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Expect Respect, A Project of SAFE


Delivery Approach:
  • Group
Delivery Format:
  • In-Person
  • Virtual
  • Hybrid
Provider Requirements:
  • DV/SA Advocate Led
  • Licensed/Certified Professional Led
Type of Experience Addressed:
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Community Violence
  • Neglect
  • Teen Dating Violence
Engagement Methods:
  • Culturally Grounded
  • Experiential
  • Talk-Based
  • Arts-Based
  • Dance/Theater Based
Level of Intervention:
  • Primary Prevention
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Tertiary Prevention
  • Intervention
  • Greater than 12 weeks
  • Community-Based Agency
  • Correctional
  • Domestic Violence Shelter
  • Family Service Agencies
  • Residential
  • School
  • Mental Health Setting
  • Foster Care
  • Health Services
Program Details:
Type of services provided:

Expect Respect works at the forefront of prevention and early intervention to break the cycle of abuse in children’s lives and prevent violence from happening in the first place. Expect Respect is built on an ecological, trauma-informed model that supports vulnerable youth who have already been exposed to violence, mobilizes youth leaders, and promotes safe schools and communities. Our primary program components and resources include:

    • School-based support groups and counseling
    • Youth leadership development
    • Educational theater
    • The Expect Respect® program manual
    • Resources for educators.

The Expect Respect team can support you in adapting the program to your community.

Expect Respect support groups provide a safe environment to increase emotion regulation and communication skills, identify qualities of healthy relationships, challenge unhealthy gender norms, learn skills for supportive peer and dating relationships, and experience a sense of belonging and connection.

In secondary schools, licensed counselors and trained facilitators provide 24 weekly curriculum-based sessions; in elementary schools the curriculum consists of 16 sessions. In addition, individual counseling and advocacy are provided to help keep children safe, healthy, and in school. All services are provided during the school day and are free and confidential. Expect Respect groups support students who:

      • Have experienced any form of violence or abuse
      • Are involved in unhealthy peer or dating relationships
      • Have difficulty managing anger
      • Are involved in bullying or sexual harassment
      • Worry about making their partner angry or jealous
      • Use alcohol or drugs
      • Are pregnant or parenting
      • Appear socially isolated from peers


Program setting:

Community-based agency, correctional, domestic violence shelter, family service agencies, foster care, health services, mental health setting, residential, and/or school.

Length of program/number of sessions:

24 weeks for the secondary support groups and 16 sessions for the elementary support groups.

Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:

Domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, community violence, neglect, and teen dating violence.

Education level of providers:

While there is no education level requirement, program implementers must have a strong background in understanding the dynamics of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The program is best implemented by a DV/SA advocate. Expect Respect prefers a licensed counselor or social worker to lead the support group component, and at a minimum requires this work to be supervised by a licensed professional.

Additional information:

The socio-ecological comprehensive Expect Respect model includes:

      • Community Member and Campus Engagement to create safer and more welcoming environments by improving response and prevention efforts on campus.
      • Youth Leadership Initiatives to influence positive social norms when it comes to healthy relationships by combining the arts and activism
      • Support Groups to provide confidential, supportive spaces for young people who have been exposed to, experienced, and/or witnessed violence. 
        Unique/Innovative Characteristics:

        Expect Respect adapted curriculum sessions to Nearpod to make the program accessible virtually in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Date Added/Updated:

January 9th, 2024.

Population Served

  • 6-12 (Childhood)
  • 13-17 (Adolescent)
  • 18-25 (Young Adult)
Population Language:
  • English
Ethnic Racial Group:
  • Asian
  • Black or African American
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Indigenous People – American Indian/Native American, Alaska Native
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • Unspecified Ethnic or Racial Group
  • White
  • Child
  • Community
Population Adaptations:
Age range of people served:

6-12 (Childhood), 13-17 (Adolescent), and 18-25 (Young Adult). The Expect Respect support groups are helpful for anyone but are particularly helpful for youth who have been exposed to violence. Expect Respect serves young people ages 9-25.

Are parent/adult caregiver(s) included in intervention?


Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

The program model is not intended for any particular racial or ethnic group.

A peer group is best, especially made up of students who do not know each other. It can also be adapted for residential schools and programs of students who live together. 

