One in three teens in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

TeenSafe is seeking to change that statistic, with a particular focus on raising awareness about the issue in the Jewish community.

TeenSafe is JF&CS Journey to Safety’s response to dating abuse in our community. Through leadership, skill-building and education, TeenSafe helps teens develop the language and tools they need to recognize abuse in a dating relationship and how to respond if they see, hear about or experience it.

Looking through a Jewish lens, the program aims to generate community-wide awareness to empower Jewish teens and the adults in their lives to prevent dating abuse and promote healthy and respectful behavior in dating relationships.

The program has two components:

TeenSafe workshops: The TeenSafe coordinator and peer leaders run dynamic, interactive workshops designed to engage students in thinking about what is and is not healthy behavior in dating relationships.

These programs also help students identify controlling or abusive behavior and know how to respond if they experience, see or hear about it. Customized for the age group and setting, TeenSafe programs are created for middle- and high-school students in synagogues, day schools, youth groups, community centers and other teen (and occasionally secular) spaces. The workshops can be scheduled as a single event or multi-session experience.

TeenSafe Peer Leaders program: Peer leaders meet roughly once a month (with a few possible additional meetings early in the year) from October through May or June.

Throughout the year, group members enhance leadership and presentation skills, develop a deeper understanding about healthy and unhealthy behaviors in relationships and participate in fun activities. Following completion of a comprehensive training, TeenSafe participants create awareness-raising projects, design and run workshops and represent TeenSafe at local events. The peer leaders group is open to students in grades 10-12.