What it is

Mates & Dates is about helping young people to have healthy and happy relationships

It isn’t just about dating. It’s about all kinds of relationships, including family and friends.

We want to teach young people how to:

  • identify unhealthy relationships
  • have healthy relationships based on respect, negotiation and  consent
  • identify inappropriate behaviour
  • get help if they, or someone they know, are in an unhealthy relationship
  • safely intervene in situations that could lead to harm.

We want to give young people the skills and knowledge to prevent the harm caused by sexual violence  and dating violence

These are the relationship and behaviour skills they can carry with them throughout their lives

Mates & Dates Programme - Facilitator

Why choose Mates & Dates

It’s a challenging time being a young person, and today’s media is full of stories highlighting the issue of sexual and dating violence among our young people

We want to teach young people:

  • what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy
  • about relationships based on respect, negotiation and  consent
  • how to change behaviour
  • how to seek help
  • how to safely intervene when they need to.

Preventing sexual violence  and dating violence  is about more than identifying unhealthy relationships. It’s also about building on the strengths and skills young people already have. 

‘Having Mates & Dates at your school will help students have healthier and happier relationships in and out of school’

SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL 

The number of young people reporting unwanted sexual contact or being made to do unwanted sexual things:

  1. 1/5FEMALE
  2. 1/10MALE
  3. 37%DESCRIBE IT AS SEVERE
  4. 57%TELL NO-ONE

Mates & Dates research

How Mates & Dates works

Mates & Dates has been well researched, so we know it’s safe and has positive impacts for young people

ACC fully fund Mates & Dates. It’s a multi-year programme taught in years 9-13 through five 50 minute sessions over about five weeks. It builds year on year and ties in with the learning area of health and physical education. It’s aimed at levels 4-8 of the New Zealand School Curriculum.

Schools decide if they want to register for Mates & Dates and then trained facilitators work with principals and teachers to look at the best time to deliver the programme for the school.

Students learn five core themes, repeated at each secondary school year:

  • healthy relationships
  • consent
  • identity, gender and sexuality
  • when things go wrong
  • keeping safe together.

 Programme topics include:

It was really good to learn how to be in tricky situations and what to do if you need help. Also about when you can and can’t give consent, and if you should or not

STUDENT

Five years – five themes

Explore the programme by:
Explore programmes by Theme.
Theme Description Outcomes
Year 9

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme. A safe atmosphere will be established for discussions about healthy and unhealthy behaviour in relationships of all types.

  • Understand the qualities of a healthy relationship and healthy friendship.
  • Value and recognise the qualities of caring relationships.
  • Identify people, behaviours and characteristics that make them feel good about themselves.
Year 9

Through individual and group activities and discussions, students will practise negotiation and communication skills to interact positively with each other.

  • Understand the concept of consent.
  • Value the communications as key to consent.
  • Demonstrate how to negotiate consent in a range of situations.
Year 9

Through small group work and class discussions, students will consider gender stereotypes, the way men and women are represented in music videos and song lyrics and the impacts these stereotypes and representations may have on individuals.

  • Understand the impacts that gender role expectations have on individuals.
  • Respect a diverse range of gender identities.
  • Develop skills in critiquing messages about gender sexuality in popular media.
Year 9

Through class discussions and small group work, students will learn about power and control behaviours in unhealthy relationships.

  • Understand how power and control work in practice.
  • Recognise abuse as harmful with potentially negative impacts on people and their friends and families/whanau.
  • Identify and name abusive and controlling behaviour.
Year 9

Through group discussions and film resources, students will learn about how to help friends who are being harmed or who are harming others.

  • Understand the importance of getting help for both victims of and people with harmful behaviour.
  • Value the importance of peers and specialist agencies as sources of help.
  • Identify a variety of way s to support a friend who is a victim of abuse or has harmful behaviour.
Year 10

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme. Students will identify effective communication and be introduced to the Mates & Dates consent poster.

