Effort educates about the signs of relationship abuse online

Nonprofit gives teens insight into what to watch out for and when to get help

Effort educates about the signs of relationship abuse online

Client: Grace Smith House (Poughkeepsie, New York)
Agency: Co-Communications (Farmington, Connecticut)
Campaign: Is Your Relationship a Digital Disaster?
Duration: November 2014 - January 2015
Budget: about $23,000 (including about $3,600 for ads)

Grace Smith House is a private nonprofit that provides services to domestic violence victims and their children.

The organization received funding from Mid-Hudson Subaru, The New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region last fall to create a social campaign to raise awareness among local teens about digital abuse in partner relationships.

Grace Smith House had worked with Co-Communications on a similar effort pegged on an online quiz called "How Messed Up is Your Relationship?" that launched in late 2013.  Co-Communications was hired to create another quiz-based campaign called "Is Your Relationship a Digital Disaster" that launched November 2, 2014.

 "We provide workshops on dating violence in all 13 Dutchess County school districts that give teens tools to understand red flags in unhealthy relationships," says Grace Smith House prevention coordinator Cammie Jones. "Many teens use social media, text messages, and mobile apps to communicate with their partners or people they’re dating or hooking up with, and a lot of red flags happen on these digital channels."

The 10-question quiz was designed to enable teens to identify digital abuse signs and take action to get help.

"We held focus groups with teens when we worked with Grace Smith House on the 2013 quiz, and they told us that they prefer quick and interactive campaigns," explains agency EVP and COO Jessica Lyon. "That led us to come up with the quiz concept." 

Media relations and ads helped drive awareness and quiz participation.

"It was important that media coverage assure parents and teachers that the campaign was coming from a trustworthy source," Lyon notes.

The agency built a mobile-friendly website to house the quiz and key violence prevention messages.

One of three results is immediately served to participants – "Looks OK," "Some Warning Signs," or "Get Help." The results page also includes a reiteration of warning signs, Grace Smith House’s help hotline, a call to action to help friends and family, and a link to the 2013 quiz.

A press release announcing the quiz and highlighting Grace Smith House’s expertise and credibility went out to local media outlets in mid-November. A second release covering high-level results was issued in February.

A quiz-specific Facebook page launched in November, primarily to run targeted ads that drive traffic to the quiz site.

Sticky note pieces with QR codes that lead to both quizzes were distributed in schools, and a blade ad with the QR codes ran in the Poughkeepsie Galleria to reach kids during their winter break.

Per Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics, the team reports campaign messages reached more than 37,000 teens in Dutchess County and the surrounding area.

Between November 2, 2014, and February 2, 2015, 2,322 quizzes were completed – nearly double completions of the "How Messed Up is Your Relationship" quiz between November 3, 2013, and February 3, 2014.

"Data collected from the quizzes gives us a better understanding of violence that happens on digital channels so we can help prevent it or keep it from escalating," Jones says. "It also provides insights into gaps in education about the topic that we use to enhance our in-school programs and expand messaging to government officials, parents, and school administrators." 

The two quizzes will remain live and are promoted in classrooms and on various printed materials. Jones would like to work with the agency to develop and promote another quiz when funding becomes available.

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