There are not many curriculum materials available on the topic of teen dating violence. And there is no one comprehensive curriculum that covers all the subtopics. Therefore it is necessary to utilize various materials as we teach this topic. The following is a list of curriculum materials that have been used with success by health teachers.


SAFE DATES, An Adolescent Dating Abuse Prevention Curriculum

Hazelden Publishing

This curriculum is research based and considered a Model Program by the National Registry of Effective Programs and it is on the list of Exemplary & Promising Programs of Samhsa, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration. It is an excellent curriculum and approved for use by the Rhode Island Department of Education.

We recommend that teachers read the introduction and take note of the letter that can be sent home to parents. It’s lessons cover a variety of topics including both qualities of a healthy relationship as well as abusive relationships. It clearly presents the concept of power, control, and manipulation. It provides knowledge and skills so students can help themselves and others. The subtopics of gender stereotypes and communication skills are also covered, as well as sexual assault. The curriculum culminates with a student play which can be used in a variety of ways, whether it is to raise awareness for students or parents, or for peer-teaching opportunities. SafeDates has been updated to include digital dating abuse and a “Family Matters” component, which engages parents in their child’s education. In our school district in Rhode Island, we teach the first three sessions in eighth grade and the remainder of the sessions in grade nine.

LOVE IS NOT ABUSE: a teen dating violence prevention curriculum

This curriculum has 3-4 lessons that cover the types of dating abuse or the types of violence, including the warning signs, how to help yourself and friends, and a lesson on digital dating abuse. It also explains the cycle of abuse and safety planning. It utilizes excerpts from the fictional book “Breathing Underwater” and also has a writing component as well. In addition, there are links to stories from teen victims. This curriculum may be downloaded at (under Take Action, Join the Love is Not Abuse Coalition)


The newest curriculum is called Ending Violence. It includes 3 modules, each sub-divided into distinct units with student activities, role plays, interviews and much more. It can be purchased separately or as part of a larger package called Respect Works, which includes SafeDates, and other tools. Purchase through In addition to this curriculum, on the Break The Cycle website, click “Build Capacity, then click “Working With Schools” , then click “Activity Guides” for 10 lessons that can be used in schools.


Austin, Texas
1-512-267-SAFE (7233)

Expect Respect is a comprehensive program developed by SafePlace of Austin, Texas. It consists of 4 manuals with the first providing an overview of the entire program. Part I of the program consists of a 24 week curriculum to be used in a support group for students, not in an academic classroom. The group should preferably be led by a trained mental health professional from the school, such as a school social worker or school psychologist or a social worker who works for your local domestic violence community agency.

Part 2 of the program consists of a youth leadership curriculum, whereby teens are engaged in prevention by taking on a leadership role and being responsible for raising awareness in the school, educating their peers, and helping and supporting their peers. Part 3 of the program is a manual filled with school-wide prevention strategies and resources. Used all together, along with traditional curriculum being taught in classes throughout the school each year, this program allows the school to take dating violence education to the next, desired level, including support groups and engaging teens to take on a leadership role.

Katie Brown Education Program

Teaches dating violence units in schools; may request a donation; evidence-based curriculum. Has developed a wonderful hands-on activity-based and teacher friendly curriculum for grades 5-high school; curriculum and training is available for school teachers. The units for grades 5, 6 & 7 are terrific. Covers bullying too.


Coaching Boys Into Men

Download free kit & materials to help young athletes build respectful, non-violent relationships.


Sexual harassment may occur in an abusive dating relationship. But not all cases of sexual harassment are dating violence, as they may occur outside of a dating relationship. Whenever sexual harassment occurs at school, if it is not dealt with properly by the school, the school may be held liable under Title IX. It is important to teach students about sexual harassment, but the teacher must make it clear, when this occurs within a dating relationship, it is known as dating violence. The following curricula may be used to teach about sexual harassment, but ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR USING DATING VIOLENCE CURRICULA, AS NOTED ABOVE. The topic of sexual harassment should be taught as a separate unit.

Harassment, Pick & Choose Activities for Grades 7-12 By Betty Hubbard, Ed.D. Published by ETR Associates Contains good lesson plans for SH, but also has a few good plans on gender stereotypes & the media. Can teach this unit before teaching dating violence in eighth grade.

Sexual Harassment & Teens by Susan Strauss

Flirting or Hurting: A Teacher’s Guide on Student to Student SH in Schools by Nan Stein straight-forward DVD, can be 2-3 lessons & best if taught before dating violence, can use in grade 8 & higher


The long list of websites that we have supplied on a separate document should give you plenty of material to use in class.

The following are some notable websites from that list.

Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund created as a resource tool for health teachers. Under the LINKS page you will find numerous websites for teachers, parents, and teens. These websites have a wealth of information including victim stories, lesson plans, facts, activities and more. In addition, the FACTS and CURRICULUM pages are filled with useful information. Many teachers have used LINDSAY’S STORY in class as well.

