Romantic relationships are a common part of adolescence. However, not all of these relationships are healthy.
Teen dating violence covers a wide range of relationship abuse behaviors, including physical and sexual violence, psychological aggression, and stalking by current or past romantic or consensual partners. With the prominent use of technology among teens and the constantly evolving nature of technology, teenagers are particularly vulnerable to cyberstalking, which includes unwanted contact via email or social media and tracking software used by various apps.
Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2019, 8.2% of high school students reported physical dating violence in the previous 12 months. Additional CDC data showed that:
- The prevalence of physical and sexual dating violence reported by students has declined since 2013.
- Female students were more than three times as likely to experience sexual dating violence as male students.
Teen dating violence is a public health problem that doesn’t end with adolescence. Research supported by the National Institute of Justice has shown that victims of teen dating violence are likely to either experience or perpetrate some form of relationship abuse as an adult.
With support from the Office for Victims of Crime, the loveisrespect website – formerly the National Dating Abuse Helpline – helps make vital resources accessible to teens experiencing dating violence. The associated helpline offers tips on preventing abusive relationships and promotes awareness of healthy dating relationships.
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, an opportunity to raise awareness on the dangers of teen dating violence and connect youth with the resources they may need.
Visit the following pages for additional information and resources from the Office of Justice Programs and other federal sources: