Awareness and Prevention Week Passes Senate

December 20, 2007

National leaders are stepping up to help address teen dating violence. This week the US Senate unanimously passed a resolution making February 4-8, 2008, “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.” Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a long time advocate of dating violence prevention, authored the bill.

Senator Crapo called dating violence “a cruel reality for many American teens” and went on to declare, “We must teach our children what it means to have healthy relationships… This annual effort helps communities across the nation raise awareness… and promotes prevention of this violence.”

This year will mark the third annual Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week. In honor of the week, Break the Cycle has held conferences, increased our educational efforts, launched new programs and spoke out on the issue. This year, we hope to continue in that tradition. Look out for new publications, increased activity and more ways to get involved.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week is a great time to organize your own awareness-raising event. Break the Cycle is proud to offer all the tips and tools you need to get started. You can host a party or speak out on the issue. Make a resolution this year to join the movement against domestic violence.

Youth Facilitating Dating Violence 101

November 30, 2007

Break the Cycle has sold over 600 variations of our curriculum and video in at least 44 states. Each person who purchases Dating Violence 101 grows his or her commitment to educating youth about dating violence. Now these leaders can involve youth in their efforts by downloading It’s Their Issue, a step-by-step guide to finding, preparing and conducting a youth-led project using Break the Cycle’s curriculum.

Dating Violence 101: Educating Youth about Dating Violence and Healthy Relationships is an innovative dating violence prevention tool developed by Break the Cycle for teachers, community members, and social service providers to educate teens about dating and domestic violence.

It’s Their Issue walks the adult presenter through preparing youth to present Dating Violence 101. Having youth present the material benefits both the teen facilitators and the audience:

  • The youth facilitators gain public speaking and leadership experience.
  • Teens often feel more comfortable talking to their peers than to adults about relationships. If youth present the curriculum, the audience may be more honest, engaged and open-minded.
  • All the youth learn that they can make a difference by taking action on social issues such as teen dating violence.
  • Teen facilitators bring knowledge about their peers and their local community that enriches the written Dating Violence 101 curriculum.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

November 16, 2007

In 2001, October became Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Now an enormous amount of activities takes place each October to help victims of domestic violence. This year, Break the Cycle was once again in the thick of things having one of our busiest Octobers ever.

This October, one staff member alone provided a three-hour training course for domestic violence service providers, gave a two-hour training course for parents, and spoke in front of 650 youth about dating violence at 3 different high schools – all while operating out of Wheeling, West Virginia! A public housing facility in Maryland last month also reached out to us during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To address the growing number of dating violence incidents at their facility, we ran a series of preventative classes.

In Los Angeles, we hosted our 3rd annual Savor the Season on October 7th. With over 300 guests in attendance, Savor the Season was a great triumph for everyone involved. Not only did Savor the Season raise substantial funds, but it also educated people in attendance about teen dating violence.

October also marked the completion of our new toolkit, “It’s Their Issue: A simple and straightforward guide to turning youth into facilitators of Dating Violence 101.” This comprehensive toolkit helps adults locate and develop youth leadership at their schools and organizations. Their efforts culminate with the teens facilitating our award-winning curriculum, Dating Violence 101.

Break the Cycle enjoyed a productive October. With national attention on domestic violence, we could reach more teens, raise more funds and foster stronger leadership than is normally feasible. Help us make every month as fruitful as October. Join us in our mission to engage, educate and empower youth to end domestic violence.

Thanks for Making Savor the Season a Success

October 15, 2007

Break the Cycle would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s Savor the Season and those involved with making this year’s event a remarkable success! Over 15 restaurants offered beautiful and delectable food to more than 300 wonderful guests at Savor the Season 2007.

See the photos! When you purchase prints, a portion of the proceeds benefit Break the Cycle.

Many thanks to the Savor the Season Host Committee that helped generate buzz in the community and make a great event even better.

Thanks to Chuck Craig, this year’s Food & Beverage Chair, Slife PR and CRPR Media for helping secure a great catalogue of restaurants, chefs and Tasting Garden participants.

Break the Cycle thanks the participating chefs, restaurants and vendors that participated in this year’s event for providing dazzling food, beverages and tasting experiences.

