What is it?
Teen dating violence is a form of abuse, or threat of abuse, that occurs between teens who are dating or used to be dating. It can happen in person, through text, or online/social media and it can happen in different ways, including:
- Physical: hitting, kicking, etc.
- Emotional/Psychological: verbal or non-verbal ways of harming the other person, such as name calling, shaming, isolating from friends and family, or constantly monitoring their location
- Sexual: forcing to perform a sexual act without consent, including sending unwanted “sexts” or forcing others to send them
- Stalking: repeated, unwanted attention or contact
How common is it?
In the most recent survey by the CDC, of those teens who had dated someone in the past 12 months:
- 6.9% had experienced sexual dating violence, with higher rates in girls (10.7%) and gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens (15.8%)
- 1 in every 12 teens had experienced physical dating violence
What are the effects?
Teens in these relationships are more likely to continue to be victims or perpetrators of violence throughout their lives. They are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, or consider suicide. They are more likely to use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco and engage in unhealthy or unsafe sexual behaviors.
How can you help?
Whether you are a teen, a parent, a teacher, or someone in the community, it is important to start learning about teen dating violence and have open and honest conversations about what healthy relationships look like.
As we begin to talk to our pre-teens (as young as 11 years old) about puberty, we should also begin discussing healthy versus unhealthy relationships.
Break the Cycle has created “A Parent’s Handbook: How to Talk to Youth about Healthy Relationships.”: https://www.breakthecycle.org/sites/default/files/LINA_Parent.pdf
The CDC has created a free online training course for Teen Dating Violence: https://vetoviolence.cdc.gov/apps/datingmatters/
For much more information, visit one of these websites:
How to Get Help
If you are concerned you may be in an abusive relationship:
- Call 1-866-331-9474
- TTY 1-866-331-8453
- Text: loveis to 22522