National Teen Dating Violence Helpline is the website for the national teen helpline. Teen victims can call their own helpline, rather than calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline for adults. Teens will usually talk to other teens who are trained in how to respond and help, and they know the community resources available in each state. Information about how to help a friend who is a victim or someone who is the abuser. You can also find facts, ideas for raising community awareness, projects, and lots more.

Michigan 3 lesson plan unit Search “dating violence lesson plans

Gender Stereotype Lesson Plans
Has many lesson plans for gender stereotypes, including Male/Female Boxes, recommended

One stop gov’t site for bullying prevention info & resources


Breathing Underwater By Alex Flinn  
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
  Excerpts from Breathing Underwater are used in the Liz Claiborne curriculum. In our school district, this book is mandatory summer reading for all ninth graders. If this book is then discussed in English class, it is advisable for English teachers to be trained in the topic of dating violence.

Gift of Fear By Gavin DeBecker
  This book can be used as a resource tool for teachers, and Chapters 1 and 4 (ex Parking Lot Scenario and Girl on a Plane) could be used when teaching about victimization. It is not advisable for students to read this book.

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen Fiction.

Leslie’s Journal by Allan Stratton
Annick Press
Go to for lesson plan that accompanies the book.

Thing’s Change by Patrick Jones (librarian) Realistic fiction for high school

In Love and in Danger, A Teen’s Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships by Barrie Levy, MSW   Excellent non-fiction self-help book for teens.

Tornado Warning By Elin Stebbins Waldal
Elin shares her own experience with tdv at age 17 and how it has affected her. Very well written. An honest account. For high school and adults. A must read for adults.

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

For additional books, check our website list:

*For Parents and Mental Health Professionals:

When Dating Becomes Dangerous: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Relationship Abuse”  by Giggans & Levy, 2013,

What Parents Need to Know About Dating Violence by Barrie Levy a must-read, especially if your teen is in an abusive relationship

Saving Beauty From the Beast  by Vicki Crompton good book, last chapter is personal

When Dating Hurts by Bill Mitchell


Use newspaper and magazine articles about dating violence for lessons. Seventeen and Redbook magazines often print articles on the topic during February, Nat’l TDV Awareness Month.


Dating & Violence Should Never Be A Couple video

Causing Pain: Real Stories of Dating Abuse & Violence

When Dating Turns Dangerous

But He Loves Me

Dating for Real: Building Safe & Healthy Relationships

Series of 3 videos, can be purchased as a set or individually through Human Relations Media


Enough – show parts only in class

Sleeping with the Enemy
Freshman Fall aka She Cried No (date rape)

No One Would Tell (true story, semi-graphic scene near end)

Reviving Ophelia (Lifetime movie)

Speak (rape and PTSD)

The Burning Bed

Choose appropriate You-Tube videos


My Life would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson…check out the video Under My Thumb by the Rolling Stones

Every Breath You Take by the Police

Refugee by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

White Horse by Taylor Swift…good video, she says “No” in the end & breaks up


February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month

October is Domestic Violence Month

Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund

Holds statewide poster contests for both RI middle and high school students with cash prizes. Winning posters donated to schools. We also sponsor student-awareness projects and give student presentations (assemblies only).

Hold a “Wear Purple Day” fundraiser Donate proceeds to LABMF!

One-woman Play: “The Yellow Dress”

Hold a “Dating Violence Poster Contest”

Display posters around school

The “Outrage” play

Teens from SafeHome perform short, dramatic plays about tdv at schools. Go to under Education & Prevention and watch their plays on YouTube. Can be replicated in your school!

Play “Love Is Not An Angry Thing” by Daniel Kehde

Two actor play about dating violence.  Very effective when performed by students.  Scripts may be purchased at

Silent Witness Assembly

Invite your state’s Silent Witness Program to do a presentation of the Silent Witnesses at school.
College campuses may have student groups involved in the Silent Witness program and having college students present this to high school students is very effective.
In addition, hand out awareness bracelets, warning signs cards, brochures, etc. These can be
made by students. In South Kingstown, RI we held this assembly for our seniors, as a way of reminding them, before graduation, of the importance of the dating violence information that they learned in health classes. School staff donated money to pay for the bracelets and cards. Bracelets were made by students in Advisory period.

Collaboration and Teaching Across the Curriculum

  1. “Breathing Underwater” by Alix Flinn can be used in English classes as well as any of the fictional books noted above, consider adding to summer reading list
  2. Love Is Not Abuse curriculum can be used in health class and have students do writing assignments as homework or English class or Advisories
  3. – contains lesson plans for English Lit teachers & use “The Lord of the Flies” and “Their Eyes Were Watching God” to teach about power & control and abusive relationships
  4. The “American Bar Association’s Toolkit” has a list of activities for Art, Social Studies, etc.

Adaptation to individual communities and school systems

  1. Prioritize what you teach in health class.
  2. Tie the topic of teen dating violence in with other health topics
  3. Can shorten or lengthen units
  4. Give homework assignments or projects. Be sure test students!
  5. Use non-profit domestic violence community resources as guest speakers, guest educators
  6. Use your school’s Resource Officer to co-teach the unit with you, or as a guest speaker. If your school doesn’t have a Resource Officer, utilize your local or state police as guest speaker