178506 Dating Violence Prevention through Peer Education for At-Risk Youth: The NYC Healthy Relationship Training Academy

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kirsten M. DeFur, MPH , Office to Combat Domestic Violence, New York City Office of the Mayor, New York, NY
Tracy L. Weber, MPH , Office to Combat Domestic Violence, New York City Office of the Mayor, New York, NY
Purpose: The New York City (NYC) Healthy Relationship Training Academy, established in 2005, provides peer-led, interactive workshops on dating violence and healthy relationships for at-risk youth ages 13-24. Given that 10% of NYC high school students reported physical abuse by a partner within the last year (2005), there is a great need for educational programs about preventing abusive relationships. Methods: Paid Peer Educators travel to community and faith organizations, schools, colleges and GED programs to teach their peers about how to prevent abusive relationships, discuss the components of healthy relationships, and provide resources on where to go for help, such as the NYC Family Justice Center. The project reaches a diverse population, including youth who are runaway or homeless, pregnant/parenting, court-involved and/or LGBTQ. Peer Educators, recruited from the programs where workshops are provided, receive 25 hours of training on dating violence, healthy relationships, and facilitation skills, as well as ongoing supervision. From 2005 to 2007, 83 workshops were held with 1,401 participants, who completed a pre-test and post-test with 16 knowledge questions. Results: Analysis shows that the program effectively increases knowledge about dating violence and healthy relationships. Correct response rate increased at a statistically significant level on 56% of the pre-test and post-test questions. Conclusions: Workshops provided by the NYC Healthy Relationship Training Academy successfully teach young people about recognizing abusive behaviors and identifying characteristics of a healthy relationship. This presentation will discuss the peer education program implementation and effectiveness; explore peer educators' experiences; and discuss program successes and challenges.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the components of an effective peer education program on dating violence and healthy relationships. 2. Identify strategies to engage at-risk youth through a prevention program. 3. Discuss the challenges to implementing a peer education program.

Keywords: Adolescents, Domestic Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I direct the program featured in the abstract, and my responsibilities include peer educator supervision, curriculum development, program evaluation, and interagency coordination.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.