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Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship.

It includes four types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.

  • Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g., sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent.

  • Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over another person.

  • Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.

Teen dating violence can take place in person or electronically, such as repeated texting or posting sexual pictures of a partner online without consent. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship—but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence. However, many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors because they are afraid to tell family and friends.


What To Do?

Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have severe consequences and short-and long-term negative effects on a developing teen. For example, youth who are victims of teen dating violence are more likely to:

  • Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety

  • Engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol

  • Exhibit antisocial behaviors, like lying, theft, bullying or hitting

  • Think about suicide

Violence in an adolescent relationship sets the stage for problems in future relationships, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence perpetration and/or victimization throughout life.

It is crucial to support the development of healthy relationships in children early on. By teaching children respect in healthy relationships, it can help prevent them from being involved in unhealthy relationships that could potentially affect future relationships into adulthood.

Two of the biggest skills are how to manage feelings with healthy coping skills and how to use effective communication.

Resources for teens and their supporters:

Dating Matters

Love is Respect

Futures Without Violence

If you or someone you know needs help or additional resources Passages is here to help 24/7 at 800-236-4325.

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