Teen dating violence

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This article is about dating violence among teens. For general topic, see Dating abuse.

Teen dating violence is the physical, sexual, or psychological / emotional abuse (or violence) within a dating relationship.[1] According to the United States public health authority, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "[a]dolescents and adults are often unaware that teen experience dating violence." [1] In a 2009 survey, the CDC reports that 9.8% of high school students in the U.S. report that they had been physically hurt deliberately by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the preceding 12 months.[1] The CDC also reports that approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men who have been a victim of intimate partner violence (IPV) first experienced IPV between the ages of 11 and 17.[1]

The ages between 16 and 24 are the most susceptible to dating violence. Also, according to the CDC, one in ten teens will be physically abused between the grades of seventh through twelfth. Because of this abuse, the abused are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, employ precarious sexual conduct, develop eating disorders, and attempt suicide.[1]

United Kingdom[edit]

In 2010, a campaign by the Home Office featured adverts targeting "boys and girls aged 13 to 18" via TV, radio, internet, and poster campaigns. The campaign followed research by the NSPCC indicating that approximately one-quarter of 13-17 year-old females had experienced physical abuse from a dating partner. [2]

United Kingdom Organizations

United States[edit]

Prevalence of teen dating violence[edit]

While dating, domestic and sexual violence affect women regardless of their age, teens and young women are especially vulnerable. Young people ages 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault,[3] and people age 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.

Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner—a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth[4] Mark Green, former Wisconsin Representative said "if the numbers we see in domestic violence (dating violence) were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news every night".[5]

According to Women's Health, "81% of parents surveyed either believed dating violence is not an issue or admit they don't know if it's an issue", this is an issue because of the growth of dating abuse in teenagers relationships. Dating violence has become advanced through the years by the means of communication technology. A survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited stated that "[10] percent of teens have been threatened physically via e-mail, IM, text messaging, chat rooms, etc."

For example, Jennifer Ann Crecente (September 9, 1987 – February 15, 2006), a victim of teen dating violence, was an 18-year-old high school honor student who was shot and killed in southwest Austin, Texas by an ex-boyfriend, Justin Crabbe on February 15, 2006. She was a camp counselor at SciTrek in Atlanta and hospital volunteer in Austin.[6] Jennifer Ann's Group, a public charity based in Atlanta, Georgia, was established in her name to educate young people about the prevalence of teen dating violence, how to identify these relationships, and how to extricate themselves safely from such relationships.[7]


In the United States, the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) states that "[p]olicymakers can play a role in preventing teen dating violence"[8] and lists those states that currently have laws requiring school boards to develop and adopt programs to address this issue. Further, according to NCSL "[i]n 2011 at least eight states have introduced legislation to address teen dating violence".[8] On January 31, 2011, President Obama proclaimed February 2011 to be "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month".[9] In 2006 the U.S. first recognized "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week", sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo, to "increase public awareness and education of the prevalence of teen dating violence among our nation's teens".[10] The first week in February was so recognized through 2009. Beginning in 2010, Senator Crapo joined the Department of Justice in recognizing the month of February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.[10]

National Helpline[edit]

The National Dating Abuse Helpline, created by National Domestic Violence Hotline, is a 24-hour nationwide Web-based and telephone resource created to help teens and young people who are experiencing dating abuse. They offer information on building healthy relationships and how to recognize warning signs. It is the only helpline in the country serving all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.[11]

Teen Dating Violence Organizations based in the United States[edit]

Association with Sexual Activity[edit]

Surveys indicate that the majority of American teens who have actually had sex wish they had waited. Among sexually active girls, two-thirds say they did not want to lose their virginity when they did or that they had mixed feelings about it.[12]

Only a small percentage of women who had sex before age 18 said it was completely wanted. Just 1% chose to have sex when they were 13 or younger, 5% at 14 or 15 years old, and 10% at 16 or 17 years old. Another 42% reported that losing their virginity before age 18 was not completely wanted, while the remaining portion of the sample waited until age 18 or older to have sex (wanted, 22%; unwanted, 21%).[13]

A first sexual experience that was unwanted or not completely wanted was strongly associated with future divorce.[13] "If the sex was not completely wanted or occurred in a traumatic context, it is easy to imagine how that could have a negative impact on how women might feel about relationships, or on relationship skills", Anthony Paik, associate professor of sociology at the University of Iowa, said. "The experience could point people on a path toward less stable relationships".


  1. When a friend and the aggressor (the violent significant other) are together, the last one calls the victim names or puts her/him down in front of other people.
  2. The aggressor acts extremely jealous when the victim talks to other person of the aggressor's sex, even when it is completely innocent.
  3. The victim apologizes for the aggressor's behavior and makes excuses for him/her.
  4. The victim frequently cancels plans at the last minute, for reasons that sound untrue.
  5. The aggressor is always checking up on the victim, calling or paging her/him, and demanding to know where the victim has been and with whom has been.
  6. The aggressor loses his/her temper, maybe even break or hit things when mad.
  7. The victim seems worried about upsetting the aggressor or making him/her angry.
  8. The victim is giving up things that used to be important to her/him, such as spending time with friends or other activities, and is becoming more and more isolated.
  9. The victim's weight, appearance or grades have changed dramatically. These could be signs of depression, which could indicate abuse.
  10. The victim has injuries she/he cannot explain, or the explanations given do not make sense.[14]

Other Teen Dating Violence Organizations[edit]

  • RespectED, Provided by the Canadian Red Cross, give information to teens, parents, and teachers about abuse in dating relationships


  1. ^ a b c d e "Teen dating violence", URL retrieved 13 August 2011.
  2. ^ ((cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/8515601.stm%7Ctitle=Teenage domestic violence tackled by advert campaign|accessdate=2014 November 19))
  3. ^ Truman, Jennifer. "Criminal Victimization, 2008". U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. U.S. Department of Justice. 
  4. ^ Davis, Antoinette (2008). "Interpersonal and Physical Dating Violence among Teens". The National Council on Crime and Delinquency Focus. 
  5. ^ Savacool, Julia. "Our Most Important Mission Ever: Stop Violence Against Women Now, 2005". 
  6. ^ El Paso Times
  7. ^ <((cite web|url=http://www.jenniferann.org%7Caccessdate=2014-11-19))
  8. ^ a b "Teen Dating Violence" on NCSL.ogv, retrieved 13 August 2011.
  9. ^ "Presidential Proclamation--National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, 2011" on whitehouse.gov, URL retrieved 13 August 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week" on crapo.senate.gov, URL retrieved 13 August 2011.
  11. ^ Jewish Women International
  12. ^ "Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, 2002" (PDF). Vital and Health Statistics. National Center for Health Statistics. 2002. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  13. ^ a b Anthony Paik (2011). "Adolescent Sexuality and the Risk of Marital Dissolution". Journal of Marriage and Family 73 (2): 472. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00819.x. 
  14. ^ Liz Clairborne Inc (2000). What You Need to Know About Dating Violence: A Teen's Handbook. 

External links[edit]

Canadian resources
  • RespectED, Provided by the Canadian Red Cross, give information to teens, parents, and teachers about abuse in dating relationships
  • The Fourth R, Provided by the CAMH centre for Prevention Science and the Fourth R program to prevent adolescent dating violence and promote healthy teen relationships.
UK resources
US resources