Teen Dating Violence

What is it?

Dating violence is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It can happen in straight or gay relationships. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or a combination.

Controlling behavior may include:

  • Not letting you hand out with your friends
  • Calling or paging you frequently to find out where you are, whom you are with, and what you are doing
  • Telling you what to wear
  • having to be with you all the time



    Verbal & Emotional abuse may include:

  • Calling you names
  • Jealousy
  • Belittling you (cutting you down)
  • Threatening to hurt you, someone in your family, or himself or herself if you don't do what he or she wants



    Physical Abuse may include:

  • Shoving
  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Pinching
  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Hair Pulling
  • Strangling

    Sexual Abuse may include:

  • Unwanted touching and kissing
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Not letting you use birth control
  • Forcing you to do other sexual things

    Anyone can be a victim of dating violence. Both boys and girls are victims, but boys and girls abuse their partners in differnt ways. Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch or kick. Boys injure girls more and are more likely to punch their partner and force them to participate in unwanted sexual activity. Some teen victims experience violence occasionally. Others are abused more often, sometimes daily.

    You're Not Alone - The Statistics

  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • Among female victims of intimate partner violence, a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend victimized 94% of those between the ages of 16-19.
  • Between 1993-1999, 22% of all homicides against females ages 16-19 were committed by an intimate partner.
  • Nearly one-half of adult sex offenders report committing their first sexual offenses prior to the age of 18.
  • 58% of rape victims report being raped between the ages of 12-24.
  • Half of the reported date rapes occur among teenagers.
  • Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
  • Among 13-18 year old teens who have been in a relationship, 15% said they've had a partner hit, slap or push them. 4% of teens agreed that it's okay for someone to hit their partner if they really did something wrong or embarrassing. More Hispanic teens (13%) reported that hitting a partner was permissible.
  • 30% of 13-18 year old teens reported worrying about their personal physical safety in a relationship.
  • Intimate partner violence among adolescents is associated with increased risk of substance use, unhealthy weight control behaviors, sexual risk behaviors, pregnancy and suicide.

    Parental Awareness

  • 81% of parents surveyed either believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit the don't know if it's an issue.
  • A majority of parents (54%) admit they have not spoken to their child about dating violence.

    Teen Awareness

  • Nearly 25% of 14-17 year-olds surveyed know at least one student who was a victim of dating violence, while 11% know multiple victims of dating violence. 33% of teens have actually witnessed such an event.
  • 20% of surveyed male students report witnessing someone they go to high school with physically hit a person they were dating.
  • 39% of female high school students report that students talk in school about whether someone is attempting to control the person they are dating.
  • 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship.
  • 45% of girls know a friend or peer who has been pressured into either intercourse or oral sex.
  • One in three teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped or physically hurt by their dating partner.
  • In 9 out of 10 rapes in which the offender is under 18, so is the victim.

    Incident Reporting

  • When female high school students were asked whom they would talk to if someone they date is attempting to control them, insults them, or physically harms them, 86% said they would confide in a friend, while only 7% said they would talk to police.
  • 83% of 10th graders surveyed at the 4th Annual Teen Dating Abuse Summit, reported that they would sooner turn to a friend for help with dating abuse than to a teacher, counselor, parent or other caring adult.
  • Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.