Expect Respect: Healthy Relationships

People involved in abusive relationships often believe this is the only kind of relationship available. This brochure emphasizes that it does not have to be that way and provides information about healthy dating relationships and how to recognize and prevent intimate partner violence. There is a checklist that helps teenagers assess their own relationships, and since it is written in gender-neutral terms, it underscores the fact that abusive and controlling behavior can occur in any kind of relationship and to anyone.

It is important to keep in mind that teenagers are still experimenting with intimate relationships. Therefore, they may be more amenable to change and improving the quality of their relationships than adults. This is why school-based programs designed to reduce dating violence appear to be somewhat effective.

How to Use This Tool

  • This topic should be introduced as soon as patients reveal that they are involved in a relationship, show an interest in dating, or are engaging in sexual behavior.
  • The issue of healthy relationships can be brought up along with common physical concerns, such as sexually transmitted diseases.
  • The brochure is also designed to use when clinicians are involved either directly or indirectly in sex education courses at schools.
Helpful Hints

  • At the end of a physical examination, it may be appropriate to say to the patient, "Today we have discussed some of the physical issues involved in intimate relationships. I'd like you to have a look at this and maybe think about some of the emotional relationship issues that are just as important." While this brochure was designed for all teenagers, it had the most resonance with the young females in focus groups. It is a good idea to keep this in mind when talking with both male and female adolescents
  • When giving this brochure to a patient, it may be useful to give the companion brochure, "Teen Dating Violence: Tips for Parents," to the parents.

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