Statement of Purpose To evaluate the association between district-level policies about teen dating violence (TDV) educational curriculum and self-reported physical and sexual dating violence (PDV, SDV) from select districts participating in the 2017 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System (YRBSS).
Methods/Approach Presence of TDV policies and components (e.g. pertaining to scope, training, and education) were determined by searching each school district’s policy website and student handbooks for key terms (e.g. domestic violence, relationships, dating abuse) active as of 01/01/2017. The prevalence of PDV and SDV were identified from 11 districts in the United States (e.g., Boston, Baltimore, Houston, and Los Angeles). Associations between presence of any and specific policy components on PDV and SDV was estimated from regression modeling, controlling for individual-level covariates and incorporating the YRBSS weighted survey design.
Results Only five of 11 districts studied had any TDV policies. A lower odds of reporting SDV was associated with policy language specifying all staff to be trained (aOR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.65–0.96) and policy requiring confidential/anonymous reporting (aOR: 0.69, 95% CI: 0.60–0.80). A higher odds of reporting SDV (aOR: 1.27, 95% CI: 1.06–1.50) but a reduced odds of PDV (aOR: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.70–0.98) was found for policies requiring student education. Policies stating provisions for in-school protective orders or student school transfers were associated with reduced odds of SDV (aOR: 0.69 95% CI: 0.60–0.80) and PDV (aOR: 0.80 95% CI: 0.71–0.91).
Conclusion School district TDV policies may effectively reduce teen SDV and PDV victimization through staff education and student protective orders. Additional research is needed to understand how the implementation of these policies effect TDV reporting.
Significance For several U. S. school districts, we identified potential TDV policy components, when implemented at the district-level, that are associated with reductions in self-reported PDV and SDV.
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