According to Break The Cycle, in Pennsylvania alone, almost 10% of high school students have already had an encounter of physical abuse by a dating partner. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, an important opportunity to highlight how essential it is that teens are made aware of what healthy relationships look like, including mutual respect and the warning signs of unhealthy behaviors.
Adagio Health is bringing awareness of teen dating violence to young people our communities. We have been honored to collaborate with the New Castle School District in Lawrence County for a second year to educate adolescents on this topic. Adagio Health has implemented a curriculum on teen dating violence prevention to 824 middle and high school students. The curriculum addresses healthy relationship strategies, the importance of consent, healthy communication, and resources for getting help. While the project began in person, Adagio Health has continued implementing the program virtually. Delivering content and prevention strategies over a virtual platform has been a valuable experience for our organization and the students.
This program, funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, has two other critical aspects. One is an extensive online campaign with the theme “Know the Signs”
. This campaign enables Adagio Health to reach youth not just in the classroom, but also on social media, which we know is where teens spend much of their time. A video was created as part of the campaign that can be accessed here,
with a focus on technology abuse, one of the most prevalent forms of abuse today. Another effort made through this project is providing training for law enforcement focused on the root causes of dating violence, its impacts, and how to access resources to assist teens experiencing abuse in their relationships.
Providing awareness to students does make a difference in whether they experience dating violence. When teens are aware of signs for concern they are more likely to recognize what a healthy dating relationship looks like. A 7th grader from the New Castle Area School District stated, “Respect is important in relationships because you want to feel safe around that person. They shouldn't be bullying you, making you feel bad, or pressuring you into things you don't want to do.” Adagio Health is hopeful that this program will increase awareness about healthy relationships and provide resources for teens to get help when they need it.