Our Dating Matters Plan
- Our work and study in the area of domestic violence teaches that dating violence and domestic violence are indistinguishable and that consequences are severe and very often long lasting.
- We want to help change the way things are. It is imperative that children learn the dynamics of healthy and unhealthy relationships. The Dating Matters curriculum can help us do so. Dating Matters is evidence based. Dating Matters is effective in changing behavior and thereby helps reduce and prevent teen dating violence.
- ACDVO began a 4-year pilot of the Dating Matters Curriculum with one school in October 2020. Four additional schools will join the pilot for the 2021-2022 school year.
- With our pilot initiative, we will begin work to establish Dating Matters as an integral and required element of the academic curriculum in Catholic, private and public schools in Illinois.
Healthy Dating Relationships Curriculum - Dating Matters
- Dating Matters – Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships – is a comprehensive teen dating violence prevention model developed by the CDC to stop teen dating violence before it starts. Dating Matters is an evidence-based teen dating violence prevention model that includes prevention strategies for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods. It focuses on teaching 11-14-year-olds healthy relationship skills before they start dating and reducing behaviors that increase the risk for dating violence, like substance abuse and sexual risk-taking. (Link)
- Dating Matters – Understanding Teen Dating Violence Training Prevention for Educators – is a free, online course developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and available to educators, school personnel, youth mentors, and others dedicated to improving teen health. Follow a school administrator throughout his day as he highlights what teen dating violence is and how to prevent it through graphic novel scenarios, interactive exercises, and information gathered from leading experts. Continuing Education Units .2 CEUs. (Link)
- Dating Matters is Effective, Evidence Based Dating Matters was validated and shows even stronger results than Safe Dates.
During middle school, students who participated in Dating Matters, compared to those who participated in another evidence-based prevention program, reported the following results:
- All groups had lower teen dating violence perpetration scores at most follow-up time points across all groups (with relative risk reduction averaging 8%). All groups had lower teen dating violence victimization scores at all follow up time points across all groups (with relative risk reduction averaging 10%).
- Most groups had lower use of negative conflict resolution strategies (like exploding during arguments or getting out of control) at most follow-up time points across most groups (relative risk reduction averaging 6%).
- All students (those exposed to Dating Matters and the other program) had similar use of positive relationship skills (like being honest and working out differences) across time.
- Reference: Random Control Trials (RCT) of Dating Matters: Effects on Teen Dating Violence and Relationship Behaviors. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, July (PDF)
- Safe Dates – Evidence Based
- Safe Dates is a research-based program with strong, long-term outcomes. It has been identified as a model program in the National registry of evidence-based Programs and Practices (NrePP) as well as many other federal- and foundation-funded publications.
- Safe Dates was the subject of substantial formative research in fourteen public schools in North Carolina using a rigorous experimental design. The program was found to be effective in both preventing dating abuse perpetration and victimization and in reducing perpetration and victimization among teens already involved in dating abuse. Adolescents participating in the program, as compared with those who did not, also reported less acceptance of dating abuse, less of a tendency to gender stereotype, and a greater awareness of community services for dating abuse.
- Researchers studied the same group of students four years after implementation and found that students who participated in the Safe Dates program reported 56 percent to 92 percent less physical, serious physical, and sexual dating violence victimization and perpetration than teens who didn’t participate in Safe Dates. The program has been found to be equally effective for males and females and for minority and non-minority adolescents.
Assessing the Long-Term Effects of the Safe Dates Program and a Booster in Preventing and Reducing Adolescent Dating Violence Victimization and Perpetration. American Journal of Public Health, Foshee, V. et al., 2004 (PDF)
To truly appreciate the significance of the validation of the Dating Matters Curriculum, it is important to differentiate between typical pedagogical measurements and health assessments as used for Dating Matters and Safe Dates.
Very often in school settings the learning and retention of knowledge are the key measurements. The CDC’s validation of Dating Matters utilized health assessment surveys which measured changes in behavior.
Dating Matters and Safe Dates are effective in changing behavior.
Dating Matters is designed to the promote growth of healthy relationships and discourage engagement in unhealthy and unsafe relationships. Instruction begins in the 6th grade before most children form what we often understand to be dating relationships. But it is very likely they will form typical dating relationships as time goes by. When instruction is delayed until high school and beyond, it is often much more difficult for children to set aside their feelings and to clearly assess the healthy or unhealthy nature of their relationships.
Early instruction is key to recognizing and developing healthy relationships and avoiding unhealthy relationships
The Way Things are Today
- Teen Dating Violence and Domestic Violence are forms of Intimate Partner Violence, and both may be part of the same continuum. They are often differentiated when addressing particular audiences.
