Today’s teens are bombarded with stressful situations. From social media pressures, the torrents of school life, personal life, and balancing the unique challenges youths in military families face, the changes and development youth undergo from elementary to high school are vital to their development into adulthood. However, one important topic impacting millions of teens that often goes undiscussed is teen dating violence (TDV).
The impact of TDV
According to The U.S. Department of Education , 1 in 3 high schoolers have reported having been physically or sexually abused by their dating partner. These staggering statistics reflect the number of youth actually reporting this violence, a number that may be far higher due to the stigma that surrounds this issue at any age. As February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAM), we wanted to share a resource that provides comprehensive trainings on this topic for teens, parents, peers, educators, and those in the greater community that are impacted by TDV.
Educating youth early and providing them with the tools needed to define, distinguish, and maintain healthy, safe relationships is imperative to their ability to form healthy intimate partner relationships well into adulthood. To address this major issue, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a free comprehensive online training, Dating Matters , focusing on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) awareness and prevention. These trainings provide extensive prevention strategies for youth, their peers, their families, schools, and their communities.
The Dating Matters Initiative offers trainings that utilize a preventative model focusing on stopping teen dating violence in youth 11-14 years old. By focusing on students in the middle school age range, Dating Matters, is a resource that was created with the purpose of providing information to all those that may encounter the impacts of TDV and how best each member of the community can respond to prevent these occurrences and improve teen health.
7 core prevention components are offered in these trainings that focus on this topic at a Community level, Relationship level, and Individual level.
- Youth Programs
The youth focused part of Dating Matters is school based and provides middle schoolers with skills and tools to understanding healthy, safe relationships.
- Youth Communication Program: i2i: What R U Looking 4?
The communications aspect of the youth programs, i2i: What R U Looking 4?, covers key prevention messages through social media, the use of technology, and approaching this topic in terms youth can understand and relate to.
- Parent Trainings
Parent programs are offered in-person, at home, and in group sessions and focus on equipping parents with skills that encourage positive interaction and open communication with their children.
- Educator Trainings
Trainings for educators are also offered to help educators in understanding and identifying the risk factors and warning signs of teen dating violence and informing them of their role in promoting healthy teen relationships.
- Community Prevention Trainings
The community aspect of these trainings focus on comprehensive prevention and how identifying and tracking data on teen dating violence can inform policy at a local level.
Through interactive videos, quizzes, assignments, toolkits, and online applications, Dating Matters provides teens and those around them with the skills needed to guide and support youth in shaping healthy, positive, respectful relationships.
Other MFLN resources on this topic
- Resource Discovery| Mobile App: Respect Effect blog post
- Teenage Turbulence: Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention blog post
 CDC (2018). Dating Matters. Retrieved from: www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/datingmatters/index.html
This post was written by Kalin Goble, MS, of the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Family Development concentration area on thus site, on Facebook, and Twitter.
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