A special thank you to Barbara Jacobs Events. Barbara and her dedicated team ran the event beautifully and ensured that everyone had a great night. Break the Cycle also thanks the team from Catering by Field for their second year of professional service and excellent food.

Thanks to our volunteers who went above and beyond expectations by tackling any project directed towards them.

Finally, we are pleased to thank our sponsors, donors and guests. We cannot thank you enough for your generous contributions and support towards our fight against domestic and dating violence.

We hope you enjoyed this fantastic evening. See you at Savor the Season 2008!

Youth Activism & Technology

September 17, 2007

Fall is an exciting time at Break the Cycle; we are busy helping youth activists complete their summer projects and begin new projects for the school year. This year our youth activists raised the bar of innovation by using technology to raise awareness of teen dating violence.

This summer, we were pleased to work with Chris Ballard, a high school student at Harvard Westlake. Chris not only raised nearly $2000 for Break the Cycle, he is launching his own website about teen dating violence in a matter of weeks. Break the Cycle staff provided guidance, but Chris envisioned and completed his own project. By combining his technical knowledge with a commitment to providing useful information to his peers, Chris became an inspiration to other youth looking to take a stand against teen dating violence.

Now that summer vacation is over, the peer helpers at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies are ready to get back to work. Last year they created a campaign, Unmask the Truth, to spread awareness about teen dating violence. Armed with posters, glossy post cards, buttons and stickers, the students are now completing the technology component of their campaign. Unmask the Truth is scheduled to launch before the New Year.

Break the Cycle engaged another talented group of young people, our interns, to use technology to meet our mission. Our summer interns have almost all left us, but a new crop is swelling their ranks. Like their predecessors, they are busy creating web content and tools. Look for the new, youth-generated features on and The Safe Space.

Break the Cycle Finalizes Strategic Plan

August 31, 2007

We are pleased to announce that Break the Cycle has launched a three-year strategic plan. The plan affirms that Break the Cycle’s most vibrant, important and sustainable future lies in building our role as a national advocacy organization. From that vision, three goals arose:

  • Educating teens and young adults about domestic and dating violence,
  • Encouraging youth activism, and
  • Advocating for systemic change to increase and protect the rights of young people.

Break the Cycle employed the services of Executive Service Corps of Southern California consultant Harold Bock to help with the plan’s design and development. With more than 35 years management experience, Harold brought invaluable skills and knowledge to Break the Cycle’s strategic planning process.

In February, the planning launched with a staff and board retreat in Los Angeles. Patience and dedication to the long-term vision helped guide the discussions and six months later, we are proud to announce we have an exciting and dynamic strategic plan! We know the real work is just beginning. The board and staff are committed to using the strategic plan as a tool to guide future decision-making and measure operational and programmatic successes. We look forward to the work ahead.

If you would like to know more about the strategic plan or the process we used to create it, contact Break the Cycle’s Executive Director Jessica Aronoff at

Thank You Summer Interns

August 1, 2007

Beginning in May through the end of August, Break the Cycle’s offices are filled to capacity with remarkable summer interns. Individually, they are dynamic, thoughtful and smart. As a group, they bring a renewed energy to our work and remind us why we must continue to work to protect the rights and promote the health of young people nationwide.

This summer, Break the Cycle had 22 interns–13 in Washington, DC and 9 in Los Angeles. Among them, 19 were female and 3 are male. They were high school, college, graduate and law students who hail from more than 15 different schools including Tufts, UCLA, Georgetown, Pepperdine, University of Pennsylvania, University of Connecticut and Stanford. Combined, they speak more than ten languages including Russian, Teluga, Mandarin, Farsi, French, Hindi, Tamil and Portuguese.

Throughout the summer, our interns managed projects large and small and their efforts literally double the volume of work we were able to accomplish. They helped us educate youth, train peer leaders, provide advice and advocacy to young victims of violence, conduct research, create new resources for The Safe Space, write grants, solicit donations . . . you name it, they helped make it happen.

In return, Break the Cycle staff provided the interns with real-world work experience, professional development and training and hopefully an all-around rewarding summer. The summer intern program is a win-win. Thank you summer interns!

