Criminal Justice System
Health Care Professionals
Teen dating violence, unhealthy relationships, intimate partner violence…no matter what you call it domestic violence is present in the lives of teens. Nationally up to 40% of teens have been in abusive relationships and of those that have 43% experienced abuse while at school. It is critical that schools adopt policies to address this abuse. If domestic violence is ever going to be stopped we must start with our teens where they are most likely to be influenced… at school.
Many times communities feel as if they are pulling domestic violence victims out of a river just before they reach a dangerous waterfall. As each young woman is abused and seeks help they reach in and pull them out. But, eventually there are too many young women in the river and the advocates cannot reach them all. Focusing on prevention allows us as a community to move up stream and stop them from being pushed into the river in the first place.
There are a large number of different curriculums aimed at violence prevention. Some of which are designed to follow the educational objectives that schools have set forth for teachers. Check out our list of resources below for curriculum ideas.
In addition to curricula, holding school events, signing pledges, and participating in ICADV contests are great ways to start to change the climate at your schools to make a difference in the lives of your students. For ideas please contact ICADV’s Prevention Coordinator.
Model School Policies
In addition to prevention programming, schools can offer students safety through dating violence policies. Having a designated staff person for students to report to, allowing students to rearrange their class schedule after reported abuse, and having written expectations in the student handbook are all examples of things to include in a school teen dating violence policy. Break the Cycle is one organization that has drafted and implemented model policies. For more information, help crafting, or training assistance please contact ICADV’s Prevention Coordinator.
Healthy Relationship Classes
In the summer of 2009 the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) began offering healthy relationship classes at the Iowa Juvenile Home/Girls’ State Training School in Toledo, IA. Classes are once a week for six weeks, facilitated by college aged students, and geared towards teens (12-17). Topics include: Defining Healthy Relationships, Setting Boundaries, Assertive Communication, Asking for Help, Owning your Sexual Power, and Breaking Up.
In the Spring of 2010 the project expanded to include classes at the Polk County Detention Center. Children & Families of Iowa Domestic Violence Service (CFI/DVS) and Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer (L.U.N.A.) are leading and managing the classes at the Polk County Detention Center in partnership with ICADV.
If you are interested in being a volunteer facilitator or getting a copy of the curriculum please contact the prevention coordinator.
Ten Things Teachers Can Do
1) Don't allow prejudice or stereotypes in your classroom. Make this rule clear on the first day. Discuss what it means with your kids and how it can be present in small ways. Be ready to respond consistently to tough questions like, “It was just a joke-why are you so uptight?”
2) Incorporate violence prevention topics into current class lessons. Take a look at the things you already teach and find ways to incorporate additional messages. For example:
4) Look for teachable moments. If dating violence is in the news, use it as an opportunity to bring the article to your class. Talk with parents about your no prejudice classroom policies at parent teacher conferences.
5) Teach conflict resolution and healthy relationship skills. There are lots of great resources out there to help you find activities. Please see our list of suggested resources on the Resources page.
6) Get involved in student and school anti-violence projects. February, Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month, is a great opportunity to hold events, create a club, bring in speakers, put up posters, and more. If these activities don’t exist at your school, create them.
7) Take part in school initiatives. Work for organizational change within your school to help promote safety and violence prevention. This can mean talking with the principal, guidance counselor, and social worker about your school’s policies for addressing teen dating violence. Other activities can include serving on committees, attending school board meetings, and more.
8) Get parents involved. The lessons kids get extend beyond the classroom. Finding ways to incorporate parents can ensure that kids get a consistent message.
9) Listen to the idle chit-chat and address inappropriate statements. Kids talk with their classmates all the time. Plan how you want to address comments that enforce gender stereotypes, violence, and disrespect. When you hear these comments you will be prepared to address them. Turning a blind eye supports the behavior rather than discourages it.
10) Educate yourself. Get to know the domestic violence program in your community and the services they provide. Learn more about warning signs of dating violence and what you should do to address them. You can do this through readings, our website, and talking with your co-workers. There is also an online resource called “Dating Matters” for educators concerned about teen dating violence.
Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. For additional information about how an abuser can track a victims activities, click here.
More information on Teen Safety is coming...
Click here to download a PDF with resources from books and the Internet.
Let Your Voice Be Heard Video Contest 2013
Beginning in February 2011 ICADV hosted a “Speak Up” video contest that charged high schoolers with creating one minute video and radio PSAs. The Speak Up contest was part of ICADV’s recognition of Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month. February was designated to promote healthy relationships and prevent domestic violence. The winning video and radio PSAs are relevant to the lives of teens, have an element of creativity, and articulate a clear message about dating violence.
This year ICADV is again hosting the "Let Your Voice Be Heard" video contest with support from the Verizon Foundation. High schoolers will again have the opportunity to develop 30 second video PSAs. Winners will be selected in February. There will be several opportunities for students to be involved in Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month, including by participating in the contest. Click here for more information. All students who will be on camera will need to complete and submit a Media Waiver found here. Please feel free to hang posters in your school to get more students involved. If you have any questions, you can contact our Prevention Coordinator.
“Let Your Voice Be Heard” Video Contest 2012
Criminal Justice System
Health Care Professionals