Day One initiated its services at a time when the term “dating abuse” was barely in use. Launched in 2003 as the New York office of Break the Cycle, the organization began offering legal assistance to young survivors and co-educational preventive education in NYC classrooms with two employees. (BTC had opened in Los Angeles in the 90s, and fully dissolved in 2021.) In 2005, Day One separated from Break the Cycle and became a project of the Fund for the City of New York. After incorporating in 2007, Day One became a fully independent organization in 2011. From its inception in New York, Day One was the only organization devoting all of its resources to the issue of dating abuse and domestic violence among youth, 24 years of age and under.

As Day One, the organization added peer leadership to its preventive and legal services programs. Educators visited schools and youth programs delivering preventive workshops and trainings for youth and the adults in their lives. All curriculum content was inclusive, respecting the intersectional identities of participating youth, the wide gender spectrum, and the diversity of relationships in their lives. Legal services consisted of advocacy on behalf of young survivors pursuing criminal court orders of protection. Assistance in Family Court at that time was restricted to youth related to an abusive partner by blood, marriage or parentage. After Day One added its voice to years of legislative advocacy by the LGBTQ+ community, New York Family Court access expanded to include individuals in an “intimate relationship” in 2008. The legal team could now represent young survivors seeking civil orders of protection.

Awareness of dating violence among teens and young adults was still low. In response, Day One created a range of educational materials that described the elements of an abusive partnership, warning signs, and relief available to survivors; tens of thousands of these Know Your Rights guides began to be distributed citywide annually. The training team was reaching hundreds of schools per year throughout the five boroughs, and, as awareness grew, demand for direct services was increasing. In 2011, Day One grew to incorporate social workers as part of the intervention staff, recognizing that young survivors needed therapeutic services in addition to, and sometimes in place of, legal help. Online harm was becoming a steadily growing area of concern, though it was both under the radar and lacking in legislative solutions, and our related advocacy and expertise grew in response. Day One’s legal and social services teams continued providing holistic services to youth, now supporting them in civil and criminal settings, ensuring they were equipped to make fully informed choices in an atmosphere where many Black and Brown youth and LGBTQ+ youth had experienced harm from law enforcement.

In 2016, Day One became one of only three providers implementing the Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP). Social workers were embedded in high schools where they delivered educational workshops, provided individual and group counseling for students, and facilitated paid peer leadership summer programming for teens. In a continual effort to center young people as leaders in the anti-violence movement, Day One has steadily increased its youth development programming to be year-round, with groups that lift up the voices of young people as experts in their own lives and advocates for their peers. Identifying the origins of unhealthy patterns must start early, and, in 2017, Day One began its Elementary Prevention Initiative for Children (EPIC). EPIC focused on introducing language and skills among younger children — and the adult influencers around them — to establish healthy friendships before youth enter their dating years.

Today, Day One reaches 20,000 youth and adults each year through a combination of outreach, preventive education, leadership development, and legal and social services. You can read more about Our Values here.

About Day One

Day One trains more than 2,500 professionals annually to identify relationship abuse among youth and to provide supportive, nonjudgmental guidance to teens.

Additionally, each year we provide direct services to hundreds of young survivors with individual or group counseling; guiding them through a safety planning process or counseling them on their legal rights and responsibilities.

Through Day One’s leadership programs, students organize awareness projects that reach hundreds of their peers annually.

We also engage in a range of community partnerships and policy initiatives to increase young people’s rights related to intimate partner violence.

Thank you for joining us in our efforts to end dating abuse and create a world where every relationship is safe — from day one.

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