Adolescence is a time when many young people start their first romantic relationships. Dating can be a new and exciting phase in teens’ lives, but for many teens, the dating experience can also include different forms of violence that can cause short- and long-term harm to their physical and mental health. In 2019, among the 66% of high school students who reported having gone out with someone, 8.2% experienced physical or sexual dating violence1, and nearly two-thirds reported experiencing psychological aggression in a current or recent relationship2. Helping teens develop healthy and respectful relationships early on may protect them from the harmful consequences of dating and other forms of interpersonal violence and set the stage for healthy relationship patterns that persist into adulthood. At the same time, community-level strategies can have a broader impact on cultural norms and expectations about healthy relationships.
In this webinar, Vi Le, PhD, MPH, Behavioral Scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), talked about the Dating Matters initiative, CDC’s comprehensive teen dating violence prevention model. This evidence-based model includes prevention strategies for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods, and focuses on teaching 11–14-year-olds healthy relationship skills before they start dating.
Kelly Premo, MPH, Director of Prevention for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA), discussed her work with RPE (Rape Prevention Education) grantees, using culturally appropriate strategies to affect community-level change. SCCADVASA’s collaboration with youth-serving organizations and schools makes use of evidence-based strategies such as bystander interventions to impact broader cultural perspectives on sexual harassment and dating norms.
This webinar was moderated by Angela Marr, an active member of the Children’s Safety Now Alliance (CSN-A).
1 Basile, K. C., Clayton, H. B., DeGue, S., Gilford, J. W., Vagi, K. J., Suarez, N. A., Zwald, M. L., & Lowry, R. (2020). Interpersonal violence victimization among high school students - Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019. MMWR Supplement, 69(1), 28-37.
2 Taylor, B. G., & Mumford, E. A. (2016). A national descriptive portrait of adolescent relationship abuse: Results from the National Survey on Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(6), 963-988.
Vi Le, PhD, MPH, is a Behavioral Scientist at CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in the Division of Violence Prevention. Vi has extensive experience in teen dating violence and intimate partner violence research and prevention programming (implementation, evaluation, and dissemination), including Dating Matters, a comprehensive teen dating violence prevention model. Her work also includes prevention of child sexual abuse, rape prevention education, and technology facilitated violence.
Kelly Premo, MPH, Director of Prevention & Specialized Advocacy at SCCADVASA, has over 15 years of experience in Prevention and Outreach, with a focus on process improvement and program design and management. Her blended public service, community service, and corporate experience gives her a unique ability to build relationships and bring different communities together towards a collective and unifying goal. Prior to joining SCCADVASA, Kelly served as Director of Prevention at the Julie Valentine Center, an advocacy organization for victims of sexual violence, where she expanded programming and partnerships with the Greenville County School District, city and county recreation departments, faith-based organizations, and community partners.
Kelly started her career as a Patrol Officer with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in Athens, Georgia. This experience led her to the SC Department of Social Services where she served as an CPS investigator with a focus on families with domestic violence in the home. She earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Georgia in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health, with a focus in Social and Behavioral Sciences, from Kent State University.
Angela Marr, MPH, is the Chief of the Program Implementation and Evaluation Branch, in the Division of Injury Prevention (DIP) in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. In this role, Ms. Marr provides leadership to bridge science and practice to move the field of violence and injury prevention forward and leads a diverse portfolio of work that includes surveillance, data and economic analysis, information technology, policy research, evaluation, and technical assistance to state health departments. Her branch coordinates work for the Core State Injury Prevention Program, the Injury Control Research Centers, support for injury and violence prevention in AI/AN populations and cross-cutting evaluation.
Ms. Marr began her career in injury prevention at the state and local level before joining CDC as an epidemiologist. Prior to joining CDC, Ms. Marr worked for both the Alabama and Oklahoma State Departments of Health. She has a background in surveillance and program implementation. Ms. Marr received her MPH in Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.