  • Understand the concept of consent.
  • Value communications as key to consent.
  • Demonstrate ways to communicate effectively with others.
Year 10

Through small group work and class discussions, students will role play effective communication skills and be responding to pressure, including sexual pressure.

  • Understand components of effective communications.
  • Recognise that pressure, including sexual pressure, is inconsistent with consent.
  • Demonstrate effective communications skills in responding to pressure, including sexual pressure.
Year 10

Through class discussions, scenario work and a continuum exercise, students will consider gender stereotypes and expectations and how these may affect the way individuals behave.

  • Recognise gender role expectations and stereotypes and the impacts they have on the way individuals behave.
  • Respect a diverse range of gender identities.
  • Identify the effects of gender role stereotypes on individuals and society.
Year 10

Through a film resource, class discussion and small group work, students will discuss consent in the context of sexual activity and the consequences of not gaining consent.

  • Understand the legal definitions of consent.
  • Recognise sexual violence as harmful with potentially negative impacts on people, their friends, family and whānau.
  • Identify that alcohol and drug use impairs judgement and the ability for sexual negotiation.
Year 10

Through group discussions and a scenario exercise, students will learn how to help friends who are being harmed or who are harming others.

  • Understand the importance of getting help for both victims of and people with harmful behaviour.
  • Value peers and specialist agencies as important sources of help.
  • Identify a variety of ways to support a friend who is being harmed or who is harming others.
Year 11

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme. Students will also consider what they want from relationships, and healthy and unhealthy behaviours in relationships.

  • Understand healthy and unhealthy characteristics in relationships.
  • Explore their own values in relationships.
  • Identify what they want out of relationships.
Year 11

Through group activity and discussions, students will identify legal definitions of consent, the four parts of consent and how it applies to sexual situations.

  • Understand legal definitions of consent and the four parts of consent.
  • Recognise that sexual consent is impossible in the context of high alcohol use.
  • Demonstrate skills in negotiating consent.
Year 11

Through class discussions, a continuum exercise and an advertising analysis, students will explore the relationship between alcohol and gender stereotypes related to sexual relationships.

  • Understand gender role expectations and stereotypes and how they are reinforced in alcohol advertising.
  • Recognise the role that alcohol plays in victim blaming.
  • Develop skills in critiquing the impacts of alcohol on negotiating consent, including in terms of the law.
Year 11

Through a film resource, class discussions and small group work, students will learn how to identify and manage their feelings, particularly anger, and develop strategies to make non-violent choices.

  • Identify their own triggers to anger.
  • Recognise that anger does not need to lead to violence.
  • Develop strategies for managing anger.
Year 11

Through group discussions and a film resource, students will consider the positives and negatives of online and communication technology and think about what it means to behave respectfully online.

  • Understand that online behaviour can have both positive and negative impacts.
  • Recognise that abusive online communication can have potentially negative impacts on people, their friends, family and whānau.
  • Develop the capacity to reflect on online behaviour before they act.
Year 12

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme and explore ways to end a relationship respectfully.

  • Understand that relationship break-ups are hurtful and may cause people to behave badly towards one another.
  • Value respect throughout all stages of a relationship.
  • Identify respectful ways to end a relationship.
Year 12

Through role play and class discussions, students will identify and practise consent, particularly in terms of non-verbal communication.

  • Identify the four parts of consent and how they might apply in non-verbal contexts.
  • Recognise that non-verbal communication may require an explicit connection to consent.
  • Practise non-verbal communication and negotiation skills.
Year 12

Through role play and class discussions, students will consider different perspectives on sex and sexuality and explore how they can learn from these different perspectives.

  • Understand that different people have different expectations of sexual intimacy and different attitudes to sex and relationships.
  • Respect a diverse range of attitudes to sex and relationships.
  • Identify the influences that shape how we think about sexuality, gender and relationships.
Year 12

Through a film resource and group discussions, students will consider the barriers to reporting sexual violence and learn what specialist help can provide.

