Teen dating violence is a widespread issue that can lead to serious short- and long-term effects.
Victims are often more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, think about suicide, and engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.
Teen dating violence can occur between current and former dating partners, in person, or electronically. Examples include physical and emotional harm, as well as stalking. Once teens experience violence in one relationship, research has shown they are at significant risk for experiencing violence in another relationship.
According to a study funded by the National Institute of Justice, 69 percent of youth age 12-18 who were either in a relationship or had been in the past year reported being a victim of teen dating violence. Additionally, 63 percent of that same sample acknowledged perpetrating violence in a relationship. Psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse victimization reported (over 60 percent), but there were also substantial rates of sexual abuse (18 percent) and physical abuse victimization (18 percent).
Consistent with other adolescent relationship abuse studies, researchers found there was significant overlap between victimization and perpetration; 84 percent of victims also perpetrated abuse in a relationship. This finding has important implications for prevention and intervention; it serves as a reminder that programming should recognize the fluidity of these roles among youth in relationships.
Identifying teen dating violence is key to breaking the cycle. It is critical that teachers, parents, coaches, or any others in a teen's life maintain awareness and take action to get help when it occurs. It is important that teens who experience dating violence seek help soon after so they can receive services to protect against the potential psychosocial impacts of violence and reduce the likelihood of future violence.
With support from the Office for Victims of Crime, the National Dating Abuse Helpline launched to help make vital resources accessible to teens experiencing dating violence. The helpline also offers tips on preventing abusive relationships and promotes awareness of healthy dating relationships.
To help bring greater awareness to teen dating violence, NCJRS presents this online compilation of topical resources. Select a page from the "Teen Dating Violence" box for information and resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal sources.