Domestic Violence Background

Both Connections Programs and Healthy Choices Healthy Relationships were developed by Char Kamper.

Char Kamper has worked with secondary students for the past twenty years and observed first hand the physical and psychological damage in teens that results from poor partner choices. She has used the work of Don Fernando Azevedo, PhD, Kimm Campbell, George Doub, MDiv and others in developing the program.

The curriculums Char has created were written to help adolescents learn the skills needed for dating, healthy long-term relationships and, eventually, marriage. Her curricula identify specific behaviors and attitudes in relationships that are problematic and lead to partner or spouse abuse after marriage. Adolescents who use Char’s curricula are provided information on problem personality patterns that lead to relationship difficulties and failure.

The curriculum also helps teenagers deal with the emotions that are associated with deep feelings for another person, how to leave an unhealthy relationship, and how to build the skills that lead to higher self esteem and positive life choices. Evaluations of Connections: Relationship and Marriage indicate a decrease in peer-to-peer physical violence.

Love Notes and Relationship Smarts Plus were developed by Marline Pearson.

Marline Pearson is a criminologist with a long background in teaching domestic violence prevention. She is familiar with the Duluth model of power and control as well as Steven Stosney’s Compassion Power abuse treatment and prevention. In the development of her two programs she consulted with young adults who had been in abusive relationships who helped shape messages that would have helped them.

In addition she has consulted closely with Anne Menard and with Mike Johnson, both experts in the field of domestic violence. Both programs teach teens and young adults how to recognize abuse — emotional, verbal and physical, to become aware of the risks, early warning signs, and steps to take.

The programs also offers ways to assess the “health and safety” of a relationship. They not only teach teens what to avoid, but also strongly teach them how to create relationships that are healthy and respectful. Relationship Smarts Plus was evaluated at Auburn University as an intervention to reduce teen relationship abuse and found a significant reduction in verbal aggression.