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Abuse in teen dating relationships is pervasive: Studies reveal that as many as one-third of all teens experience physical violence in a dating relationship. Emotional abuse, sexual abuse, stalking and date rape often accompany physical violence. Since domestic violence is learned behavior, it is no surprise that children are learning patterns of abuse from their parents, peer groups and society at large. Boys are learning to act out aggressions through violence and control. Girls are being led to believe that violence is unavoidable in intimate relationships and something over which they have little control. Although the prevalence of teen dating violence is increasing, there is hope. Violence can be unlearned.

To prevent and change the learned behaviors of domestic violence, Break the Cycle provides education through its law-based presentations to young people, their families, teachers and service providers.

Ending Violence: A Curriculum for Educating Teens on Domestic Violence and the Law

Law-related education programs have been recognized as effective tools against escalating crime and violence. Accordingly, Break the Cycle developed an innovative law-based domestic violence curriculum, Ending Violence: A Curriculum for Educating Teens on Domestic Violence and the Law. Ending Violence is the first curriculum of its kind - one that teaches youth that, with regard to domestic violence, they have both rights and responsibilities under the law.

Ending Violence is a three-day interactive program, which uses visual aids, games and role-play to educate and engage students. Ending Violence is presented in 9th grade classes--usually through health or life skills classes--throughout Los Angeles County. Through Ending Violence, young people learn about:

  • the types of abuse associated with domestic violence;
  • the cycle of violence and how to identify warning signs of abuse;
  • obstacles many victims face in leaving abusive relationships;
  • legal options available to victims of abuse;
  • crimes commonly associated with domestic violence and their consequences;
  • what restraining orders are and what they can and cannot do;
  • the court process for obtaining a restraining order; and
  • how to create a safety plan.

Break the Cycle offers several other presentations to a diverse population of young people in middle schools, high schools, community groups and juvenile detention facilities throughout Los Angeles County, including "Dating and Domestic Violence 101" and "Dating and Domestic Violence and the Law."

Community Outreach

In addition to these presentations for youth, Break the Cycle conducts outreach and provides trainings to teachers, school counselors and officials, law enforcement personnel, parents and social service providers to educate them about the impact of dating and domestic violence on youth and the law in this area.

Accomplishments and Impact

  • Over 14,000 teens have been educated about domestic violence and their legal rights and responsibilities since 1997.
  • Nearly 1,000 parents, teachers, school administrators and service providers yearly learn to identify and address domestic violence in the youth community.
  • Over 75 schools, youth groups and juvenile facilities have received Break the Cycle's education program.

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