Preventionists understand the benefits of designing and implementing sexual and intimate partner violence prevention programs that are cross-cutting and address multiple forms of violence and concerns for community safety. Using a shared risk and protective factors framework is one way preventionists can show the effectiveness of cross cutting programs and strategies. Research can also contribute support for these kinds of strategies, and more research is examining how programs and strategies designed to prevent sexual and intimate partner violence have impacts on reducing other forms of interpersonal violence.
Recent research on Dating Matters uncovers not only the benefits of the program to reducing teen dating and sexual violence, but also additional impacts on reducing bullying, cyberbullying, and physical violence perpetration. Sexual and intimate partner violence prevention practitioners recognize the importance of using cross-cutting strategies that address multiple shared risk and protective factors to create healthier, safer communities, and this research indicates that Dating Matters may be an effective piece to comprehensive violence prevention.
Previous research has explored the links and pathways between bullying and sexual and intimate partner violence, so having a program that finds it reduces both outcomes is especially beneficial to creating protective environments against all forms of violence. One explanation for how Dating Matters achieves these outcomes could be that it “encourages respectful treatment of others, not just dating partners.” This encouragement is necessary to addressing violence in all forms and could be especially impactful to talk about in the current context of COVID-19 and its impacts on cyberbullying.
Having the sole impact of preventing sexual and intimate partner violence is important and valid, but preventionists know that types of violence don’t exist in a vacuum nor are all types of violence absent from the impacts of systemic oppression. Finding efficacy of programs that reduce multiple forms of violence can help create safer community environments, and using programs and strategies that impact many aspects of community safety can help build partnerships and increase stakeholder buy-in.
Check out these PreventConnect resources on Dating Matters and the bullying-sexual violence perpetration pathway: