Expect Respect® engages youth and adults in building healthy relationships and preventing violence and abuse. Serving local schools since 1988, Expect Respect offers a comprehensive approach to supporting vulnerable youth and creating safe and supportive learning environments.  Click here to view a video about our program. 


Safe and supportive relationships are key to good health, well-being, and school success. Unfortunately:

60% of children and youth witness or experience some form of violence and abuse each year.  15% of children experience 6 or more acts of violence each year.

Studies show that any exposure to violence significantly increases the risk for future victimization and can have negative consequences on a young person’s physical and emotional health, relationships and academic success.

Teen dating abuse is a serious public health problem.

One in ten students report having been hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the year preceeding the survey. Teen dating abuse increases teens' risk for abusive relationships as adults; physical, emotional and mental health problems including depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse; unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; and dropping out of school.

Prevention and early intervention are therefore critical to break the cycle of violence and support young people to live healthy, happy and successful lives. Expect Respect offers a comprehensive prevention program for elementary, middle and high school students.

Expect Respect is built on an ecological, trauma-informed model and offers 3 primary program components that 1) support boys and girls 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.

Program Goals and Activities

Support Youth Exposed to Violence

Many youth experience violence at home, in the community, and in their peer or dating relationships. They need emotional support and intervention to heal from trauma and build skills for healthy relationships. Expect Respect provides counseling and weekly, curriculum-based support group sessions at school for youth exposed to violence or abuse.

Mobilize Youth Leaders

Teens want to be part of the movement to stop violence and abuse. Expect Respect educates and empowers teens with the knowledge and skills they need to design and lead prevention efforts in their schools and communities. Youth Leadership groups are offered during the school year on campus and during the summer in collaboration with the City of Austin/Travis County Work-based Learning/ Summer Youth Employment Program. 

Educational theatre programs include the Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble, a collaborative project with Creative Action. Talented and dedicated youth create and tour original performances on teen relationship issues in local middle schools. Where is Your Line? is a performance for high schools that engages students in dialogue about warning signs of abuse and healthy relationship skills.

Create Safe Schools and Communities

Everyone in the community has a stake and a role to play in preventing dating and sexual violence among teens. Expect Respect works with parents, teachers, coaches, nurses and other important adults in teens’ lives to promote safe and healthy relationships.

To request services in Austin, Texas, please contact us at expectrespect@safeaustin.org.


Recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, National Sexual Violence Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault and others as a model program.

Featured on ABC News, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, Oprah, Parade Magazine, Teaching Tolerance and other media.


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