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As a parent, teacher, family member, or adult who works with youth, it's important to know the early warning signs of dating abuse to help prevent them from getting hurt. Please check this section often as we are continually adding new tools to engage with the youth in your lives. We must know what to do to effectively engage in critical conversations with them and do more to end dating violence in our families and communities.

RealTalk with Teens

A Resource Guide for Educating Teens on Healthy Relationships

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) and the Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement Leadership Through Alliances (DELTA) State Steering Committee of Rhode Island present Real Talk – A Resource Guide for Educating Teens on Healthy Relationships. This tool (Real Talk) is a byproduct of “Rhode Island’s Domestic Violence Prevention Plan: Addressing the Violence Before It Starts” that was launched in February 2011. In this plan, we committed to build local and state capacity to engage men and youth in domestic violence prevention efforts in Rhode Island. One year later, we are excited to introduce you to Real Talk.

Real Talk was designed specifically for adults who work directly with youth, either in a school or community setting. This tool is intended to help youth workers facilitate dialogue about teen dating violence and prepare them as they teach healthy relationship skills to youth. Working with young people to promote healthy relationships and change social norms to prevent teen dating violence can sometimes feel intimidating to youth workers who are already addressing connected issues like gang violence, suicide, teen pregnancy and community organizing.

However, the overlap is significant. 23.9% of RI high school girls who had been hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their girlfriend/boyfriend in the last 12 months had attempted suicide, versus 8.1% of girls who had not experienced dating violence in the past 12 months. When we look at other high risk behaviors like alcohol, marijuana, laxatives use and purging, we find the rates are consistently higher among RI girls who have been abused than among non-abused girls.

  • 59.5% of RI high school girls who had been abused drank alcohol at least once in the past 30 days versus 40.8 % of girls who had not experienced dating violence.
  • 36.7% of RI high school girls who had been abused had used marijuana in the last 30 days versus 17% of girls who had not experienced dating violence.
  • 13.3% of RI high school girls who had been abused had taken laxatives or purged to lose weight versus 4.6% of girls who had not experienced dating violence.

Real Talk was developed to help youth workers feel comfortable facilitating sessions on teen dating violence prevention and build their capacity to integrate this topic into the work they are currently doing. Prevention resources are limited in our state, which increases the need for all nonprofit community-based organizations, across disciplines, to work together on preventing teen dating violence.

Real Talk includes:

pdfA Facilitator’s Guide on Teen Dating Violence
pdfA Facilitator’s Guide on Healthy Relationships
pdfAwareness Activity Ideas for Schools and Communities
pdfRhode Island and National Resources
pdfSample Lesson Plans on Healthy Relationships

Or, download the full guide here: pdfReal Talk

Additionally, the RICADV is offering training and technical assistance to youth serving organizations on how to facilitate Real Talk in their community. Please contact Lucy Rios, Director of Prevention at the RICADV, for more information.

Love Is Not Abuse iPhone App

The free Love is Not Abuse iPhone app from Break the Cycle is an educational resource for parents and other adults that demonstrates the dangers of digital dating abuse and provides much needed information on the growing problem of teen dating violence.

Over the course of the app experience, you receive text messages, emails and phone calls in real-time mimicking the controlling, abusive behaviors that teens might face in their relationships. The app also provides information on warning signs of abuse, concrete steps parents can take if they are concerned their child may be a victim, and tips for how to talk to young people about the issue.

Download the app here.

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Other Resources for Youth Workers

For awareness materials and tips on promoting youth leadership, check out these awareness highlights and initiatives from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

For a collection of resources emphasizing collaborative and multilevel approaches to promoting healthy dating among youth, see the updated VAWnet Special Collection, Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence.