Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence (TDV) is more common than most adults think. 1 in 10 teens say a boyfriend or girlfriend intentionally hit or physically harmed them at least one time in the past year. Nearly half of teens who are in relationships say they know friends who were verbally abused. Adults need to talk to teens early and often about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships.

Frequently asked questions about teen dating violence

So, what is teen dating violence?

Teen dating violence is any physical, sexual, psychological or emotional abuse in a dating relationship between teenagers or young adults.
Before the violence starts, a teen may experience controlling behavior and demands from their partner. Maybe the partner tells the victim what to wear and who they can hang out with. Or they react poorly when the victim wants to spend time with family or by themselves. Over time, the unhealthy behavior can become violent.

What are the consequences of dating violence?

Preteens and teens experience a broad range of physical and psychological changes in a short amount of time. As they develop, they are heavily influenced by their relationships with peers, as well as with crushes, dates, boyfriends or girlfriends.

Healthy relationships can have a positive effect on a teen’s emotional development. Teens learn valuable lessons about how to communicate, how to set boundaries, and how to show and receive affection.

Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships, on the other hand, have a negative effect on teen development. Victims of dating violence are more likely to struggle in school. They also report higher rates of binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. In some cases, victims will carry this pattern of violence into future relationships.

How can you prevent teen dating violence?
We can prevent dating violence by bringing together teens, families, organizations, and communities to implement effective prevention strategies. Use the following resources at home, school, and in the community to help teens learn about healthy relationships.

This material was excerpted from the CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION website, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/

Note: Our intention is to provide the above information as a guide to understanding domestic violence in context. Because every situation is different, and the spectrum of domestic violence is broad, not all of these examples or theories apply to everyone.