Verizon Wireless Supports Latino Public Education Campaign

July 6, 2007

Verizon Wireless West Area Hopeline supports Break the Cycle’s work to prevent domestic violence in Los Angeles.

We are pleased to recognize the Verizon Wireless West Area Hopeline for their continued support of Break the Cycle’s life-saving work with young people in Los Angeles.

Verizon Wireless is committed to raising public awareness of domestic violence – they generously awarded Break the Cycle $17,000 to conduct a public awareness campaign that will educate and motivate Latino teens and young adults to better understand the available domestic violence resources in our community.

As you may know, teens experience abuse at higher rates than any other age group. Domestic violence has reached epidemic proportion in Los Angeles, where, according to a survey of Los Angeles high school students, almost half of respondents—46% of girls and 43% of boys—reported having experienced some form of physical aggression at the hands of a dating partner.1 Nearly 60% of the under-18 population in Los Angeles County is Latino.2

Funding from Verizon Wireless will support Break the Cycle’s broad-based outreach and education campaign for the prevention of domestic violence among Latino youth. The campaign will promote available resources, encourage youth to take action, and provide preventative education.

We truly appreciate the continued support of Verizon Wireless and look forward to continuing our rewarding relationship, particularly as Break the Cycle meets the increasing need for domestic violence services among teens in Los Angeles.

  1. O’Keefe M. & Treister, L. 1998. “Victims of dating violence among high school students.” Violence Against Women, 4, 193-228.
  2. Census 2000

Staying Safe Online

June 22, 2007

The ever-growing popularity of online communities like MySpace and Facebook are raising concerns and eyebrows of parents everywhere, like a California couple whose teenage daughter developed a relationship online with a much older man.

When Kristen’s mother discovered that she had been talking romantically with a man on MySpace, she confiscated her computer and denied her internet privileges, hoping their relationship would end. However, Kristen continued to speak with him using computers outside of her home.

The romance escalated to secret meetings for sex before it finally ended. The broken-hearted teen slipped into depression. Drawing further away from friends and family, Kristen committed suicide.1

New studies have linked teen suicide with dating violence.2 The danger is real. With so many youth communicating in ways their parents never did, it is difficult for parents to moderate, let alone intervene in, their teens’ online interactions. Below are some tips to help you communicate with your hi-tech teen:

  • Talk to your teen about what type of information they are sharing online. Ask them to make their profile “private” so only approved people can see it.
  • Remember that most communication on sites like MySpace and Facebook is perfectly harmless. In fact, teens can learn important information about building healthy relationships online. Try not to demonize these sites so your teen will feel comfortable talking to you about what is happening online.
  • Ask what your teen would do if communication between online friends became uncomfortable. Encourage them to report inappropriate behavior to the website or a trusted adult.
  • Talk to your teens about how much communication is too much. Even with all these modes of communication at their fingertips, they should not feel like their partner is watching their every move or constantly checking in on them.

If you suspect your teen is involved in an unhealthy relationship online, talk to them about it. One of the best ways to maintain awareness about your teenagers’ activities is by keeping the lines of communication open. You can also visit and encourage your teen to visit The Safe Space for more information.

  1. Hanley, Christine. “I Had No Idea the Worst was yet to Come.” Los Angeles Times 18 Jun 2007 21 Jun 2007
  2. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161:539-545. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Savor the Season with Break the Cycle this Fall!

June 8, 2007

Break the Cycle is excited to announce our 3rd annual Savor the Season extravaganza. The festivities will take place Sunday, October 7th at the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. Featuring the city’s best chefs and wonderful wineries, Savor the Season will highlight Break the Cycle’s work over the past year, celebrate more than 10 years of service, and share our achievements against domestic and dating violence.

On that fall evening, no plate will be empty and every glass will be full! Those attending the fundraiser will be entertained with a silent auction of luxury items, innovative food experiences, and the beauty of the Annenberg building all while supporting our efforts to engage, educate, and empower youth. Food will range from the simply sophisticated to what could only be created by culinary artists. With over 700 vendors, donors, chefs, and wineries asked to participate, everyone is sure to have something to savor this season.

