Most of the handful of programs that have been empirically investigated are school-based and use a group format.Program length varies from less than a day to more than 20 sessions.
The project educates youth about gender-based violence, and helps them to develop skills and social actions such as personal responsibility, communication, and community participation.
An experimental study that randomly assigned 14- to 16-year-olds from child protective services to control or to the Youth Relationship Project curriculum found that the intervention was effective in reducing incidents of physical and emotional abuse and symptoms of emotional distress over time for the youth in the intervention.
Activities aimed at increasing awareness and dispelling myths about violence in relationships are often included in the curriculum.
The Safe Dates Project is an intervention that includes school activities (e.g., a theater production performed by peers, a curriculum of ten 45-minute sessions taught by health and physical education teachers, and a poster contest) and community activities (e.g., services for adolescents in abusive relationships and service provider training).
Specifically, youth in the intervention showed significantly greater declines in the use of coercive tactics within the dating relationship and enhanced motivation, interest, and understanding of the content of the program.
Shifting Boundaries, a school-based dating violence prevention program for middle school students (sixth and seventh grades), had positive effects on reducing dating violence within a randomized experimental study in a large urban school district. During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships with others, and it is therefore an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of teen dating violence that can last into adulthood.Learn more about characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.The combination also resulted in reduced incidences of sexual and physical dating violence by as much as 50 percent up to six months after the intervention.The classroom-only intervention did not prove effective.An evaluation of Break the Cycle’s Ending Violence curriculum with a sample of predominately Latino teens from a large urban school district found that the youth demonstrated improved knowledge of the laws related to dating violence, less acceptance of female-on-male aggression, and increased perception of the likelihood and helpfulness of seeking assistance from various sources after they had completed the program.