Teenage dating violence and school laws

Shelters’ engagement in community awareness campaigns predicted their TDV prevention efforts in schools.

Shelters’ advocacy efforts, shelter size, and state law requiring TDV programming in the schools did not predict shelters’ TDV prevention efforts in schools.

Shelters operate within the policies of their states as they seek to work with schools.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (2014), 13 states (Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington) mandate dating violence prevention programming in the schools.

The decision for shelters to work within schools must have more benefits to the shelters compared with their other options, or else it would make little sense and directors would seek other venues. Because shelters are not self-sufficient, they seek resources to support their mission and goals and must be open to other entities in their environment to acquire the resources to stay open.

We believe that shelter directors seek to work within schools because it helps acquire resources (primarily legitimacy, which can be parlayed into financial resources), promotes organizational stability, and helps advance their mission of ending domestic violence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016) defined as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking.

TDV can occur in person or electronically and is frequently measured using the revised Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, Hamby, Boney-Mc Coy, & Sugarman, 1996).

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Although some students who have not begun dating may see the materials as not relevant, findings from TDV prevention programming in schools have indicated high satisfaction among both girls and boys (Elias-Lambert, Black, & Sharma, 2010).A national survey was sent to domestic violence shelters asking them to provide information on their TDV prevention efforts in schools.Seventy-seven percent of agencies indicated that they provide TDV programming within schools.Shelters working with schools must handle an overlay of political sensitivity so that elected school board members are not offended and do not receive outraged communications from parents.School-based practitioners can play an important role in gaining support for prevention programming from those parents who might assume that their children are too young or not yet dating.

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