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Safe and Healthy Teen Relationship Skills

In order to prevent abusive and coercive teen relationships, young people need to develop healthy relationship skills. This list provides a sampling of some excellent resources. Some are meant for teen audiences, while others provide information for advocates and other youth-serving professionals.

Resources

Acquire good basic sexual knowledge

Talk About Sex
This online booklet from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) gives teens an overview of sexual information. While it uses the outmoded term "date rape," it gives clear messages that empower teens to make informed choices and resist pressure.
Planned Parenthood on Sex and Sexuality
This site provides clear, basic information about sexual anatomy, sexual pleasure, and how our bodies function. While the information about sexual coercion is limited, it contains accurate answers to questions teens may have about sex and sexuality.

Evaluate the quality of a relationship

Signs of An Unhealthy Gay Teen Relationship
It's rare to find candid relationship advice for gay teens. This article discusses how partners treat each other, and points out potential difficulties in the areas of sexual, physical, and emotional health.

Develop healthy relationship skills

Relationship Traffic: An Intimate Partner Abuse Prevention Curriculum for Runaway and Homeless Youth
Although this curriculum is designed for a specific population, it contains a wealth of information and activities to teach youth about topics such as maintaining personal boundaries, cultural influences, and red flags for dangerous relationships that could be used or adapted for a variety of populations.
The Key to a Great Relationship - You, At Your Best!
This is a one-page article for anyone who is interested in having a happy, healthy relationship.

Understand consent

Sexual Consent
This short YouTube video is very explicit, but it is hilarious. A young couple on a blind date start talking about consent, and suddenly lawyers appear to negotiate their sexual activities. It's more suited for college-age youth, and as a springboard for discussion among youth-serving professionals.

Know the law

Sexual Assault Rape and Consent Booklet
Developed by teens for teens under the auspices of Partners in Prevention Education, this booklet reviews Washington State's laws about the age of consent for sexual activity. Youth-serving programs in Thurston County may receive free hard copies, and other Washington agencies can request a free CD with the downloadable version. Teens need detailed, practical information to learn about what is legal and what is not, and this booklet provides the answers.
Teen Sexual Assault Survivors: Legal Impacts and Considerations
This issue of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs' publication Connections contains a variety of articles addressing different aspects of teens' legal concerns, from obtaining protection orders to addressing sexual assault in the school setting. The focus of the publication is on practical information that will be useful for advocates.

Identify grooming behaviors

Unmasking Sexual Con Games
This set of books includes teen and parent versions, as well as an instructor's manual. The focus is on understanding the grooming process and teaching teens necessary skills so they won't be deceived and harmed.
Sexual Coercion and Sexual Exploitation of Minor Teens
(Statutory Rape) [curriculum module for youth service providers] Created by Virginians Aligned Against Sexual Assault, this curriculum provides explanations and activities to help teens understand the grooming process and how to counteract deception.

Have the language to say NO

Lesson Plan to Teach Teens Delaying Tactics and What to Say
This is a specific, behavioral lesson that gives teens some suggested language to say to another person if they are approached for sex and do not want to participate.
101 Ways to Say NO to Sex
High school students from Kansas and California generated this list of ways to say NO. Some are more appropriate than others, but the list is a great way to generate a discussion of this topic.

Use technology safely and with respect

A Thin Line
MTV's teen-friendly site has videos, quizzes, and a plethora of information about sexting, cyber-bullying, relationship abuse, online privacy, and many other topics.
That's Not Cool
This is a fun site for teens with a serious message - it's not okay to harass the people you supposedly care about. Through humorous videos and fun graphics, That's Not Cool gives teens information and helps them build skills for dealing with intrusive and abusive behaviors.
Technology Safety
This issue of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Program's Connections is all about tech safety. Articles include "Teens and Social Networking," "Kids' Online Safety," "Using Technology as an Advocacy Tool," and more.

Name the problem of abuse

Teen Power & Control Wheel
This updated version of the widely used Power and Control Wheel graphic is specific to teen abuse. You can click on a section of the wheel (for example, "Sexual Coercion") and more information will pop up, including advice from peer advocates - very cool!
Teen Dating Violence Facts
This four-page fact sheet from the American Bar Association is a great educational tool.

Create a support system

Faith Trust Institute
"FaithTrust Institute is a national, multifaith, multicultural training and education organization with global reach working to end sexual and domestic violence." Educating faith communities about sexual violence creates supportive resources for youth.
Teen Dating Violence - What Parents Need to Know
This brief online fact sheet from the Massachusetts Medical Association gives parents some insight into abusive teen relationships and outlines some practical steps they can take to respond and protect their children.

Additional Resources

Reviewed: August 10th, 2016