FRYEBURG — SAD 72 and Fryeburg Academy, in partnership with Rape Education and Crisis Hotline (REACH), Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program and Law Enforcement, have been awarded a one-time $4,000 Project Connect grant from the Maine Center for Disease Control, Safe Families Program for the 2010-2011 school year.

Project Connect funds will be used to support the development and implementation of a coordinated school-based approach to prevention, identification and intervention regarding domestic violence (DV), sexual violence (SV) and reproductive coercion in the school setting.

The project will focus on these areas, with a goal of preventing dating violence in schools: increase collaboration among school staff, health programs and local DV and SV agencies to increase prevention, screening and  intervention efforts; increase competency and comfort levels for school staff and healthcare providers on the issues of DV, SV and dating violence; and strengthen and implement policies, protocols and practices for screening, response and support of individuals experiencing domestic or sexual violence.

As in the case of sexual violence, victims/survivors of dating violence are more likely to experience serious consequences, such as mental health issues, decreased attendance to school or work, increased usage or abuse of drugs and alcohol or the development of eating disorders.

Administration and staff of SAD 72 and Fryeburg Academy, which includes Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Lovell, Stow, Stoneham and Sweden, and Project partners have begun meeting and setting a plan that will lead to a prevention and response program for students.

Students from MollyOckett Middle School and Fryeburg Academy have been involved in the planning and will continue to be part of the team. Students from both schools attended meetings in Augusta to learn more about the project and to share their insight about the issue of dating violence.

Part of the initial planning process included a survey of students in grades four through 12 in SAD 72 and Fryeburg Academy. One question was: “Who would you go to for help?” Of those students surveyed, more than half identified their parents as the first people they would go to for help.

REACH is the sexual assault crisis center for Oxford County and the towns of Bridgton and Harrison. To contact REACH, call 743-9777,

Family Crisis Services, serving Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties and portions of Oxford County, developed the Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program (YAAPP) to raise awareness and prevent dating abuse in youth up to age 22, and presents age-appropriate programs to students grades six through college. To contact YAAPP, call Karen Wentworth, 767-4952, ext. 116.

To contact FCS/Bridgton, call 647-8501, The school lead person and project chairman, Mark Schrader, can be reached at 452-2360, [email protected]

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