Throughout the summer, Break the Cycle’s staff will continue to confirm participants, facilitate support committees, and publicize the event to ensure that the 3rd annual Savor the Season is the best one yet! Check the website for updates on this fall’s event.

Northrop Grumman Supports Preventative Education

May 25, 2007

Northrop Grumman supports Break the Cycle’s work to teach teens that they have a right to safe and healthy relationships.

We are pleased to recognize Northrop Grumman Corporation for their continued support of Break the Cycle’s life-saving work with young people in Los Angeles.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is committed to strengthening youth to meet tomorrow’s challenges. In support of this commitment, Northrop Grumman generously awarded Break the Cycle $10,000 to aid our effort to engage, educate and empower youth to build healthy relationships and homes.

As you may know, teens experience abuse at higher rates than any other age group. Domestic violence has reached epidemic proportion in Los Angeles, where 70% of all calls for police are domestic violence related.1 According to a survey of Los Angeles high school students, almost half of respondents—46% of girls and 43% of boys—reported having experienced some form of physical aggression at the hands of a dating partner.2

Funding from Northrop Grumman Corporation will provide general operating support over a one-year period, and will help Break the Cycle to continue and expand our proactive, law-based work with youth to prevent domestic and dating violence in Los Angeles and beyond.

We truly appreciate the support of Northrop Grumman Corporation and look forward to continuing our rewarding relationship, particularly as Break the Cycle grows to meet the increasing need for domestic violence services among teens in Los Angeles.

  1. Cunningham, III, David S., Los Angeles Police Commission President. 2004. Status of Domestic Violence in Los Angeles Report. Los Angeles, CA.
  2. O’Keefe M. & Treister, L. 1998. Victims of dating violence among high school students. Violence Against Women, 4, 193-228.

Tips and Tools for Parents

May 4, 2007

Family Circle magazine’s June 2007 edition courageously tackles the difficult issue of what a parent can do to help a child experiencing dating violence.

Contributing writer Richard Laliberte interviewed experts for the article including Break the Cycle’s director of national programs, Liza Lorenz who offered this advice: “Parents need to talk to young teens about what a healthy relationship is, what an abusive relationship is and how to tell the difference.”

Break the Cycle also suggests concerned parents should:

  • Tell your teen that you are concerned for his or her safety
  • Be supportive and understanding
  • Help develop a safety plan
  • Remember that ultimately your teen must be the one to make the choice to leave the relationship

To learn more about what you can do as a parent, download What Parents Need to Know.

To read the Family Circle article, check out their June 2007 issue on newsstands now.

April 25, 2007

During the month of April, Lifetime Television and Take5 on XM 155, a women’s talk and lifestyle channel, are partnering to stop violence against women.

This year, Lifetime’s campaign features a new Lifetime original movie, A Life Interrupted, the story of rape-survivor Debbie Smith, who helped change the law to better protect fellow victims. The movie re-airs Saturday, April 28 at 9PM Eastern.

In conjunction with Lifetime’s campaign, Take5 on XM Satellite Radio produced a month-long series featuring interviews and voices of women standing up against violence. Break the Cycle is thrilled we were invited to share our voice for the project. Supervising Attorney, Brandy Davis, is one of the women speaking out on XM 155. The radio spots are airing throughout April. Along with the radio coverage, Break the Cycle’s resources and The Safe Space were featured on Lifetime’s campaign website.

Lifetime’s ongoing campaign to stop violence against women has been recognized for its success with the Golden Beacon Award and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences “Governor’s Award.”

Want to learn more? Visit Lifetime’s End Violence Against Women site or XM Radio.

Latest News: Cries for Help Often Go Unanswered

April 17, 2007

Recent headlines about 22 year-old domestic violence victim, Clara Lee Riddles, (read full story on have sparked a call for action against abusive relationships.

According to accounts from close friends, Clara repeatedly told them she was being stalked and abused by her ex-boyfriend. In 2005, a TRU report indicated that 78% of young women experiencing violence in a relationship reach out to their friends first. Break the Cycle educates young people and those closest to them so they are better equipped to help a friend or family member in need.

