Teen dating violence is a widespread issue that can occur between current or former dating partners, and it's more prevalent than many parents may realize.
Results from the National Survey of Teen Relationships and Intimate Violence showed that 18 percent of dating teens reported physical violence, 60 percent reported psychological violence, and 18 percent reported sexual violence in their relationships within the previous year.
Examples of teen dating violence not only include physical and emotional harm, but also stalking. Ever-evolving technology and the prominent use of technology among teens makes them particularly vulnerable to cyberstalking, including unwanted contact via email and social media.
Involvement in teen dating violence is a serious concern for public health and criminal justice. A study supported by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) found that negative outcomes from teen dating violence follow adolescents into young adulthood. Among study participants, those who experienced violence in past relationships reported poor physical health and other concerns about their well-being.
For teenagers currently experiencing relationship abuse or those at risk of being a victim, school health centers are unique settings that offer multiple advantages for educating, preventing, and engaging youth. An NIJ-supported study evaluated the School Health Center Healthy Adolescent Relationship Program and found that it may be a promising tool for prevention and intervention. Researchers found that youth who had been in an unhealthy relationship were more likely to disclose information during a school health center visit.
Another study supported by NIJ highlighted the importance of neighborhood context in designing community and school-based approaches to reducing teen dating violence.
With support from the Office for Victims of Crime, the loveisrespect website (originally the National Dating Abuse Helpline) helps make vital resources accessible to teens experiencing dating violence. The associated helpline also 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: