February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month
Together, we can protect teens from intimate partner violence and help teens learn how to build healthy relationships for their futures.
What is teen dating violence?
Teen dating violence is a form of intimate partner violence. The CDC categorizes teen dating violence as any the following behaviors:
- Physical violence: when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
- Sexual violence: forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act and or sexual touching when the partner does not or cannot consent. It also includes non-physical sexual behaviors like posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent or sexting someone without their consent.
- Psychological aggression: the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm a partner mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over a partner.
- Stalking: 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 and online sexual violence
These days, dating isn’t just limited to in-person experiences – teens are also dating and communicating online and through social media. According to the CDC, “non-physical sexual behaviors like posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent or sexting someone without their consent” is a form of non-physical sexual violence.
How prevalent is teen dating violence?
The CDC notes “violence starts early” and “teen dating violence is common.” The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that women aged 16-24 experience domestic violence at the highest rate of any age group, almost three times the national average. The CDC and LoveIsRespect estimate that nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner every year.
Some teens are at higher risks of experiencing violence than others
According to the CDC, LGBTQIA+ are disproportionately affected by all forms of violence. There are also racial and minority groups who are disproportionately affected by many types of violence.
Resources for teens experiencing dating and intimate partner violence
Hotlines teens can call to speak with with trained listeners and advocates:
House of Ruth Maryland 24-Hour Hotline: 410-889-7884
National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
LGBT National Help Center National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564 or National Youth Talkline 1-800-246-7743
Live chats with trained responders :
Sources for this page
- Rosado, Lourdes, The Pathways to Youth Violence; How Child Maltreatment and Other Risk Factors Lead Children to Chronically Aggressive Behavior. 2000. American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences: Leveraging the Best Available Evidence. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention