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Understanding Teen Dating Violence Fact Sheet from North End Waterfront Health

Adapted from a CDC fact sheet by North End Waterfront Health

Dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship. The nature of dating violence can be physical, emotional, or sexual.

Physical – This occurs when a partner is pinched, hit, shoved or kicked.

Emotional – This means threatening a partner or harming his or her sense of self-worth. Examples include name calling, shaming, bullying, embarrassing on purpose, or keeping him/her away from friends and family.

Sexual – This is forcing a partner to engage in a sex act when he or she does not or cannot consent.

Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors are often thought to be a “normal” part of a relationship. But these behaviors can lead to more serious violence like physical assault and rape.

Why is dating violence a public health problem?

Dating violence is a serious problem in the United States. Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family.

One in four adolescents report verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a dating partner each year. About 10% of students nationwide report being physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past 12 months.

How does dating violence affect health?

Dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout life. Teens who are victims are more likely to be depressed and do poorly in school. They may engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to have eating disorders. Some teens even think about or attempt suicide. Teens whoa re victims in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.

How can we prevent dating violence?

The ultimate goal is to stop dating violence before it starts. Strategies that promote healthy relationships are vital. During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning skills they need to form positive relationships with others. This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patters of dating violence that can last into adulthood.

Where can I learn more?

Choose Respect Initiative

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention

More information on North End Waterfront Heath at