Last year, in addition to the tens of thousands of youth who benefited from our prevention programs, Break the Cycle trained more than 2,000 first-responders—parents, teachers, social workers, doctors and other adults who interact closely with youth—to recognize certain behaviors as warning signs that a young person is in an abusive relationship. We aim to ensure that adults are able to respond sensitively and confidently to the unique needs of teens experiencing abuse.

If you are concerned about a young person you know, Break the Cycle’s The Safe Space provides information and tips. Here are a few:

  • Do not be afraid to tell them that you are concerned for their safety and want to help.
  • Acknowledge and validate their feelings about their relationship.
  • Help them recognize that the abuse is not “normal” and it is not their fault.
  • Reassure them that everyone deserves a healthy, non-violent relationship.
  • Be supportive and listen patiently.
  • Be respectful of their decisions.

For more information, visit The Safe Space, download this helpful handout, or contact Break the Cycle.

Donor Spotlight: The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

April 2, 2007

Sharing in a commitment to improve the quality of life for residents of the Washington, D.C. area, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation generously awarded $10,000 of general operating support to continue Break the Cycle’s critical work to prevent domestic and dating violence in the District of Columbia.

As you may know, teens experience abuse at higher rates than any other age group. One in three teens knows a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by dating partners.1 According to Centers for Disease Control, Washington, D.C. has one of the highest rates of teen dating violence in the country.2 In 2005, the Metropolitan Police Department received over 27,000 domestic violence-related crime calls (one every 19 minutes) an increase of 22% over the past three years.3 DC Superior Court heard over 8,000 domestic violence cases, an increase of 3.7% over the previous year.4

The one-year award from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation will help Break the Cycle connect hundreds of DC teens and teen service providers with important information and tools to build safe, healthy relationships and homes. Funding will be used to increase accessibility to Break the Cycle’s life-saving prevention and early-intervention services, and strengthen our efforts to further promote the health and protect the rights of young people around issues of domestic and dating violence.

We truly appreciate the continued support of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation and look forward to a rewarding year as Break the Cycle continues to grow to meet the need for domestic violence services among teens in the District of Columbia.

  1. Teen Research Unlimited, February 2005
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-United States, 2003,” 53 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, SS-2 (May 21, 2004) at 40, available at: The CDC study does not attempt to explain the prevalence of the targeted risk behaviors in the jurisdiction surveyed.
  3. Metropolitan Police Department, 2004-2006.
  4. DC Superior Court Annual Reports 2004-2006; District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, 2006

“Act Now. Choose Respect.” Teen Conference

March 30 & 31, 2007

Break the Cycle, The DC Rape Crisis Center, My Sister’s Place and Women Empowered Against Violence present the 4th Annual City-Wide Teen Dating Violence Conference, “Act Now. Choose Respect” in Washington, DC.

The mission of the conference is to inform teens about dating violence and provide resources so that teens could make more empowered decisions about their relationships.

Adults will attend intense training seminars on supporting teens from diverse backgrounds, and learn effective tools to apply in their own work with teens experiencing abuse. Service providers, community members, parents, guardians, and teachers are encouraged to attend.

The conference is a half-day for adults on March 30th, 2007, and a full-day for teens on March 31st, 2007. The conference will be held at the Equality Center at the Human Rights Campaign Building at 1640 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Washington, DC.

There is an amazing line of speakers and workshops for both days with interactive activities, educational workshops and food!

Registration is free for adults, and teens that register and attend have the opportunity to receive a $25 stipend!

Please contact Shiwali Patel at 202.232.0789 Ext. 6007 or via e-mail at for registration forms and/or questions.

Break the Cycle Launches New Website

January 22, 2007

Thanks to generous funding from the Avon Foundation and Verizon Wireless HopeLine, Break the Cycle proudly launches a new website—seamlessly integrating technology with its mission to end domestic and dating violence.

Responding to the trends of teens and young adults, Break the Cycle engaged the talented multi-media services of The Cannery, an interactive agency with a strong reputation for combining online and offline media.

The new site streamlines information about Break the Cycle and provides interactive prevention and intervention tools through our innovative online community for teens and young adults, The Safe Space.

Phase one of The Safe Space project launched in January, just in time for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week. Phase two is slated to launch mid-year 2007.