- A survey of U.S. high school students suggests that 1 in 5 female students and 1 in 10 male students who date have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual teen dating violence during the past 12 months.1
- Among adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.1
- Consequences for Victims1
- Increased absenteeism
- Problems in non-dating relationships
- Decline in well-being
- Failure to participate in school activities
- Poor academic performance
- Thoughts of suicide
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Drug, alcohol, and tobacco use
- Delinquent behavior
- Experiencing violence in subsequent relationships
- Consequences for Abusers
- Loss of friend’s respect
- Poor academic performance
- Alienation from friends and family
- Physical and health problems
- Juvenile or criminal record/confinement
- Expulsion from school
- Loss of job
- A recent study evaluated the relationship between dating violence and suicide attempts among urban teens aged 14 and older. According to this study, teen girls who experienced recent dating violence were 60% more likely to report at least one suicide attempt in the past year than those who did not experience recent dating violence.1
- Nearly 3 in 10 women in the United States, 28.8% or approximately 34.3 million, have experienced rape, physical violence and or stalking by an intimate partner.2
- 1CDC, Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention https://vetoviolence.cdc.gov/sites/vetoviolence.cdc.gov.apps.dating-matters-toolkit/themes/dmh_ng_bootstrap/assets/pdf/Educator-Training-Manual-Combined-PDF.pdf
- 2 Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf).
First Person Accounts
Is it possible not to know that you are in an abusive dating relationship? Yes! See for yourself first-person video accounts of teen dating violence.
These videos are part of the Love Is Not Abuse Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Prevention Curriculum, High School Edition 2011. The updated high school edition was published in 2014.
- Teen Dating Violence
From Catholic Charities - Learn about the basics of Teen Dating Violence and how to help.
- Teen Dating Violence 101 (PDF)
Love Is Not Abuse provides two teen dating violence prevention curricula.
- Love is Not Abuse, A Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Prevention Curriculum – High School Edition 2014 (PDF)
- Love is Not Abuse, A Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Prevention Curriculum – College Edition, 2011 (PDF)
- Prevention Seminars
The four prevention seminars that follow have been successfully conducted in a variety of parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago. Seminars can and have been “do it yourself.” Our ACDVO team has and is happy to provide guidance and support (Seminar Tips PDF). In addition, our Prevention Educators are available to conduct these seminars. Please contact Jan Burdulis for details at [email protected].
The Hunting Ground Seminar
Sexual assault of college women is approximately 20%. Men are also victims of sexual assault. Here is an example of what you might find useful to conduct a seminar for college bound students and their parents. We tried to think of all the things one might to do to conduct a successful seminar. Four parishes co-sponsored the event along with the parish’s youth ministry. Having the youth ministry involved was key to attracting students. Promotion for the event started in May and about 10 parishes helped promote it by running bulletin ads. Four chapters of the video were skipped due to time constraints. The integrity of the film was not damaged. Sixty-five people attended including 16 college students most of whom were incoming freshmen. Several dads attended, but mostly moms and grandparents. Evaluations were very positive. It appears that Sunday evening in late July works well. Here is what we did.
- Video Trailer
- Seminar Schedule, Chapter notes and Edits (PDF)
- Seminar Goals (PDF)
- Bulletin Ad – before the event (PDF)
- Press Release (PDF)
- Press Release contacts (PDF)
- Flyer – promotional (PDF)
- Pulpit Pitch (PDF)
- Research Study (PDF)
- Equipment Requirements (PDF)
- Room Setup Diagram (PDF)
- Discussion Questions (PDF)
- Handout (PDF)
- Handout Explanation PowerPoint (PDF)
- Evaluation Form (PDF)
- Bulletin Ad – after the event (PDF)
The Hunting Ground – The DVD is available on line for about $15
Seminar Length: 2 hours.
Parishes have successfully conducted this seminar each in their own way. There is not just one way that is effective. However, please note that it is very important to know the proper protocols for dealing with sexual assault victims. Questions will arise during the discussion sessions. Please see the information provided in Sexual Assault Prevention which follows this section. ACDVO has a licensed sexual assault social worker on staff for questions. Please contact Jan Burdulis for information at [email protected].
Healthy Dating Relationships
The Healthy Dating Relationships seminar is great for adolescents, teens and parents. The seminar explores what “dating” could look like for different ages and stages of relationships. More importantly, our presenters take participants through components of what a healthy relationship can and should look like as well as identifying what can be unhealthy/abusive warning signs in teen dating relationships.
- Why should I go on a date anyway?
- What is it like? Where do you go?
- How do you establish a dating relationship?
- Communication and Boundaries
- How do you get out of a dating relationship nicely?
- What are personal boundaries?
- Refusal Skills
Seminar Length: 90 minutes
Appropriate for high school students +.
Student and adult responses to Healthy Dating Relationships has been very positive.
