About dating violence

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Hundreds of thousands of young people are experiencing dating abuse, sexual assault, and stalking every year.

Among adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, 22% of women and 15% of men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Division of Violence Prevention).

It is important to note the language used by teens when talking about their romantic or intimate relationships may be unfamiliar to adults, including parents and service providers.

When assessing for dating abuse, it is important to meet young people at where they are clarifying any terms used to describe being in a romantic partnership, or having sexual contact, and stating a number of examples of various tactics of abuse.

Additionally, research suggests that teen dating violence patterns change rapidly over a short time period as adolescents grow older, thus dating violence services for young people need to be accessible, available, adaptable and safe.

It is also evident that many service providers and institutions (such as law enforcement, prosecutors and judges) that interact with teens have limited knowledge of complex abuse dynamics in all intimate-partner relationships, as well as limited knowledge in collaborating on ongoing safety strategies with and for teen victims.

The study’s findings highlight the importance of informal help-seeking and informal help-giving in fostering professional help-seeking for adolescent victims and perpetrators of dating violence.

Some early intervention programs, such as those for Battering Intervention & Prevention (BIPP), are only made available to teens in the juvenile justice system.

BACKGROUND Dating violence and sexual assault disproportionately affect teens and young adults.

Or, if they are available in the community, they are fee-based and many youth, parents and guardians may not be able to pay required fees.

Additionally, not all providers offer services after-school or after traditional work hours or on weekends.

The effect of teen dating violence on physical health, mental health, and educational outcomes is significant.

Youth victims of dating violence are more likely to experience depression and anxiety symptoms, engage in unhealthy behaviors like using tobacco, drugs and alcohol, exhibit antisocial behaviors, and think about suicide.

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