Attorney General Maura Healey and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation joined forces in an effort to stem the tide of teen dating violence in Massachusetts high schools.
Healey and Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Tuesday unveiled the "Game Change" program, which will provide training for high school students, teachers and coaches about issues surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault.
The foundation plans to provide $500,000 to launch the program in about 90 Massachusetts schools, part of an overall $1.5 million commitment to domestic violence organizations around the state.
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One goal is to educate student-athletes in high schools about relationship violence, who in turn can act as mentors to younger children.
Healey cited surveys showing that one out of every three young people has experienced abuse - sexual, emotional or verbal - while in a relationship.
"Too often, we don't see it until it's too late," said Healey in a statement. "This program will help prevent violence by reaching students at an early age and teaching them about healthy relationships, how to recognize warning signs and how to intervene."
Kraft said recent incidents involving NFL players had helped open his eyes to the "staggering" statistics around domestic violence. He alluded to the case of former Baltimore Ravens' running back Ray Rice, who was shown on a security video punching his then-fiancée in an elevator.
"We need to tackle this problem from all angles - through preventive measures like this one, and by providing resources for survivors in the aftermath of trauma," Kraft said.
Healey's office will also provide $150,000 toward the training program that will be administered by the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program, run by the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.