Friends Helping Friends: A Community Based program on Dating Violence

Dating violence is a significant problem for older adolescents with implications for the survivor's health. Survivors disclose the violence to friends who are often ill equipped to help them manage the consequences. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of Friends Helping Friends, a community-level education program to teach older adolescents to recognize and intervene in dating violence. A convenience sample of 101 students aged 18 to 22 years were nonrandomly allocated to a treatment or control group and completed pre- and post-test measures. Compared with the control group, treatment group participants reported increased perceived responsibility to help, skills to act as a bystander, and intention to help and decreased rape myth acceptance. Friends Helping Friends shows promise as an effective strategy for older adolescent females in the prevention and response to dating violence.