This month we are excited to share information about our constantly evolving prevention program that makes up one of the key pieces in our mission as we work to end domestic violence in our community.
What is the Prevention Team?
The prevention team at SafeHaven is comprised of eight employees, led by Eric May, who have established and now execute life skills based sessions to students (K-12) in Tarrant County schools aimed at teaching students about healthy relationships, anti-bullying, and respect. While prevention services have existed at SafeHaven for quite a while, in the past decade, this team has evolved from a small staff teaching the basics of domestic violence to the community in small settings to a robust program that is laying the foundation for us to identify violent relationships much sooner, and to end domestic violence in the future.
What kind of curriculum is used?
Throughout the school year, the prevention team works with Tarrant County school districts to teach life-skills based programs to students from Kindergarten through high school. With each one hour session, students learn to respect others and themselves, to choose healthy communication skills, and other practical skills necessary to have healthy relationships in the present and future.
The curriculum that is used varies by the age and needs of the students. SafeHaven teaches using the PALS curriculum (developed over 10 years by SafeHaven staff) for elementary students, the Botvin Life Skills Training model for middle school students, and SafeDates for high school students.
The curriculum is presented to students over the course of the school year in 7 sessions, one session a month, which has been found to be the most effective for retention.
The SafeHaven PALS curriculum is also currently undergoing a research project to measure its effectiveness and is a part of SafeHaven's 5 year strategic plan.
For the past three years, SafeHaven has implemented a full school district strategy with Everman ISD. Collaborating with 8 other entities, as well as students, teachers, parents, and school administrators, SafeHaven has created an impressive program to make a difference in the community. This strategy comprises of SafeHaven’s teaching curriculum, parent training, teacher response training, a traveling therapist, and administrative policy consultation with the school district.
The students even have a group that now conducts peer leadership awareness projects. Throughout the year, students host different projects like door decorating contests with themes around healthy relationships, lead discussion groups, and help raise awareness.
The impact of the prevention team
For the 2016-2017 academic year, SafeHaven’s SafeDates program has already presented to 3,335 unduplicated students and made over 775 SafeDates presentations in Tarrant County…and students are listening. Records show that of students that have completed the SafeDates program (7 sessions), 94.16% showed an increase in skills and knowledge.
The impact of these figures is overwhelming. As SafeHaven works to provide immediate safety and support for families that are affected by domestic violence, our work in educating children before domestic violence happens is key to stopping this epidemic in the future.