New teen dating violence prevention curriculum shows significant effects on students

February 22, 2018

In an effort to address dating violence in schools, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in partnership with the YWCA, and Health Advocates, developed the Me & You curriculum for middle and highs schools. Research shows that well designed and implemented teen dating violence prevention curriculum can decrease risks of being in an abusive relationship. This new dating violence prevention curricula is based on the National Sexuality Education Standards and health education standards for Texas and New Mexico. The interactive learning experience is designed to increase classroom participation and teach adolescents the value of healthy relationships, warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, ways to prevent and stop dating violence.

Teen dating violence is defined by the physical, sexual, psychological or emotional violence within a dating relationship.

El Paso has higher percentages of physical dating violence among youth than the national average. According to an El Paso Youth Health Behavior Survey in 2015, among high school students who date:

  • 17.1% of female students and 17.6% of male students experienced physical dating violence
  • 17% of female students and 11.3% of male students experienced sexual dating violence
  • 34.3% of sexual minority youth reported physical dating violence compared with 14.8% of heterosexual youth
  • 30% of sexual minority youth reported sexual violence compared with 11.7% of heterosexual youth

The YWCA and Health Advocates conducted a pilot test with more than 2,000 students and 31 teachers from seven middle schools and five high schools in El Paso Independent School District and Deming Public Schools that participated in the curriculum. Results showed that after youth participated in the Me & You curriculum youth indicated:

  • It was wrong to hit other people, say mean things to other people, take anger out using physical force, and say mean things if you’re angry with someone you date.
  • They disagreed that girls sometimes deserve to be hit by the boys they date.
  • They were more confident they could stay out of fights, understand another person’s point of view, and talk out a disagreement.
  • A greater sense of support from an adult they feel comfortable talking about their problems with.

“Every step along the development process, we gained community input, which makes me confident it is the right fit for our youth,” said Lucy Hernandez, Dating Violence Prevention Project Manager, YWCA El Paso del Norte Region. “After participating in this curriculum, youth will gain skills to resolve conflict and talk out disagreements, and they will increase knowledge in preventing dating violence leading them to build healthy relationships.”

To learn more about the curriculum or to get your school involved, contact Lucy Hernandez, Dating Violence Prevention Project Manager, YWCA El Paso del Norte Region at 915-519-0002 or

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