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Dating Matters® Initiative

What is Dating Matters®?

Dating Matters®: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's teen dating violence prevention initiative. CDC developed Dating Matters®, a comprehensive teen dating violence prevention initiative based on the current evidence about what works in prevention. Dating Matters® focuses on 11– to 14–year–olds in high-risk, urban communities. It includes preventive strategies for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods.

Watch a 3 minute video that describes the Dating Matters® Initiative.

Why was Dating Matters® created?

Recently, efforts to prevent teen dating violence have grown, particularly in schools and among policymakers and sexual violence and domestic violence prevention groups. Now many states and communities also are working to stop teen dating violence. However, these activities vary greatly in quality and effectiveness.

What is Dating Matters® based on?

The CDC based Dating Matters®: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships is on three important facts:

  1. Dating violence has important negative effects on the mental and physical health of youth, as well as on their school performance.
  2. Violence in an adolescent relationship sets the stage for problems in future relationships, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence perpetration and/or victimization throughout life. Therefore, early intervention is needed to stop violence in youth relationships before it begins and keep it from continuing into adult relationships.
  3. Although evidence suggests dating violence is a significant problem in economically disadvantaged urban communities, where often times due to environmental factors an accumulation of risk factors for violence exists, there have been few attempts to adapt the developing evidence base for prevention of dating violence within these communities.

Where does CDC fund implementation of Dating Matters®?

From 2011 to 2016, Dating Matters® will be implemented in middle schools and neighborhoods in four urban areas:

To learn more about the Dating Matters® communities, view their grantee profile.

Grantee Profiles

Baltimore

Baltimore has a long history of addressing violence among Baltimore's young people through innovative public health programming and policy initiatives, such as Safe Streets. These successful initiatives build on community mobilization, outreach, public education, faith-based leader involvement, and criminal justice participation, which will set the stage for preventing teen dating violence in Dating Matters®. Through Dating Matters® Baltimore City Health Department will work with approximately 12 middle schools.

For more information about Dating Matters® in Baltimore City contact Byron A. Pugh at byron.pugh@baltimorecity.gov.

Chicago

Chicago has established a unique network of partners dedicated to the health, safety, and well-being of youth that will work together to implement Dating Matters®. Chicago’s experience in youth violence prevention, through the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, and adolescent health, through the Illinois Caucus on Adolescent Health make them ideally suited to lead Dating Matters® in their community. The city has demonstrated a strong commitment to violence prevention, including teen dating violence, via an integrated public health and public safety partnership that includes strong collaborations between the Chicago Public Health Department and Chicago Public Schools. Chicago will work with approximately 12 middle schools for Dating Matters®.

For more information about Dating Matters® in Chicago contact Erica Davis at Erica.Davis@cityofchicago.org.

Ft. Lauderdale (Broward County)

The Broward County Health Department and Broward County Public Schools have an extensive history partnering on school-based and community-wide adolescent health and violence prevention programs, ranging from bullying prevention to sexually transmitted disease prevention. In particular, Broward County engaged parents, youth, and community leaders in the Youth Anti-Violence Coalition. These diverse partnerships and experience in multiple areas of youth health and safety make Broward County poised to lead dating violence prevention in their communities through Dating Matters®. Broward County will implement prevention programs in approximately 12 middle schools through Dating Matters®.

For more information about Dating Matters® in Broward County contact Lenny Mujica at Lenny_Mujica@doh.state.fl.us.

Oakland (Alameda County)

For over 50 years, the Alameda County Public Health Department has worked to improve the health and safety of County residents and the neighborhoods in which they live. Since 2007, they have been a core member of the Alameda County Teen Dating Violence Task Force, a group of government agencies, community-based organizations (CBOs) and community members, that work together to produce institutional change within schools and school districts. Alameda County Public Health Department will continue to be a leader in teen dating violence prevention through Dating Matters®, and will work to implement prevention programs in approximately 9 middle schools in Oakland.

For more information about Dating Matters® in Alameda County contact Caroline Miller at Caroline.Miller@acgov.org

Want to learn more about Dating Matters®?

In need of teen dating violence prevention training?

Dating Matters®: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention is a free 60-minute, interactive training designed to help educators, youth-serving organizations, and others working with teens understand the risk factors and warning signs associated with teen dating violence.

Dating Matters® takes place in a virtual school setting, complete with navigation through school hallways and classrooms. A teacher's whiteboard presents information in a user-friendly way and provide navigation, help, and interactive resources for use throughout the course.

Do you still have questions?

Please contact DatingMatters@cdc.gov

  • Page last reviewed: July 21, 2014
  • Page last updated: July 21, 2014
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