Communities Can Help Prevent Dating and Sexual Violence

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recently released a recommendation for interventions that aim to prevent or reduce intimate partner violence (dating violence) and sexual violence among youth. This recommendation is based on a systematic review of 28 studies. The findings showed interventions reduced intimate partner and sexual violence among youth. Results also showed an increase in bystander action within the first six months of completing the intervention, meaning bystanders intervened when they noticed a risky situation or challenged aggressive attitudes toward women, such as offensive jokes or objectifying language.

Teen couple holding hands on a park benchThe studies CPSTF examined targeted young people from 12 to 24 years old. Interventions combined educational information about sexual and intimate partner violence with one or more strategies designed to:

  • Teach young people healthy relationship skills, such as communication, conflict resolution, and stress management
  • Promote social norms that protect against violence, such as by challenging negative attitudes or beliefs that support violence and promoting bystander empowerment by teaching youth how to intervene in situations involving potential sexual or intimate partner violence
  • Create protective environments, such as by improving school climate and safety

Interventions may be implemented in schools (including middle school, high school, and college), at home, in communities, or in a combination of settings. Additionally, they can target groups at higher risk for violence or the general youth population.

If you’re interested in implementing strategies and approaches to reduce violence among teens in your community, use these resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which outline strategies specified in the CPSTF recommendation. They are designed to help states and communities use the best available evidence to prevent violence, and there are specific resources focused on sexual violence and intimate partner violence, among other topics.

We hope you’ll consider employing these strategies in your community. As a society, we must implement prevention strategies that not only reduce violence, but stop it before it begins. That’s critical to ending the cycle of violence in our communities. To make an impact, we must take advantage of the best available evidence and focus on strategies shown to be most likely to prevent or reduce sexual and intimate partner violence.

You can learn more about CPSTF’s recommendation and strategies designed to prevent violence among youth by attending the free Interventions That Work webinar from 1:30 to 3 p.m. ET on October 24, 2018. The webinar is an excellent opportunity to hear how communities have effectively reduced violence and learn about resources to help you get started in your community. Register for the webinar today!