Specific cultural adaptations:


Languages that service/resource is available:



Goals of the program/services:

Expect Respect has 3 primary program components that 1) support students who have been exposed to violence, 2) mobilize youth as leaders and 3) engage schools, parents and community organizations in creating safe and healthy environments. Expect Respect is a program designed to promote healthy teen relationships and prevent dating abuse.

Measured outcomes:

  • Youth increase knowledge to differentiate abusive from respectful relationships
  • Youth increase motivation to speak up when they see abusive or harassing behaviors
  • Support Group participants increase skills for healthy relationships
  • Support Group participants increase sense of support
  • Youth increase in willingness to get help for problems in relationships (Education and Leadership components)
  • Youth increase in willingness to get help for problems in relationships (Support Group component)


Basis of Knowledge:

Lived Expertise: the program model is rooted in the expertise of those most impacted by the program, such as survivor perspectives, identities, and histories, beyond professional or educational experience. Expect Respect centers young people and their unique experiences. 

Practice-Based Evidence: the program model is based on various treatment approaches and supports derived from and supportive of the local community culture. Expect Respect has programming components that span the socio-ecological model to engage communities and campuses, youth leaders, and support youth directly impacted.

Research: the program model and materials have been investigated in a systematic process. Expect Respect has a history of rich research and evaluation for their program components.

Evaluation Studies:
Has there been any evaluation?


Key evaluation results:

A multi-year, controlled outcome evaluation of Expect Respect Support Groups was funded by the CDC. We conducted a non-randomized controlled evaluation with over 1,600 participants in 36 schools. Baseline surveys were completed during the fall, wave 2 during the spring, and wave 3 during the fall of the following year. Self-report measures included perpetration and victimization of controlling behaviors, psychological teen dating violence (TDV), physical TDV, sexual TDV, and reactive/ proactive aggression. For boys, the number of group sessions attended related to incremental declines in psychological, physical and sexual TDV victimization, psychological and sexual TDV perpetration, and reactive and proactive aggression. Among girls, attending sessions was associated with incremental reductions in reactive and proactive aggression. Results suggest that Expect Respect Support Groups are an effective strategy to reduce peer aggression among high-risk adolescent boys and girls, and additionally reduce teen dating violence perpetration and victimization among boys. Expect Respect has the potential to decrease negative health and educational outcomes associated with aggression in peer and dating relationships.

Expect Respect was also 1 of 11 programs who met the criteria to be included in a meta-analysis exploring violence prevention strategies for youth exposed to violence. This is the first systematic review and analysis on the effects of DV prevention programs specifically on at-risk youth including the effects on specific types of violence including physical, sexual, psychological, cyber and attitudes toward DV.  Even though exposure to violence is a known risk factor for dating violence the majority of studies do not distinguish between the general population and at risk youth. When the results of these 11 studies are analyzed together, they show that DV prevention programs targeting at-risk adolescents (also considered secondary prevention) show an overall reduction in DV perpetration and victimization. When the effects on specific forms of violence are analyzed separately this study finds significant reductions in physical and sexual DV perpetration and physical DV victimization. Significant changes were not found relating to sexual DV victimization, psychological DV perpetration and victimization, or attitudes on the acceptance of DV. Find the full report here: Dating violence prevention programs for at risk adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Arrojo, S., Santirso, F. A., Lila, M., Gracia, E., Conches, R. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Volume 74, January-February, 2024,

Is there an evaluation currently in progress or planned?

Yes. Expect Respect surveys participants for feedback on-going and is currently undergoing a replication project in 4 new cities.

Publications about the program:

Rated/reviewed by evidence based registries:

CDC Promising Practice, Prevent IPV Promising Program, National Resource Center of Domestic Violence’s VAWnet Resource Library,

Training & Resources

Training Language
  • English
Training Available:
  • Yes
Training Details:
Training manuals/protocols:

$2,500 for a 2 day training and 6 hours of technical assistance, one can also buy the curriculum without the training.

Training Contact:

Shannon Sandrea
The Safe Alliance
4800 Manor Rd Building K
Unit A
Austin, TX 78723
Phone: 512-917-2741

Website link:

Program Contact