February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Domestic violence is not a problem just for adults. Teens experience domestic violence in their
relationships, too. In fact, domestic violence is very common in teen dating relationships. Here are
some important facts:
· One in three teens experience some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships, including
verbal and emotional abuse.i
· 40% of teenage girls, ages 14 to 17, know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by
their partner.ii
· Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue
to date their abuser. iii
· 1 in 4 teenage girls who have been in relationships reveal they have been pressured to
perform oral sex or engage in intercourse. iv
What do I need to know?
Recognizing abuse in a relationship is difficult, but especially for teens. There are many types of
abuse that teens often believe are not abusive or are normal in a relationship. Even though teen
relationships may be different from adult relationships in many ways, teens do experience the same
types of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse that adults do.
Teens also face unique obstacles if they decide to get help. Unlike many adults, teens may not have
money, transportation, or safe places to go. They may have concerns about lack of confidentiality,
reports to police and child protective services, and parental notification. But teens do have rights to a
safe and healthy relationship. In some states, teens may apply for restraining or protective orders
and get domestic violence services without the help of a parent or guardian.
What can I do?
If you or someone you know is experiencing teen dating violence, consider these steps:
· Learn about dating and domestic violence and what the laws in your state say about teen
victims of domestic violence.
· Share information you learn with your peers.
· Support your friends and family members to stay safe in their relationships.
· Speak out in your community to end teen dating violence.
i Carolyn Tucker Halpern, Ph.D. et al., “Partner Violence Among Adolescents in Opposite-Sex Romantic Relationships:
Findings From the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.” American Journal of Public Health 91 (2001) 1680.
ii Children Now/Kaiser Permanente “National Poll on Kids Health and Safety,” December 1995.
iii Children Now/Kaiser Permanente “National Poll on Kids Health and Safety,” December 1995.
iv Liz Claiborne Inc. study on teen dating abuse conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, February 2005.

You have the right to a safe and healthy relationship…
free from violence and free from fear.
© 2008 Break the Cycle Updated 7.08



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