Violence against children and teens can have lifelong consequences, whether the violence stems from bullying and harassment online or by peers, maltreatment by family members or friends, or victimization and abuse by others in their community.
In fact, studies show that exposure to violence, especially at an early age, increases the risks of injury, delayed cognitive development, poor school performance and dropout, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems and criminal behavior. Schools can offer an important space where children can learn and develop positive behaviors that could prevent violence in the first place.
The North Dakota-based Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) established programming with Grand Forks Public Schools (GFPS) in 2001 that led to the creation of the Safer Tomorrows Road Map—a groundbreaking and comprehensive program that provides healthy relationship education, violence prevention programs and therapy services to K–12 students. The goal of the Safer Tomorrows Road Map is to disrupt cultural norms and end interpersonal violence in two generations.
Stopping violence before it begins is paramount to CVIC’s mission. Founded in 1980, CVIC is the only organization in the region to holistically address the community-wide issue of interpersonal violence by supporting adult and child survivors, as well as community bystanders and the individuals who have caused harm.
“Safe and supportive school environments positively impact academic, behavioral and mental health outcomes for students. The Safer Tomorrows Road Map leverages its partnership with GFPS to ensure that children and teens receive a prevention-centered curriculum focused on building healthy relationships in age-appropriate ways,” said Coiya Tompkins, President and CEO of CVIC.
“Using an evidence-based and evidence-informed curriculum, we’re helping students enhance their communication, conflict-management and problem-solving skills, and assisting them in building positive family and peer-to-peer relationships. Our Safer Tomorrows Road Map has received national recognition for creating a cultural shift in how schools and communities can equip children for a better life, free from violence. We look forward to helping other school districts to replicate this program and its success.”