  • Understand that sexual violence has negative impacts and victims may need help to recover.
  • Value peers and specialist support as important sources of help.
  • Identify barriers to disclosing sexual abuse.
Year 12

Through group discussions and a film resource, students will explore strategies to intervene in precursors to unsafe situations.

  • Understand the barriers and reasons for intervening when people are in precursors to unsafe situations.
  • Believe that intervening is possible and can help.
  • Demonstrate a range of strategies to intervene when people are in precursors to unsafe situations.
Year 13
  • Leadership is the focus for year 13 students.
  • Young people learn best with support from other young people, so year 13 encourages students to share their understandings of how to prevent sexual and dating violence with their peers.
  • Students work together to create their own projects to promote healthy relationships, skills and consent, identity, gender and sexuality when things go wrong and keeping safe together at their school. 
Explore programmes by Year.
Year Description Outcomes
Healthy relationships

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme. A safe atmosphere will be established for discussions about healthy and unhealthy behaviour in relationships of all types.

  • Understand the qualities of a healthy relationship and healthy friendship.
  • Value and recognise the qualities of caring relationships.
  • Identify people, behaviours and characteristics that make them feel good about themselves.
Healthy relationships

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme. Students will identify effective communication and be introduced to the Mates & Dates consent poster.

  • Understand the concept of consent.
  • Value communications as key to consent.
  • Demonstrate ways to communicate effectively with others.
Healthy relationships

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme. Students will also consider what they want from relationships, and healthy and unhealthy behaviours in relationships.

  • Understand healthy and unhealthy characteristics in relationships.
  • Explore their own values in relationships.
  • Identify what they want out of relationships.
Healthy relationships

Through class discussions and a film resource, students will be introduced to the programme and explore ways to end a relationship respectfully.

  • Understand that relationship break-ups are hurtful and may cause people to behave badly towards one another.
  • Value respect throughout all stages of a relationship.
  • Identify respectful ways to end a relationship.
Skills and consent

Through individual and group activities and discussions, students will practise negotiation and communication skills to interact positively with each other.

  • Understand the concept of consent.
  • Value the communications as key to consent.
  • Demonstrate how to negotiate consent in a range of situations.
Skills and consent

Through small group work and class discussions, students will role play effective communication skills and be responding to pressure, including sexual pressure.

  • Understand components of effective communications.
  • Recognise that pressure, including sexual pressure, is inconsistent with consent.
  • Demonstrate effective communications skills in responding to pressure, including sexual pressure.
Skills and consent

Through group activity and discussions, students will identify legal definitions of consent, the four parts of consent and how it applies to sexual situations.

  • Understand legal definitions of consent and the four parts of consent.
  • Recognise that sexual consent is impossible in the context of high alcohol use.
  • Demonstrate skills in negotiating consent.
Skills and consent

Through role play and class discussions, students will identify and practise consent, particularly in terms of non-verbal communication.

  • Identify the four parts of consent and how they might apply in non-verbal contexts.
  • Recognise that non-verbal communication may require an explicit connection to consent.
  • Practise non-verbal communication and negotiation skills.
When things go wrong

Through class discussions and small group work, students will learn about power and control behaviours in unhealthy relationships.

  • Understand how power and control work in practice.
  • Recognise abuse as harmful with potentially negative impacts on people and their friends and families/whanau.
  • Identify and name abusive and controlling behaviour.
When things go wrong

Through a film resource, class discussion and small group work, students will discuss consent in the context of sexual activity and the consequences of not gaining consent.

  • Understand the legal definitions of consent.
  • Recognise sexual violence as harmful with potentially negative impacts on people, their friends, family and whānau.
  • Identify that alcohol and drug use impairs judgement and the ability for sexual negotiation.
When things go wrong

Through a film resource, class discussions and small group work, students will learn how to identify and manage their feelings, particularly anger, and develop strategies to make non-violent choices.

