Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, SafePlace, Austin Independent School District, The Boys and Girls Club of the Austin Area, and other community agencies are partnering to promote safe and healthy youth relationships and prevent youth dating abuse. Austin is one of 11 sites across the nation participating in Start Strong, a primary prevention initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Research shows that many young people experience physical and sexual abuse in their dating relationships. In Austin, parents, teachers, health care providers and others are concerned about the levels of disrespect, provocation and aggression in youth peer and dating relationships. In a series of focus groups, community members felt that boys and girls in middle school needed support for building respectful relationships.
Through Start Strong Austin, DCMC is educating patients and families through Student Health Services in AISD schools, Children’s Health Express, and on site at DCMC. DCMC is also training health care professionals on how to screen for, how to intervene when a young person is at risk or already involved in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, and how to prevent dating violence before it happens.