(Seminar Video at Our Lady of Mercy, Chicago) (Handout)
The Empowerment Project
The filmmakers created The Empowerment Project to explore positive content in the media for girls to feel uplifted and inspired to be their best selves. They found there was a staggering lack of female role models across all mediums (TV, film, music, magazines...), so they decided to change that. The filmmakers interviewed strong, powerful women in a wide variety of industries in order to start conversations about leadership, success, feminism, strength, and so much more.
You will find the stories of the Mathematician – Astronaut – Four Star Admiral in the US Navy – Founder of Girls on the Run – Pilot – Professional Athlete – Chef and Architect inspiring. Girl Scout troops as well as adults love this video. DVD license required.
Please contact Jan Burdulis at [email protected] for details.
Video Length: 50 minutes (Video Trailer - 99 Minute Version)
Seminar Length: 75 minutes
Appropriate for all ages and all genders.
Screening Packet (PDF)
The Dating Project
Singles of all ages wonder why it’s so hard to meet, date and marry today. In fact, fifty percent of America is single and fewer people are committing to marriage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014. Dating has been replaced by “hooking up” and “hanging out,” making the traditional days of “courtship” obsolete. Or, has it?
A few years ago, one of the most popular professors of Philosophy at Boston College, Kerry Cronin, noticed this decreased dating trend among her undergrad students. “And I thought, ‘Well, this is crazy.’ So, I started asking students to go on what I refer to as ‘traditional dates’ as part of an extra-credit assignment.” However, the act of going on a date was more complicated than she thought. A combination of the prevalent “hook up” culture, as well as the preferred method of social interaction (texting) had all but obliterated skills of basic social interaction. And, so The Dating Project began, and her class quickly became one of the most popular courses at Boston College.
The Dating Project follows five single people, ages 18-40, as they search for authentic and meaningful relationships. There is no script. There are no actors. These are real people trying to find love and happiness.
THE DATING PROJECT DVD is available online for about $10.
Video Length: 70 minutes
Seminar Length: 100 minutes
Appropriate for ages 18+. (Video Trailer)
Sexual Assault Prevention
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline is sponsored by Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). Help is available 24/7, phone or chat rainn.org. Call 800. 656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider. (Link)
- RAINN offers useful information relating to Rape and Sexual Assault on College Campuses. Please see selected articles below. (Link)
- Link) Staying Safe on Campus (
- Alcohol Safety Alcohol Safety (Link)
- Warning Signs for College-Age Adults (Link)
- How to Respond if Some is Pressuring You (Link)
- Steps You Can Take to Prevent Sexual Assault (Link)
- Steps You Can Take After Sexual Assault (Link)
- How to Respond to a Survivor (Link)
- Reporting to Law Enforcement (Link)
Pre-Cana Domestic Violence Awareness Module for Marriage Preparation: Thank you for your ministry of preparing couples for marriage. To assist you, find a brief module to raise awareness of an often-unrecognized reality that domestic violence exists in Catholic marriages. Pre-Cana may be the last best chance to avoid the pain of domestic violence in marriage. (English | Spanish | French)
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) 2021, Published April 2023
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is the largest public health surveillance system in the United States, monitoring a broad range of health-related behaviors among high school students. The system includes a nationally representative Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and separate school based YRBSs conducted by states, tribes, territories, and local school districts. In 2021, these surveys were conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic underscored the importance of data in understanding changes in youth risk behaviors and addressing the multifaceted public health needs of youths. (PDF)
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) 2011-2021, Published February 2023
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011–2021 provides the most recent surveillance data, as well as 10-year trends, on health behaviors and experiences among high school students in the United States (U.S.) related to adolescent health and well-being . These include sexual behaviors, substance use, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, experiences such as violence and poor mental health, social determinants of health such as unstable housing, and protective factors such as school connectedness and parental monitoring . We also highlight disparities in these important outcomes by sex, race and ethnicity, sexual identity, and sex of sexual contacts. (PDF)
- The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2016/2017 Report on Stalking, Published 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Stalking is an important public health problem experienced by both women and men. It typically includes being followed, spied upon, repeatedly contacted, and often threats of violence. It can even lead to homicide in severe cases. Although stalking has historically received less attention in the scientific literature than sexual violence and intimate partner violence, stalking victimization is associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms, feelings of hopelessness, fear, safety concerns, depression, and anxiety. Stalking can happen in the context of intimate partner violence, especially for female victims and has been associated with sexual violence victimization. (PDF)
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) 2019, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health risk behaviors practiced during adolescence often persist into adulthood and contribute to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Youth health behavior data at the national, state, territorial, tribal, and local levels help monitor the effectiveness of public health interventions designed to promote adolescent health. The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is the largest public health surveillance system in the United States, monitoring a broad range of health-related behaviors among high school students. (PDF)
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) 2017, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (PDF)
- The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2015 Data Brief – Updated Release 2018, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence are serious public health problems affecting millions of people in the United States each year. These forms of violence are associated with chronic physical and psychological adverse health conditions. Violence experienced as a child or adolescent is a risk factor for repeated victimization as an adult. (PDF)
- The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 2010, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). First launched in 2010, this study is an ongoing, nationally representative survey that assesses sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization among adult women and men in the United States. This is a baseline study and is updated in part by the survey list above, document 5.1.1. (PDF)
- The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation, 2013, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on NISVS, 2010 data, this document reports on intimate partner and sexual assault by sexual orientation in 2013 (PDF).
