: Preventing Dating Abuse : About Choose Respect

About Choose Respect...


Choose Respect is an initiative to help adolescents form healthy relationships to prevent dating abuse before it starts. This national effort is designed to motivate adolescents to challenge harmful beliefs about dating abuse and take steps to form respectful relationships.

The Need

Unhealthy relationship behaviors can start early and last a lifetime. According to recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating violence. Even more startling, adolescents who report experiencing dating violence are also more likely to report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting and current sexual activity.

The Goal

Choose Respect is designed to encourage positive action on the part of adolescents to form healthy, respectful relationships. Research for the initiative shows most adolescents have positive, healthy attitudes about their relationships with others. Choose Respect seeks to reinforce and sustain these positive attitudes among adolescents as they get older and begin to enter dating relationships by:

  • Providing effective messages for adolescents, parents, caregivers and teachers that encourage them to choose to treat themselves and others with respect.
  • Creating opportunities for adolescents and parents to learn about positive relationship behaviors.
  • Increasing adolescents' ability to recognize and prevent unhealthy, violent relationships.
  • Promoting ways for a variety of audiences to get information and other tools to prevent dating abuse.

The Audience

Choose Respect reaches out to adolescents, ages 11 to 14, because they're still forming attitudes and beliefs that will affect how they are treated and how they treat others. The initiative also connects with parents, teachers, youth leaders and other caregivers who influence the lives of young teens.


Choose Respect messages are supported by a variety of materials including eCards, posters, bookmarks, pocket guides, online games, television and radio spots, activity ideas, and clickable quizzes that inspire youth to choose respect. This innovative mix of interactive learning tools also includes Causing Pain: Real Stories of Dating Abuse and Violence, an award-winning video featuring compelling stories of teens, parents, and professionals who have been in or witnessed abusive relationships. Download the Choose Respect materials or order them.

Choose Respect National Launch

Launched nationally in May 2006, the Choose Respect initiative was implemented as an integrated communications effort in 10 major U.S. cities: Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Phoenix, San Antonio, Topeka, and Washington DC. The Choose Respect Annual Report presents the highlights of the national launch, including information about the background and development of the initiative. Key to the success of the national launch was the efforts of the Choose Respect community partners who utilized diverse ways to promote the initiative. Read their Choose Respect success stories to learn more.