered Safe Dates through seven of the eight projects are continuing the program.
In 2011, New Jersey passed a law requiring schools to provide education on dating violence, and to establish prevention policies. The state has included Safe Dates as one of the educational resources.