Planting the TREE: A Faith-Based Program for Teen Dating Violence Prevention

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Abstract

In this case study, we describe Teen Relationship Education Empowerment (TREE), a faith-based prevention program to reduce teen dating violence (TDV). Faith communities have tremendous potential to address multilevel risk and protective factors for TDV. We first describe the program, which is a 2-session psychoeducational training for congregation members designed to encourage discussion and programming in their own faith communities on TDV prevention. We also outline lessons learned based on our experiences and the extant literature, including practical strategies for identifying and engaging potential church partners, as well as designing and delivering evidence-based, culturally resonant TDV education within faith communities. These strategies may help others who wish to contest the “holy hush” in churches around TDV and engage the larger community in important conversations about healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. Clinical implications and future research directions are discussed.

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