BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

Adolescent dating violence (ADV) is a significant public health problem that, according to various estimates, affects 9% to 34% of adolescents in the United States. Schools can play an important role in preventing ADV. However, little is known about school personnel\x{2019}s practices and perceptions regarding ADV. This study assessed high school counselors' knowledge, training, perceptions, and practices on dealing with ADV incidents.

METHODS:

A national random sample (n = 550) of high school counselors who were members of the American School Counselors Association were sent a valid and reliable questionnaire on ADV. A 3-wave mailing procedure was used to increase the response rate, which was 58%. Statistically significant differences (P < .05) were calculated by using t tests, χ2 tests, analysis of variance, and logistic regression.

RESULTS:

A majority of the school counselors reported that they did not have a protocol in their schools to respond to an incident of ADV (81.3%). Additionally, the majority (90%) of counselors reported that in the past 2 years, training to assist survivors of teen dating abuse has not been provided to personnel in their schools, their school did not conduct periodic student surveys that include questions on teen dating abuse behaviors (83%), and their school did not have a committee that meets periodically to address health and safety issues that include teen dating abuse (76%).

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of this study indicate that schools do not find ADV a high-priority issue to be addressed in their student populations.

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