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Healthy Relationships and Dating Violence Prevention

A healthy relationship, according to Love Is Respect, has basic but essential elements: respect, communication, trust, boundaries, honesty, and equality. The absence of one or more of these elements can mean that a relationship is unhealthy or even abusive. The Parent Discussion Guide from Love Is Respect provides information and resources for having conversations about healthy relationships with the youth in their lives.

Teen dating violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an adverse childhood experience that affects millions of young people in the United States. It can also be referred to as dating violence. Dating violence can take place in person, online, or through technology. It is a type of intimate partner violence that can include the following types of behavior: 

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force. 

  • Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act and/or sexual touching when the partner does not consent or is unable to consent or refuse. It also includes nonphysical sexual behaviors such as posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent or sexting someone without their consent. 

  • Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and nonverbal communication with the intent to harm a partner mentally or emotionally and exert control over a partner. 

  • Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a current or former partner that causes fear or a safety concern for an individual victim or someone close to the victim. 

Teen dating violence profoundly impacts lifelong health, opportunity, and well-being. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. The good news is that violence is preventable, and we can all help young people grow up violence-free. If you would like more information, view these fact sheets from the CDC: Preventing Teen Dating Violence and Preventing Intimate Partner Violence.  

Consent is a vital aspect of healthy relationships and can be taught to children at all ages. Consent means asking someone for their permission to do something and accepting their answer. If you would like more information on consent, view the I Ask How to Teach Consent Early handout.

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  Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationship Information
  Resources for Conversations with Youth

Teen Safety Planning

Start the Conversation guide

Books for kids about healthy relationships

Parent Tip Sheet: How Do I Help My Child? Suggestions for talking with a young person whom you know or suspect is experiencing dating abuse

  Agencies/Support Resources

Recommended Resources

Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 866-331-9474

Sojourner Hotline: 414-933-2722

UMOS Latina Resource Center: 414-389-6510


Additional Resources

Aurora Healing and Advocacy Services confidential hotline: 414-219-5555

Pathfinders crisis line: 414-271-1560

Walker's Point Youth and Family Center crisis line: 414-647-8200

Diverse and Resilient (LGBTQ+): 414-390-0444

We Are Here (culturally specific programs)

MPS supports available through each school's support staff

MPS Liaison, Family Peace Center

Jessica Goodman Schutz
Phone: 414-810-1928

Violence Prevention Office

6620 W. Capitol Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53216


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