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Teen Dating Violence

Do you know the signs of a healthy relationship? Some might say that healthy relationships involve lots of compliments and affection. And they do. But they also incorporate those things we might take for granted, like: respect, sharing and listening, making joint decisions, equality, honesty, and showing support for one another.

Educating teens and young adults about healthy relationships is a key component to breaking the cycle of domestic violence. Living in a violent home can spur long-lasting physical and emotional trauma for a child, increasing the likelihood that they become abusers or victims later in life. In fact, more than 70% of male abusers witnessed domestic violence in their homes as boys and teenagers. Violent relationships in adolescence can also have serious ramifications for young people, putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.

As of 2019, more than 8% of high school teens in Connecticut report being physically abused by a dating partner, but we know that only 33% of teens in abusive relationships tell anyone about the abuse. A sobering 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

So what can you do to help the young people in your life? First, educate yourself. Use the helpful tips below to identify abuse and to support the victim. And refer them to Interval House. Our skilled advocates can provide counseling and referrals for those who need help. Our hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: 888-774-2900.

Did You Know?

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner every year.
  • One in three girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner—a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
  • Many college students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse; 57% say it is difficult to identify and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone who is experiencing it.
  • One in three (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, email or social network passwords; as a result these students are more likely to experience online/tech dating abuse.

An Abusive Dating Partner May:

  • Pressure their partner to make serious commitments early on in the relationship;
  • Isolate their partner, make them feel bad about seeing family, friends, or doing outside activities without them;
  • Attempt to control what they wear or who they see;
  • Expect their partner to “check in” or answer their phone immediately, excessively text, or use phone GPS locators;
  • Transfer blame to the victim, making them feel they are the cause of the abuse;
  • Be overly sensitive or act hurt when they do not get their way;
  • Verbally assault a partner (in public and in private) by insulting them or using put downs;
  • Intimidate them by throwing things or punch walls; and
  • Use force during an argument to restrain movement, yell in their face, or prevent them from leaving the room.

How To Help:

  • Express concern and avoid being judgmental;
  • Try to be specific about your concerns, tell them it is not their fault, only the batterer controls the abuse and is to blame;
  • Build their confidence, let them know it is brave to speak to someone and get help;
  • Do not put conditions on your support—a victim may be wary of sharing details of their relationships if they fear you will be angry or upset with them;
  • Refer them to their local Domestic Violence program like Interval House (888-774-2900).

 

Further Resources:

CCADV Teen Dating Violence Awareness Toolkit

Connecticut Statistics on Risky Youth Behavior

Abuse grows in silence. If you suspect you are a victim, or that a teen in your life is a victim, call our hotline at 888-774-2900. We are here to help. You are worth it!

Additional Video Resources

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