Cultivate Security—Put the student at ease by creating a safe environment. This can go a long way towards getting a student to open up about an abusive relationship.
Confidentiality and gentleness are foundations of a secure and safe setting.
This to happen whether or not the student divulges abuse.
If the student does not reveal abuse: Fight the urge to push, if there is abuse, the student must choose how, who, and when to talk about it.
What follows is a process to help you speak effectively with students about dating violence.
You will need to know the best way to approach a student who may be at risk, how to honestly and directly state your concern, and how best to respond to what they tell you.
Refer and Report—Brainstorm with the student options for moving forward.
Keep in mind mandatory reporting concerns while allowing the student a measure of self-determination.
Or they may feel like they don’t have much control over anything.Dating violence, like any form of abuse, is complicated.Being courageous enough to lean into a messy situation can start to make a student victim feel they are not alone.You may be tempted to want to jump in a fix the problem immediately but that can feel overwhelming to a scared teenager.Also, the fear that adults don’t really want to listen to kids can be directly challenged by actively listening to their story, even if you don’t think they are being honest with you.Knowledge is power and power can end this horrible cycle of violence. The reasons that adolescents are hesitant to tell adults are varied.They often fear nobody will believe them or that they will be blamed for the problem.Doing this expresses trust that will be necessary to foster an honest, constructive dialogue.An effective inquiry is kind, direct, brief, and has 3 parts: Be present and listen well.Knowing how to talk to youth about intimate partner violence is a challenge.Not everyone feels capable or competent to have these conversations.