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Safe Dates

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A ten-session dating abuse prevention program to raise students' awareness of what constitutes healthy and abusive dating relationships, as well as the causes and consequences of dating abuse.

Program Outcomes

  • Sexual Violence
  • Violence
  • Violent Victimization

Program Type

  • Community, Other Approaches
  • School - Individual Strategies

Program Setting

  • Community (e.g., religious, recreation)
  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)
  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)
  • Indicated Prevention (Early Symptoms of Problem)


  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising
  • Crime Solutions: Effective
  • OJJDP Model Programs: Effective
  • SAMHSA: 2.9-3.3

Program Information Contact

Safe Dates
15251 Pleasant Valley Road, P.O. Box 176
Center City, MN 55012-0176
Phone: (800) 328-9000 ext. 4324

Program Developer/Owner

  • Vangie Foshee
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Brief Description of the Program

Safe Dates is a ten-session dating abuse prevention program for middle/high school students consisting of both school and community components. The school component has a curriculum that is implemented in schools by regular classroom teachers and targets primary prevention, while the community component targets secondary prevention by providing support groups and activities for youth as well as information for parents. The curriculum in the school component can also be presented by community resource people outside of the school setting. Each session is 45-50 minutes in length and includes the following topics: defining caring relationships, defining dating abuse, why people abuse, helping friends, overcoming gender stereotypes, equal power through communication, how we feel/how we deal, and preventing sexual assault. Booster sessions can also be offered after the initial administration of the curriculum.

See: Full Description


  • Safe Dates is effective in preventing and reducing violence perpetration among teens already perpetrating dating violence.
  • Safe Dates resulted in less acceptance of dating violence, stronger communication/anger management skills, less gender stereotyping, and greater awareness of community services.

Compared to the control group, participants in the treatment group schools showed the following improvements at one-month follow-up:

  • 25% less psychological perpetration;
  • 60% less sexual violence perpetration;
  • 60% less violence perpetrated against a current dating partner.

At one-year follow-up (Foshee et al., 2014), participants in the treatment group showed the following improvements compared to participants in the control group:

  • 12% lower rates of reported peer violence victimization
  • 23% lower rates of reported peer violence perpetration among a subsample of minority students
  • 31% lower odds of carrying a weapon to school

Follow-up results at one year showed a relapse in behavioral outcomes, but at four year follow-up, the following results were found among Safe Dates participants compared to the control group participants:

  • Between 56 - 92% less reported physical, serious physical, and sexual dating violence perpetration and victimization;
  • Adolescents who received Safe Dates reported perpetrating significantly less psychological, moderate physical, and sexual dating violence perpetration at all four follow-up waves;
  • Safe Dates-only adolescents who reported no severe physical perpetration or average amounts of severe physical perpetration at baseline reported significantly less severe physical perpetration than control group adolescents at each of the four follow-up waves.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

Safe dates had been proven equally effective for Caucasians and culturally diverse audiences.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Favorable attitudes towards antisocial behavior*
  • Peer: Interaction with antisocial peers
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Prosocial involvement
  • Family: Attachment to parents
  • Neighborhood/Community: Opportunities for prosocial involvement

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

See also: Safe Dates Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

Implementation training is available from Hazelden Safe Dates trainers. This hands-on program prepares teachers to deliver Safe Dates with competence and confidence. This training has demonstrated its ability to help participants implement Safe Dates in a way that will garner the outcomes it promises (due to fidelity to the model) and to significantly decrease preparation time. Generally, implementation training is offered on-site for school districts or community organizations, but occasionally Hazelden will offer open-enrollment workshops for multiple organizations. The cost of an on-site workshop (one-day) is $2,200, plus transportation and lodging expenses for the trainer. Open-enrollment workshops are $175.00 per person.

Training Certification Process

Under a special licensing arrangement with Hazelden, organizations may be granted the authority to train Safe Dates implementers within a geographic region. A three-day training-of-trainers workshop is then held to prepare facilitators to provide implementation training for teachers, counselors, and others who will deliver Safe Dates training to young people in a variety of settings. The cost of this program is $6,200 plus transportation and lodging expenses for the trainer.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Safe Dates was evaluated with 8th and 9th grade students in 14 public schools that were matched and each matched pair was then randomly assigned to treatment or control conditions. Evaluation has focused on the effects of the Safe Dates program on the primary and secondary prevention of dating violence. Primary prevention is achieved when the first perpetration of dating violence is precluded. Secondary prevention occurs when victims stop being victimized or perpetrators stop being violent. Data were collected from baseline (October 1994) through four years after program completion.


Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Arriaga, X. B., Helms, R. W., Koch, G. G., & Linder, G. F. (1998). An evaluation of Safe Dates, an adolescent dating violence prevention program. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 45-50.

Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Ennett, S., Linder, G. F., Benefield, T., & Suchindran, C. (2004). Assessing the long-term effects of Safe Dates and a booster in preventing and reducing dating violence victimization and perpetration. American Journal of Public Health, 94, 619-624.

Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Ennett, S. T., Suchindran, C., Benefield, T., & Linder, G. F. (2005). Assessing the effects of dating violence prevention program "Safe Dates" using random coefficient regression modeling. Prevention Science, 6(3), 245-257.

Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Greene, W. F., Koch, G. G., Linder, G. F., & MacDougall, J. E. (2000). The Safe Dates program: One-year follow-up results. American Journal of Public Health, 90, 1619-1622

Foshee, V. A., Benefield, T. S., Ennett, S. T., Bauman, K. E ., & Suchindran, C. (2004). Longitudinal predictors of serious physical and sexual dating violence victimization during adolescence. Preventive Medicine, 39, 1007-1016.

Foshee, V. A., Linder, G. F., Bauman, K. E., Langwick, S. A., Arriaga, X. B., Heath, J. L., . Bangdiwala, S. (1996). The Safe Dates project: Theoretical basis, evaluation design, and selected baseline findings. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12, 39-47.

Foshee, V. A., Reyes, L. M., Agnew-brune, C., Simon, T. R., Vagi, K. J., Lee, R. D., & Suchindran, C. (2014). The effects of the evidence-based safe dates dating abuse prevention program on other youth violence outcomes. Prevention Science, 15(6), 907-916.