Teen Dating Violence Resources
Teen dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. Dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time. Every relationship is different, but the one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.
Teen Dating Violence Statistics
• One in three girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
• One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
• Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average.
• The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence.
• Up to 57% of college students say it is difficult to identify dating abuse and 58% of college students say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it.
• Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
• Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
• Though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify common abuse acts, according to a 2009 study.
Ten Common Abusive Acts
Teen dating violence can manifest in many different ways. Some of the most common ways a teen exerts power over their partner include:
1. Checking your cell phone or email without permission
2. Constantly putting you down
3. Extreme jealousy or insecurity
4. Explosive temper
5. Isolating you from family or friends
6. Making false accusations
7. Mood swings
8. Physically hurting you in any way
9. Telling you what to do
What Can We Do?
Educating young people about healthy relationships is critical to preventing dating abuse, it’s never too early, even if you don’t think your child or young adult is dating.
• Provide your child with examples of healthy relationships, pointing out unhealthy behavior. Use examples from your own life, television, movies or music.
• Ask questions and encourage open discussion. Make sure you listen to your son or daughter, giving them a chance to speak. Avoid analyzing, interrupting, lecturing or accusing.
• Keep it low key. Don’t push it if your child is not ready to talk. Try again another time.
• Be supportive and nonjudgmental. That way they know they can come to you for help if their relationship becomes unhealthy in the future.
• Reinforce that dating should be fun! Stress that violence is never acceptable.
• Remind your son or daughter they have the right to say no. This includes being assertive to anything they’re not comfortable with or ready for. They also must respect the rights of others.
• If your child is in a relationship that feels uncomfortable, awkward or frightening, assure them they can come to you.And remember — any decisions they make about the relationship should be their own.