School violence prevention programs typically focus on risk-reduction by teaching girls not to be victims
and boys not to be rapists
, with no other roles to play. Even though bystander intervention not a new concept, some schools, advocacy groups
and corporations are pushing it with renewed vigor in an effort to deter violence.
The goal is to challenge perceptions of "normal behavior" and make teens aware of the nuanced interactions that create a hostile climate. It could be as simple as diverting a friend's attention when he hollers at a girl on the street, encouraging your sister to talk to her boyfriend instead of secretly checking his texts, sneaking off to call 911 when the popular guys start messing with a girl who's barely conscious.Assessing the Long-Term Effects of the Safe Dates Program and a Booster in Preventing and Reducing Adolescent Dating Violence Victimization and Perpetration
This study determined 4-year postintervention effects of Safe Dates on dating violence, booster effects, and moderators of the program effects.
We gathered baseline data in 10 schools that were randomly allocated to a treatment condition. We collected follow-up data 1 month after the program and then yearly thereafter for 4 years. Between the 2- and 3-year follow-ups, a randomly selected half of treatment adolescents received a booster.
Compared with controls, adolescents receiving Safe Dates reported significantly less physical, serious physical, and sexual dating violence perpetration and victimization 4 years after the program. The booster did not improve the effectiveness of Safe Dates.
Safe Dates shows promise for preventing dating violence but the booster should not be used.
Neighborhood-Level Factors Associated with Physical Dating Violence Perpetration: Results of a Representative Survey Conducted in Boston, MA
Neighborhood-level characteristics have been found to be associated with different forms of interpersonal violence, but studies of the relationship between these characteristics and adolescent dating violence are limited. We examined 6 neighborhood-level factors in relation to adolescent physical dating violence perpetration using both adolescent and adult assessments of neighborhood characteristics, each of which was aggregated across respondents to the neighborhood level. Data came from an in-school survey of 1,530 public high school students and a random-digit-dial telephone survey of 1,710 adult residents of 38 neighborhoods in Boston. Approximately 14.3% of the youth sample reported one or more acts of physical aggression toward a dating partner in the month preceding the survey. We calculated the odds of past-month physical dating violence by each neighborhood-level factor, adjusting for school clustering, gender, race, and nativity. In our first 6 models, we used the adolescent assessment of neighborhood factors and then repeated our procedures using the adult assessment data. Using the adolescent assessment data, lower collective efficacy (AOR=1.95, 95% CI=1.09–3.52), lower social control (AOR=1.92, 95% CI=1.07–3.43), and neighborhood disorder (AOR=1.19, 95% CI=1.05–1.35) were each associated with increased likelihood of physical dating violence perpetration. However, when we used the adult version of the neighborhood assessment data, no neighborhood factor predicted dating violence. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.
Bystander Intervention film from New Zealand previously