What Is Break the Cycle?

Break the Cycle is the leading, national nonprofit organization working exclusively on teen dating violence. We believe everyone, regardless of age, has the right to safe and healthy relationships. In addition to providing violence prevention education, Break the Cycle works on laws and policies to help ensure that all young people have access to the tools they need to prevent, diagnose and escape unhealthy relationships.

How Did Break the Cycle Begin?

Break the Cycle was founded in Los Angeles in 1996. At the time, there were a lot of services for children who were being abused by adults and for adults in peer-to-peer abusive relationships. However, no one was targeting young people who were experiencing abuse as they were starting their first relationships.

Break the Cycle began to fill that gap with teen-specific violence prevention education and legal services. In 2004, we expanded nationally in response to the huge need for our programs. We now have two offices, one in Los Angeles and the other in Washington, DC. We continue to expand our comprehensive services, working to ensure that all young people have the resources they need to avoid abuse and build healthy relationships.

Since 1996, many people and organizations have recognized dating violence for the serious problem it is. Break the Cycle is thrilled to work with a diverse coalition including the federal government, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Mary Kay Inc., the Girl Scouts and schools across the nation. Together with a growing corps of concerned citizens, we are making a real difference in preventing abuse.

What Is Break the Cycle’s Mission?

Break the Cycle’s mission is to engage, educate and empower youth to build lives and communities free from domestic and dating violence.

How Does Break the Cycle Help Victims of Abuse?

In addition to helping teens recognize what is healthy and unhealthy in relationships, Break the Cycle partners with the National Dating Abuse Helpline to provide loveisrespect.org, the ultimate healthy relationship resource online.

In our DC office, we provide direct legal services to young victims, helping them navigate the justice system and find safety.

Finally, Break the Cycle advocates for changes in laws and systems to better protect the rights and promote the health of teens.

Learn more about how we help.

How Many Youth Has Break the Cycle Reached?

Through distributing our resources nationwide, Break the Cycle has helped more than one million teens build healthy relationships and avoid abuse.

Does Break the Cycle Have Local Chapters?

Break the Cycle has two offices, one in Los Angeles and the other in Washington, DC. We do not have local chapters. Instead, we create programs that defy geographic bounds. Our [Ending Violence] curriculum allows anyone to conduct Break the Cycle’s proven-effective workshops. We train adults to ensure that teens and those who care about them have access to the help they need. We also partner with organizations nationwide to ensure their constituents benefit from our long-standing expertise.

About Dating Violence

What Is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. Learn more.

Is Dating Violence a Real Problem?

Sadly, yes. One in three teens in the US experiences some form of dating violence. The long term effects of this abuse are quite alarming: teen victims exhibit higher rates of depression, dropping out of school, substance abuse, eating disorders, dangerous sexual behaviors, teen pregnancy and suicide. Two thirds of victims never tell anyone about their experience, creating a silent epidemic.

I’m Experiencing Abuse. What Should I Do?

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 right away. To find information about safety planning and chat with a peer advocate, visit loveisrespect.org, the ultimate healthy relationship resource online. Learn more about loveisrespect.org and other available resources.

Get Involved

I’m a Teen. What Can I Do to Make a Difference?

Participate in Speak.Act.Change, Break the Cycle’s challenge to youth nationwide to prevent domestic and dating violence. You’ll organize projects like letter-writing campaigns and community walks.

I’m an Adult. How Can I Help Prevent Dating Abuse?

Join Break the Cycle’s HOPE. With an annual membership fee of just $10, you’ll instantly become part of a national volunteer corps dedicated to stopping abuse. With support from Break the Cycle, members:

  • Raise awareness about the dangers of dating abuse.
  • Call on elected officials and media to address dating violence responsibly.
  • Introduce schools to [Ending Violence], Break the Cycle’s innovative classroom prevention program.
  • Involve friends, family and community members in the movement to end abuse by hosting awareness-building, friend-raising events.

How Can I Get Break the Cycle’s Programs Into My Community?

Break the Cycle offers a variety of products for local schools and community groups to take action against abuse. Check out our resources including the abuse-prevention curriculum [Ending Violence], the Speak.Act.Change Youth Activism Kit and the Building Safe Schools Manual, which provides educators with the best practices for handling abuse on campus. You can also request training for your organization’s staff.


How Is Break the Cycle Funded?

Break the Cycle receives funding from a variety of sources including foundations, local and federal government, individuals, corporations, events and more. See our financials for additional information.

If I Donate, How Will my Donation Be Spent?

Your support is vital to Break the Cycle’s work to prevent dating abuse. All donations directly benefit the operation and implementation of our programs. When you make a donation to Break the Cycle, you have the option to specify an office or a particular program you want your money to benefit. For more information on how Break the Cycle allocates funds, see our financials.

How Can I Get a Donation Receipt for Tax Purposes?

Break the Cycle will you send you a thank you letter within two weeks of your donation via ma
il or online. This letter can serve for your tax purposes. If you need to request another copy, contact us at development@breakthecycle.org or 310.424.2803.


I Am a Member of the Press and Would Like to Speak to Someone at Break the Cycle. Who Do I Contact?

Break the Cycle is happy to work with the media to raise awareness about abuse and the work we do to prevent it. To get started, please visit our media section. For more information or to schedule an interview with a dating violence survivor or expert, please contact Senior Coordinator of Communications Cristina Escobar at 310.424.2803 or media@breakthecycle.org.

Where Can I Find the Latest Press on Break the Cycle?

Break the Cycle is proud to be regularly featured in the media. Find recent pieces online in our media section.

Where Can I find More Information on Dating Violence and How It Affects Teens?

Stay up-to-date on news and resources around the issue of dating violence at our blog.