School-Level Interventions Reduce Dating Violence by up to 50%

Published: November 17, 2011

WASHINGTON – School-level interventions can cut by nearly half the rate of dating violence among sixth- and seventh-grade students, according to a study just released by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

“The success of school-level interventions is particularly important because they can be implemented with very few extra costs to schools,” says NIJ Director John H. Laub, Ph.D.

School-level interventions include using temporary school-based restraining orders, higher levels of faculty and security presence in areas identified as “hot spots,” and posters to increase awareness and encourage reporting of incidents to school officials.

Classroom-level interventions, when delivered alone, had no effect. The classroom-level curricula included sessions that addressed the consequences for perpetrators of dating violence and sexual harassment, state laws and penalties, and discussion of gender roles and healthy relationships.

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Other critical findings included:

  • The combination of the classroom and the school-level intervention alone led to a 32-47% lower sexual violence victimization and perpetration six months after the intervention.
  • Students receiving the school-level intervention were more likely to say they would intervene as a bystander six months after the intervention.

This study was originally conducted in 30 New York City public schools by the Police Executive Research Forum and funded by the NIJ. The study used a multi-level, randomized control trial to find out what is effective in preventing dating violence and sexual harassment among over 2,500 sixth- and seventh-grade students.

Read the report.

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