Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Helping Young Women in the Juvenile Justice System Avoid Violent Relationships

From The Boston Globe:

Lifespan researcher and Northeastern professor Dr. Christie Rizzo developed the Date SMART program, which. uses techniques to help teens build skills necessary for healthy relationships. 

The Date SMART program is designed to reduce both dating violence and sexual risk behaviors among adolescent females. The program is unique in that it uses cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques to help teens build skills that research has shown are necessary for healthy relationships. These include strategies for managing emotions, communicating effectively, selecting healthy partners, and reducing mental health symptoms such as depression.

The current study is a randomized controlled trial comparing the Date SMART program to an educational program focused on health. Two-hundred and fifty girls involved with the Rhode Island Family Court participated in the study and were followed for one year to assess changes in dating violence, delinquency, and sexual risk taking.

Studies suggest that about half of females in the juvenile justice system have histories of serious physical or sexual violence in dating relationships. We also know that these young women often possess other risk factors such as exposure to childhood adversity and experiences with mental health symptoms that may be linked to their dating violence experiences.

Read more here.

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