Special Feature: Teen Dating Violence
Although romantic relationships are a common part of adolescence, not all of these relationships are healthy. Studies have shown that 18 percent of dating teens report physical violence, 60 percent report psychological violence, and 18 percent report sexual violence in their relationships.
Teen dating violence is a widespread issue that can occur between current and former dating partners, in person, or electronically. Examples include physical and emotional harm, as well as stalking.
Many victims of teen dating violence experience a host of devastating consequences, including mental and physical health problems, suicidal thoughts, delinquency, risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, and academic failure. Once teens experience violence in one relationship, research has shown they are at significant risk for experiencing violence in another relationship.
A teenager's friends have the potential to considerably shape their dating experiences. Teens translate the skills they've learned in their relationships with friends into new relationships with romantic partners. As such, programs and policies aimed at preventing teen dating violence or promoting healthy teen relationships more broadly are likely to be most effective if they take into consideration the potential ways in which peers shape a teenager's experience in relationships.
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.
Involvement in teen dating violence can jeopardize adolescent development, health, and safety, making it a serious concern for public health and criminal justice.
Visit the following pages for additional information and resources from the Office of Justice Programs and other federal sources: