Friday, October 15, 2021



Interactive Web-based Resources for Building Healthy Relationship Skills in Elementary School-Aged Children

 The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) in partnership with the Department of Education (DOE), leading youth dating violence prevention organization Day One, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and the Jerome Chazen Fund to Address Domestic Violence are excited to announce the launch of “The ABCs of Healthy Relationships.” The ABCs of Healthy Relationships is an interactive web-based toolkit to help elementary school students develop healthy relationships with their friends and classmates as building blocks for healthier partner relationships as they grow older, as well as toolkits for their educators, and their caregivers. Using vibrant and relatable illustrations, the toolkits support the development of healthy relationship foundations such as respect, consent, boundaries, body autonomy, safety, and trust. 

The ABCs of Healthy Relationships student toolkits and parent, caregiver and educator guides are free and are available to all young people and adults in NYC through the ENDGBV website, and DOE Parent University. To celebrate the launch of this exciting resource, ENDGBV and DOE will host a virtual program for parents and caregivers on October 19. “Helping Our Kids Build Healthy Relationships” will be livestreamed on Parent University and will provide an opportunity for parents and caregivers to walk through the toolkits and engage with early childhood experts on effective ways to talk with children about healthy relationships. 


"Teaching children how to set boundaries and recognize controlling and abusive behavior, helps them learn how to develop healthy relationships,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “This new toolkit expands on our commitment to break the cycle of domestic violence and prevent trauma.”


“No child is too young to talk to about healthy relationships,” said New York City Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog. “We are committed to providing young people the tools they need to build the relationships they want, which means addressing dating violence, and all forms of gender-based violence.”


The ABCs of Healthy Relationships will strategically build upon current City efforts to prevent domestic and gender-based violence including ENDGBV’s Healthy Relationship Training Academy; the Human Resource Administration’s Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP); and the Early RAPP program championed by First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray which has brought community educators into more than 100 middle schools throughout the city,” said Cecile Noel, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. “This program will engage children at an early age and provide them crucial tools to help build healthy relationships with self and community.”


The 2017 New York City Risk Behavior Survey found that 3,000 New York City public school students aged 14 and younger who were dating had been physically harmed by a dating partner in 2017. In addition, 6,000 students also aged 14 and younger reported that they had been forced to do sexual things they did not want to do, such as kissing, touching, or being physically forced to have sexual intercourse by someone they were dating. Understanding the need to address healthy relationships in earlier grades as detailed in the New York City Department of Education K-5 Health Education Scope and Sequence includes learning about healthy relationships at a young age.


With support from the Jerome Chazen Fund to Address Domestic Violence through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the City has contracted with Day One to create The ABCs of Healthy Relationships.


“As educators it is our duty to equip our young people with the knowledge to build healthy relationships, recognize boundaries, and advocate for themselves as they mature,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “I’m grateful to our agency partners for developing this critical resource for New York City students, which will help ensure our children are healthy, happy, and empowered as they navigate relationships throughout their lives.”


“An important step to ending gender-based violence starts with early intervention,” said Daniele Baierlein and Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Co-Executive Directors of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “That’s why we’re so excited to be partnering with the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, Department of Education, Day One, and the Chazen Foundation to give children the opportunity and tools they need to build healthy relationships and learn about the physical and emotional safety they’re entitled to.” 


“We believe strongly in the need to provide young children with the tools and skills they need to prevent unhealthy relationships of all kinds before they reach dating age,” said Jerome A. Chazen, the Jerome Chazen Fund to Address Domestic Violence. “We are thrilled to be part of this city-wide initiative and believe broad education programs reaching all youth are critical to help ensure we turn the page on unhealthy relationships.”


“In order to reduce rates of domestic violence and sexual assault substantially, we must begin earlier,” said Stephanie Nilva, Executive Director of Day One. “Day One is proud to collaborate with ENDGBV on the ABCs of Healthy Relationships, which will equip children and adolescents with language and skills to have healthy interactions with friends and to build safe intimate relationships in their dating and adult years.”

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