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Violence Against Women: Synthesis of Research for Secondary School Officials

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2000
27 pages
Publication Series
This document provides a background to enable school personnel to take preventive action on adolescent dating violence.
This report is intended for secondary school administrators and teachers. Dating violence is defined as various behaviors that may take place in a heterosexual dating relationship. Dating violence behaviors may be grouped into four broad categories: verbal and psychological aggression, domination and coercion, physical aggression, and sexual aggression. Rates of physical aggression tend to be highest when both threats of physical aggression and aggression expressed with objects are included in the definition. Behaviors in middle school students have only recently been investigated. Data indicate that between 28 and 45 percent of these students have experienced some form of sexual harassment by a peer or group of peers. Eighty-one percent of high school youths reported being a victim of sexual harassment, including unwanted sexual comments, looks, gestures, and touching from peers. Rates of verbal and psychological aggression are reported in 66 to 75 percent of dating relationships. Physical aggression among high school students appears to be reciprocal. College statistics show that physical aggression does not decrease as students mature, underscoring the need for prevention at the secondary school level. A common set of assumptions or beliefs that many maintain about the causes of or risk factors for dating violence are reviewed. A dating violence prevention program in a secondary school curriculum should be appropriate for both the student population and the school setting; include clear communication with stakeholders in the wider school community; and include effective and comprehensive training of program instructors. The four criteria that may be used to choose a program are focus, length, setting, and program instructor. The questions asked and the manner in which they are asked are key issues when trying to estimate the scope of the problem in a school, interpreting the results of program evaluation studies, and collecting data. An overview of existing program evaluation study results is presented. References

Date Published: December 1, 2000