- The Sexual Victimization of College Women (PDF), 2000 (NCWSV) , National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. With qualifications, the findings of this survey estimate victimization between 20% and 25% over a five-year college career. (See page 10 of NCWSV).) In comparison, Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, Special Report, (NCVS), 1995-2013, Department of Justice, see the study below, estimates sexual victimization at 1% during the course of a single year. Why? NCWSV used a different questioning methodology. It determined assault by, “Measuring sexual victimization using a two-stage process starting with ‘behaviorally specific’ screen questions that attempted to cue respondents to recall and report to the interviewer different types of sexual victimization experiences they may have had. Those who reported a victimization were then asked a series of questions, called an incident report, to verify what type of sexual victimization, if any, had occurred.” (See page 8 of the NCWSV). A study’s questioning techniques and purpose can produce dramatically different results.
- Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females (Special Report) 1995-2013 (PDF), Department of Justice – Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014. The findings are taken from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Technical Packages A technical package represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential.
- Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Life Span, 2017, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2017 This technical package focuses on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) – Domestic Violence and Teen Dating Violence (TDV) – and its consequences across the lifespan (PDF)
- Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2016 This technical package represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent youth violence and its consequences (PDF)
- Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2016 This technical package represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help prevent child abuse and neglect. These strategies include strengthening economic supports to families; changing social norms to support parents and positive parenting; providing quality care and education early in life; enhancing parenting skills to promote healthy child development; and intervening to lessen harms and prevent future risk. (PDF)
- STOP SV: A Technical Package to Prevent Sexual Violence, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2016 This technical package represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to reduce sexual violence (SV) and its consequences. These strategies focus on promoting social norms that protect against violence; teaching skills to prevent SV; providing opportunities, both economic and social, to empower and support girls and women; creating protective environments; and supporting victims/survivors to lessen harms. (PDF)
- Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2017 This technical package represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and states sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent suicide. These strategies include strengthening economic supports; strengthening access and delivery of suicide care; creating protective environments; promoting connectedness; teaching coping and problem-solving skills; identifying and supporting people at risk; and lessening harms and preventing future risk. (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions NISVS: Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation Report, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (PDF). This is a useful article as it explains how the NISVS study differs from crime data on sexual violence, stalking and intimate partner violence. “NISVS examines sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence as public health issues, not as crime issues. To determine how these different contexts affect the reporting of sexual assault, the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted the National College Women Sexual Victimization (NCWSV) Study in 2000, comparing the methodologies of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS), which used a health and behavior-based methodology similar to that used in NISVS. The NCWSV study demonstrated that health-based, behaviorally specific questions, like those asked in NISVS, substantially increase disclosure of violence. People may not identify their experiences with sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence as crime, especially when it involves someone they know or love.” See page 6 of NCWSV for examples of behavior-based questions. See Bureau of Justice Statistics website to examine questionnaires – NCVS1, Basic Screen Questionnaire, and NCVS2, Incident Report – that are employed in NCVS. Please see The Sexual Victimization of College Women, 2000, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) above.
- Understanding Evidence (PDF), Best Available Research Evidence, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This document provides guidance evidence-informed strategies and evidence-based decision making. Not all research is good research.
- Communications Toolkit (PDF), The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS),2010, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This document was designed to provide a step-by-step approach for creating a communication plan to help launch the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey report. Moreover, it is a great tool for communicating on any subject.
- Leslie Morgan Steiner, Crazy Love: St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2009.
- Joanna V. Hunter, But He’ll Change: Ending the Thinking That Keeps You in an Abusive Relationship: Hazelden, Center City Minnesota, 2010.
- K.J. Wilson, When Violence Begins at Home (Second Edition): Hunter House, Berkeley, California, 2006,1997.
- Sandra A. Graham-Bermann and Alytia A. Levendosky, editors, How Intimate Partner Violence Affects Children: American Psychological Association, Washington D.C., 2001.
- Susan Weitzman, Ph.D., “Not to People Like Us”: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages: Basic Books, New York, N.Y., 2000.