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Teen dating violence prevention and awareness month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in youth relationships. Dating abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, no matter what race or religion they are, and no matter what their level of education or economical background. Dating abuse also occurs in same sex relationships. However, an alarming number of teens experience abusive behavior in dating relationships (see below: The Surprising Facts of Dating Abuse)

What do we mean when we talk about dating abuse?

Dating abuse isn't an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day. Dating abuse (or Relationship Abuse) is a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend. Abuse can cause injury and even death, but it doesn't have to be physical. It can include verbal and emotional abuse - constant insults, isolation from family and friends, name calling, controlling what someone wears-and it can also include sexual abuse.

If you, or someone you know, are a victim of dating violence, please call:

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 & 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)

You can also chat live on-line with a trained Peer Advocate from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. (CST) daily. The live chat (IM-style) on the loveisrespect website www.loveisrespect.org is an alternative method of contacting a peer advocate. You will get the same one on one, confidential information from a live, trained peer advocate just as you would if you contacted loveisrespect by phone.

Read A Message from OVW Director Susan B. Carbon about Teen Dating Violence.

Ten Warning Signs of Abuse

While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten of the most common:

  1. Checking your cell phone or email without permission

  2. Constant put-downs

  3. Extreme jealousy or insecurity

  4. Explosive temper

  5. Financial control

  6. Isolating you from family or friends

  7. Mood swings

  8. Physically hurting you in any way

  9. Possessiveness

  10. Telling you what to do

What makes a healthy relationship?

In addition to finding out what constitutes an abusive relationship, it is also important to know what a healthy relationship looks like. For some questions and answers that may help you decide if your relationship is healthy or not go to: Healthy relationships http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/healthy-relationships/

The Surprising Facts Of Dating Abuse

Dating abuse fast facts: In March 2006, Liz Claiborne Inc. commissioned Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) to conduct a survey to delve deeper into the issue of teen dating abuse, gauging the degree to which teens have been involved in abusive/controlling relationships and to understand youth perceptions regarding what is and is not acceptable behavior in a relationship. The results show that alarming numbers of teens experience and accept abusive behavior in dating relationships.

  • 1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.

  • 1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they've been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner.

  • 1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship say that a boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their partner.

  • 1 in 3 girls between the ages of 16 and 18 say sex is expected for people their age in a relationship; half of teen girls who have experienced sexual pressure report they are afraid the relationship would end if they did not give in.

  • Nearly 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship (23%) reported going further sexually than they wanted to as a result of pressure.


Dating Violence Prevention Resources

There are many wonderful programs out there to help prevent teen dating violence. Below you will find helpful websites with valuable information and statistics.

Break the Cycle- www.breakthecycle.org

Love is Respect- www.loveisrespect.org

Teen DV Month Website- www.teendvmonth.org

Love Is Not Abuse- www.loveisnotabuse.com

The following links will lead you to documents that contain statistics about the prevalence and consequences of teen dating violence:




Other useful documents include:

Understanding Teen Dating Violence [PDF 292KB] This fact sheet provides a basic overview of teen dating abuse. It is intended for the general public.

Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence: Program Activities Guide

The Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence: Program Activities Guide describes CDC's public health activities and research related to intimate partner and sexual violence. The guide outlines four categories of activities which are essential to CDC's prevention work: tracking the problem, developing and evaluating prevention strategies, supporting and enhancing prevention programs, and providing prevention resources. Key publications are also highlighted. View, download or print Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence: Program Activities Guide [PDF 8MB]