As part of the Safe Steps for Teens Project, Expect Respect Support Groups were launched in January of 2015 serving middle and high school students who have experienced violence or abuse in their homes or relationships. Program goals include increasing personal safety, social support and skills for healthy relationships. Boys’ and girls’ groups meet separately for 24 curriculum-based sessions throughout the school year.

Supporting Students Who …

  • Have experienced sexual, domestic or dating violence
  • Are the target of bullying, harassment, or dating abuse
  • Bully, harass or threaten others
  • Socialize with violent peers
  • Have difficulty managing anger
  • Are socially isolated or rejected
  • Spend time almost exclusively with a boyfriend/girlfriend
  • Worry about making their partner angry or jealous
  • Have suspicious bruises or injuries
  • Use alcohol or drugs
  • Are pregnant or parenting
  • Witness violence at home or in the community
  • Have experienced child abuse (emotional, physical, sexual)

Building Skills for Healthy Relationships

  • Weekly support groups are led by licensed school counselors and trained facilitators.
  • The 24-session curriculum focuses on developing communication skills, choosing equality and respect, recognizing abuse, learning skills for healthy relationships and becoming active proponents for safe and healthy relationships.

The Expect Respect Program has been implemented in the Austin, Texas Public Schools for over 20 years and has been evaluated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Trainers from the Austin program provided training to 25 Melrose school and community counselors in the summer of 2014.

Students at Melrose High School and Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School can be referred to the groups by a teacher, guidance counselor, school, nurse, school psychologist or parent. For more information on the Expect Respect Support Groups, please contact Lindsey Dobbins, Administrator for Counseling and Student Services for the Melrose Public Schools.