Romantic relationships are a common part of adolescence. However, not all relationships are healthy.
Teen dating violence covers a wide range of abusive relationship behaviors, including physical and sexual violence, psychological aggression, and stalking by current or past romantic partners.
In 2019, 8.2% of high school students in the United States reported physical dating violence in the previous 12 months, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 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.
For teenagers, knowing the traits of an abusive relationship is valuable. A resource sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) explores what teenagers need to know if they are experiencing harm, causing harm, or want to help a friend experiencing teen dating violence. Some signs of an unhealthy relationship include telling a partner who they can or cannot hang out with or follow on social media, and looking through a partner’s messages without permission.
Teen dating violence is a public health problem that doesn’t end with adolescence. Research supported by NIJ 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 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 of 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: