Our Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) partners with nine New York City high schools to provide outreach, education and counseling on abusive relationships. In each school a coordinator works on premises and develops a Peer Leadership mentoring team, reaching over 2,000 teens per year with the goal of raising awareness and offering intervention and prevention counseling. RAPP also provides training for teachers, individual and group counseling for students, educational classes, workshops peer leadership training and facilitates special school events for students.
Mentoring programs, such as our peer leadership model, have been demonstrated effective, increasing adolescent recognition of the inappropriateness of using violence with a meta-analytic review of all teen prevention efforts finding significant reductions in violent behavior and improved social and conflict resolution skills. Our own evaluation results indicate that 96% of school-based clients report that they are more confident making decisions, 81% more hopeful about the future, and 100% of respondents stating that they would recommend RAPP to a friend. In our most recent analysis we found that 96% of RAPP seniors who received individual counseling graduated from high school and 83% were admitted to college.
Our Teen Accountability Program (TAP) is the only mandated accountability program in New York City working with young men who have shown signs of violence towards their girlfriends or female family members.
The main objective of this 26-week group program is to educate teen men in an effort to deter abusive behavior that would eventually lead to imprisonment and to promote healthy relationships.
Participants are urged to take responsibility for their actions while examining ways in which their abusive controlling behaviors damage others as well as themselves.
Integrating social learning and feminist theory, TAP and programs similarly designed are promising interventions to reduce future abuse.2 The TAP program was highlighted in the Gotham Gazette [link to pdf in news archives] and recently delivered a webinar through the Battered Women’s Project on The Youthful Offender Domestic Violence Court.
2. Whitaker, D. J., Morrison, S., Lindquist, C., Hawkins, S. R., O’Neil, J. A., Nesius, A. M., … & Reese, L. R. (2006). A critical review of interventions for the primary prevention of perpetration of partner violence. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 11(2), 151.