  • Identify their own triggers to anger.
  • Recognise that anger does not need to lead to violence.
  • Develop strategies for managing anger.
When things go wrong

Through a film resource and group discussions, students will consider the barriers to reporting sexual violence and learn what specialist help can provide.

  • Understand that sexual violence has negative impacts and victims may need help to recover.
  • Value peers and specialist support as important sources of help.
  • Identify barriers to disclosing sexual abuse.
Identity, gender and sexuality

Through small group work and class discussions, students will consider gender stereotypes, the way men and women are represented in music videos and song lyrics and the impacts these stereotypes and representations may have on individuals.

  • Understand the impacts that gender role expectations have on individuals.
  • Respect a diverse range of gender identities.
  • Develop skills in critiquing messages about gender sexuality in popular media.
Identity, gender and sexuality

Through class discussions, scenario work and a continuum exercise, students will consider gender stereotypes and expectations and how these may affect the way individuals behave.

  • Recognise gender role expectations and stereotypes and the impacts they have on the way individuals behave.
  • Respect a diverse range of gender identities.
  • Identify the effects of gender role stereotypes on individuals and society.
Identity, gender and sexuality

Through class discussions, a continuum exercise and an advertising analysis, students will explore the relationship between alcohol and gender stereotypes related to sexual relationships.

  • Understand gender role expectations and stereotypes and how they are reinforced in alcohol advertising.
  • Recognise the role that alcohol plays in victim blaming.
  • Develop skills in critiquing the impacts of alcohol on negotiating consent, including in terms of the law.
Identity, gender and sexuality

Through role play and class discussions, students will consider different perspectives on sex and sexuality and explore how they can learn from these different perspectives.

  • Understand that different people have different expectations of sexual intimacy and different attitudes to sex and relationships.
  • Respect a diverse range of attitudes to sex and relationships.
  • Identify the influences that shape how we think about sexuality, gender and relationships.
Keeping safe together

Through group discussions and film resources, students will learn about how to help friends who are being harmed or who are harming others.

  • Understand the importance of getting help for both victims of and people with harmful behaviour.
  • Value the importance of peers and specialist agencies as sources of help.
  • Identify a variety of way s to support a friend who is a victim of abuse or has harmful behaviour.
Keeping safe together

Through group discussions and a scenario exercise, students will learn how to help friends who are being harmed or who are harming others.

  • Understand the importance of getting help for both victims of and people with harmful behaviour.
  • Value peers and specialist agencies as important sources of help.
  • Identify a variety of ways to support a friend who is being harmed or who is harming others.
Keeping safe together

Through group discussions and a film resource, students will consider the positives and negatives of online and communication technology and think about what it means to behave respectfully online.

  • Understand that online behaviour can have both positive and negative impacts.
  • Recognise that abusive online communication can have potentially negative impacts on people, their friends, family and whānau.
  • Develop the capacity to reflect on online behaviour before they act.
Keeping safe together

Through group discussions and a film resource, students will explore strategies to intervene in precursors to unsafe situations.

  • Understand the barriers and reasons for intervening when people are in precursors to unsafe situations.
  • Believe that intervening is possible and can help.
  • Demonstrate a range of strategies to intervene when people are in precursors to unsafe situations.
all Themes
  • Leadership is the focus for year 13 students.
  • Young people learn best with support from other young people, so year 13 encourages students to share their understandings of how to prevent sexual and dating violence with their peers.
  • Students work together to create their own projects to promote healthy relationships, skills and consent, identity, gender and sexuality when things go wrong and keeping safe together at their school. 

Learn more about

Get Mates & Dates in your school Toggle

Plan early to make sure the programme can be introduced into your school. We suggest scheduling the programme around the end of the second term to make sure it's included in the curriculum for the following year.

If you would like more information about the programme, get in touch with the Mates & Dates team:

Email matesanddates@acc.co.nz

Mates & Dates is still growing so it may not be available in your region yet. If not, we’ll get in touch when it becomes available.

