The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be part of the solution to end relationship violence

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What do I do if a student discloses an incident of abuse?


What qualifies as abuse?


Do I need to report suspected abuse?


What is the best thing I can do for my students if they disclose an incident of abuse? (Listen)


If a Student Discloses Being a Victim of Teen Dating Violence


Key Points to Convey:

  • I’m glad that you’ve told me.
  • This is important.
  • I want you to be safe.
  • Let’s make sure you get the support you need right now.



  • Whether the student would like to speak with the school counselor.  (You can offer to accompany the student to the counselor if it will help the student take the extra step.)
  • Whether the student is aware of, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.  This is a helpline that teens can access to talk on the phone or chat online with teens trained on healthy relationship issues.
  • What other adults the student can talk with, to get the support needed to be safe.
  • What support the student needs to feel safe.



  • Local hotline numbers or resources that the student can take away and use later, such as the card for, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.
  • Remember: Your job is not to be a counselor or ride in on a white horse to rescue anyone.  Your role is to give information and connect people with additional resources as needed.


If You Suspect Dating Violence in a Relationship

  • You can mention your concerns to the student privately.
  • You can say: “I’ve seen some things that have made me wonder whether you’re getting the respect you deserve in your relationship.  And I want to give you this helpline number, in case you ever want to talk things through with someone.”


If You Believe a Student is Being Abusive

  • You can let the student know privately that you are concerned that he/she is on the wrong track.
  • You can say: “I’ve seen (or heard you say) some things that make me wonder if your relationship is as respectful as it should be, or if it could be leading up to abuse.  I am concerned about how I’ve seen you treating X.  Because I respect you, I wanted to let you know that, so that you could think about it.”
  • You can share information about, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, a resource where the student can talk on the phone or chat online with teens trained to help other teens think about healthy relationships.


If You Witness an Act of Dating Violence

  • Follow your school’s policy on violence.
  • If an incident is in progress, intervene or get help to intervene.
  • What to say: “I saw (the act of violence).  I am concerned for your safety.”  (Or, if you are speaking to the student who was violent: “I am concerned about your behavior.”)
  • Also: “This violated our school policy on violence, which means I will have to talk with someone about it.”  Tell the student what your policy requires you to do and ask what kind of support (school counselor, friend, parents) they will need for the process that is to follow.
  • Connect the student to additional resources for support, for example,, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline.


From The Center For Relationship Abuse Awareness,