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Dating Matters® Initiative

Dating Matters®: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new teen dating violence prevention initiative based 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.

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.

To address the gaps, CDC has 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. Over the next five years, 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.

Additional Resources

  • Dating Matters®: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Preventionis a 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.

    Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in partnership with Liz Claiborne Inc., Dating Matters® also will highlight the importance of promoting healthy relationships.

    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.

For questions, please contact DatingMatters@cdc.gov

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