Mates & Dates secondary school programme (PDF 555 KB)
How to handle disclosures of abuse (PDF 754 KB)

Why trained facilitators deliver the programme Toggle

Facilitators want to build a positive working relationship with schools and their teaching staff. They’ll work closely with your school to understand specific needs and your school culture. This will make sure all students are welcomed and catered for in the Mates & Dates programme.

Trained facilitators, usually one male and one female, deliver the programme in the classroom. There’s usually a teacher present. Facilitators have been chosen because they have:

  • been safety checked by New Zealand Police
  • the skills and training to deliver the programme
  • worked with young people with different learning styles, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identities, cultural and religious values
  • an understanding of the issues young people face about sexuality and sex education and the myths about sexual and dating violence that young people need to be aware of
  • experience working with and supporting young people who tell them about dating and sexual violence.

Facilitators:

  • create a safe, fun and relaxed classroom environment to lead discussions
  • get the students engaged
  • work with the students on the social and emotional skills they’ll need to complete the modules. 

The programme has also been successfully introduced in faith-based schools. It’s about students making their own decisions for healthy and happy relationships, while being respectful of their own beliefs and values.

Facilitators don’t show any explicit material as Mates & Dates isn’t about sex education.

Why ACC supports Mates & Dates Toggle

Our role is to support people who are injured in an accident and help to prevent injuries.

Sexual violence has huge personal, social, and economic effects. That’s why we actively work to prevent sexual violence and the injuries that can result from it.

Research tells us:

  • 15-24 year olds are the group most at risk from partner violence involving current and ex-partners
  • of secondary students, one in five females and one in ten males say they’ve had unwanted sexual contact or been made to do unwanted sexual acts
  • 37% describe it as severe and 57% tell no-one.

Young people have told us they get a lot of information on sex and safe sex, but not much on the social and emotional aspects of relationships. 

Schools are already working to teach young people about healthy relationships. We want to build on and strengthen that work to help give young people the skills and knowledge to prevent the harm caused by sexual and dating violence.

Mates & Dates has been well researched and evaluated, so we know that it's safe and also has positive impacts for young people.

Are you a parent of a young person doing the programme? Toggle

Young people may talk to you about the programme or about their own or their friends’ experiences. It’s important to:

  • Stay calm. They may feel anxious or worried about sharing information with you or how you would react. Let them know that you take them seriously.
  • Listen to them and ask them what they’d like to do next. They might want you to go with them to talk to a specialist service or school guidance counsellor. They may also just want to know you believe them.
  • Stay open-minded. They might feel judged or guilty. It’s important to show you’re not blaming them.
  • Acknowledge how hard it must be for them to talk to you about this, and thank them for being brave.
  • Ensure their safety. If there’s an immediate risk from someone at school or nearby, contact the right authorities to keep your child safe.

Helping young people to have healthy relationships (PDF 236 KB)
An overview of Mates & Dates (PDF 208 KB)
How to handle disclosures of abuse (PDF 754 KB)

If would like more information about the programme, get in touch with the Mates & Dates team:

Email matesanddates@acc.co.nz

How to get relationship help for young people Toggle

Find out where to go and how you can get help. Remember, your school guidance counsellor is always available to help.

ACC-funded support

To get access to ACC-funded support following sexual abuse or assault, visit the Find support website or contact the ACC Sensitive Claims team:

Find support website 
Phone 0800 735 566 (Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm)

Concern around sexual violence behaviour

For help around sexual violence, including specialist services, or concern about harmful sexual violence behaviour towards others, visit:

TOAH-NNEST website

Concern around dating violence

For help around dating violence, including specialist services, visit:

It’s not OK website

Support for youth

For supporting youth, visit Youthline, or call and text them:

Youthline website
Phone 0800 376 633 or Free TXT 234

International Research shows school based prevention works

MICHAEL MCCARTHY - ACC INJURY PREVENTION PORTFOLIO MANAGER - VIOLENCE