Healthy Teen Relationships Act Collaborative Implementation

You are here

Healthy Teen Relationships Act Collaborative Implementation

2016/2017 School Year

Expanding on work established through the CORE grant program, OSBHA is proud to be partnering with two Multnomah County school-based health centers and community based domestic and sexual violence agencies, Raphael House of Portland and VOA Home Free, to develop a model for collaborative implementation of the Healthy Teen Relationships Act (HTRA). Our goal is to use collective impact model to drive social change that will support healthy relationships for youth.

Healthy Teen Relationships Act (HTRA) requires all school districts to adopt a policy that:  

  • States that teen dating violence is unacceptable and is prohibited and that each student has the right to a safe learning environment;

  • Incorporates age-appropriate education about teen dating violence into new or existing training programs for students in grades 7-12, and school employees as recommended by school officials;

  • Identifies by job title the school officials who are responsible for receiving reports related to teen dating violence, which shall be the same school officials identified in the policy adopted by the school district under [the Safe Schools and Equality Act of 2009, which prohibits bullying, cyberbullying and harassment];

  • Establishes procedures for the manner in which employees of a school are to respond to incidents of teen dating violence that take place at the school, on school grounds at school-sponsored activities or in vehicles used for school-provided transportation;

  • Notifies students and parents of the teen dating violence policy adopted by the board.

Raphael House and VOA Home Free have provided this education in high school health classes for 10 years—our project capitalizes on and adds additional value to their existing prevention and education work by expanding the ability of school communities to promote socio-cultural norms that support healthy relationship choices and behaviors and to enact existing national and Oregon policies. This education is unique to domestic and sexual violence agencies and in our project, Raphael House and VOA Home Free’s work focuses specifically on healthy relationships support, messages, and framing by giving targeted lessons on respect, consent, communication skills, and bystander intervention.

One of the best ways to prevent sexual violence among adults is to educate them about healthy relationships as young people," said Senator Claire McCaskill, a former courtroom prosecutor of sex crimes, when speaking about the Teach Safe Relationships Act. “As we’ve seen in our work to curb sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, most young adults form opinions and behaviors about sex and relationships before they hit 18—so if we can better teach them about consent and safety when they’re young, we can better prevent violence and promote safe behavior in their futures.”

Building on established relationships in Multnomah County, and on community partner work ongoing in Portland Public Schools, OSBHA seeks to develop a pilot model in two Portland Public high schools that can be replicated statewide.  . There has been little systemization of this work or involvement from school-based health centers. Our project will create a model that will have greater impact, better systemization of health promotion services, and will include a critical center of health promotion within schools—the school-based health centers (SBHCs).SBHCs will be identified as a place students can come for support to make their relationships healthier, and receive advocacy support if they’re experiencing something they identify as unhealthy. A trained advocate will actively listen, provide community based resources as needed, and facilitate peer support within the school community.  

OSBHA is granting Raphael House and VOA Home Free funding to strengthen relationships, expand education and advocacy support in schools and capitalize on the strong relationships OSBHA maintains with school-based health centers, with the intent of developing a model for schools to replicate throughout Oregon. This model will build on the education in health classes provided by Raphael House and VOA, draw a connection to the services and support offered in SBHCs, and will include advocacy and support within SBHCs for students as needed. Focused support for the entire school community will be offered to encourage conversations about the practice of healthy relationships and sexuality within the community. This project will establish a stronger collaborative relationship between SBHCs and schools, using community partners as a bridge between health and education. It will also develop a specialization within SBHCs to more effectively address the relationship health needs of students.

A special thank you to the EC Brown Foundation for its continued support to improve the social and sexual health of Oregon’s young people.