A Healthier Wisconsin

Promoting Healthy Relationships Among LGBT Youth

Implementing intimate partner violence prevention programming to promote healthy dating behavior among LGBT youth in Wisconsin

Full Project Name:Promoting Healthy Relationships Among LGBT YouthPrimary Community Organization:Diverse & Resilient, Inc.Primary Academic Partner:Carol Galletly, PhD, Psychiarty and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$750,000.00
Award Date
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:

In a national sample of 117 adolescents who reported exclusively same-sex intimate relationships, 14.6% of males and 26% of females reported psychological violence, and 24% of males and 28% of females reported physical violence. While those in same-sex relationships typically experience the same types of violence as those in opposite-sex relationships, same-sex youth report the additional fear of being outed by their partner.

Results from the 2009 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveal that LGBT youth in Wisconsin are at significantly greater risk of experiencing violence in their dating relationships than their heterosexual peers. Additionally, 35% of same-sex youth reported they had been forced, either verbally or physically, to take part in a sexual activity compared to 12% of heterosexual youth.

Aiming to reduce disparities in intimate partner and dating violence that exist among LGBT youth in Wisconsin, project partners seek to promote healthy relationship behaviors among LGBT youth in Wisconsin (ages 14-24) by implementing community- and group-level IPV prevention programming alongside social marketing, peer outreach, and social media strategies to shift social norms about healthy dating behavior among LGBT youth.

Community partners: Alexander Hamilton High School (Milwaukee), Alliance School (Milwaukee), Bay View High School (Milwaukee), El Puente High School (Milwaukee), LGBT Partnership (Green Bay/Appleton), Milwaukee Public Schools, Our Next Generation, Inc. (Milwaukee), Sojourner Family Peace Center (Milwaukee), Youth Go (Neenah)

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Engaged LGBT youth and stakeholders to review and share feedback through the project, including around project materials including the development of curriculums and youth-developed activities, social marketing, peer outreach, and social media strategies
  • Adapted Safe Dates evidence-based curriculum to better address and support the unique needs of LGBT youth
  • Increased access to culturally competant IPV prevention services, training 30 youth development specialists to conduct a Safe Dates curriculum that reached over 450 LGBT youth, training nearly 30 youth health promotors to conduct one-on-one peer outreach that reached nearly 1,400 youth
  • Disseminated information on healthy dating behaviors through messages and articles on social media and a rm2bsafe website, reaching more than 28,000 youth
  • Secured funding for a statewide initiative to expand the availability of resources to LGBT youth statewide, including launching the RoomToBeSafe resource line
  • Evaluated effectiveness of the adapted Safe Dates curriculum, using feedback to create a Safe Dates online toolkit and two additional adaptations of the curriculum to allow for shorter versions to reach more youth while maintaining the fidelity of the program
  • Presented project at various meetings and events such as Wisconsin LGBT Leadership Conference, Sojourner Family Peace Center’s Healthy Relationships Summit, and the 2016 Safe Schools, Safe Communities Conference
  • Leveraged $150,000 in funding from other sources

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