Since dating relationships begin in early adolescence, prevention programs must start with this age group in order to be effective in deterring teen dating violence.
Although more research is needed, Safe Dates, the Youth Relationships Project, the 4th R curriculum, the Ending Violence curriculum, and the Shifting Boundaries program are all promising practices for increasing awareness of the risks and consequences of dating violence and/or reducing teen dating violence behavior.
Teen dating violence can be prevented, especially when there is a focus on reducing risk factors as well as fostering protective factors, and when teens are empowered through family, friends, and others (including role models such as teachers, coaches, mentors, and youth group leaders) to lead healthy lives and establish healthy relationships.
Victims and abusers come from all social and economic backgrounds, faith communities, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Both females and males can be victims of dating violence, but numerous studies reveal the reality that the majority of victims are females (usually more than 95 percent). The immediate scenario that pops into your head is likely not a teen or pre-teen couple.But unfortunately, teen dating violence is reality for 1.5 million high school students across the US every year who experience some form of dating violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend.Dating violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power and control in the relationship.The abuser intentionally behaves in ways that cause fear, degradation and humiliation to control the other person.Unfortunately, teen dating violence—the type of intimate partner violence that occurs between two young people who are, or who were once in, an intimate relationship—is a serious problem in the United States.A national survey found that ten percent of teens, female and male, had been the victims of physical dating violence within the past year and can increase the risk of physical injury, poor academic performance, binge drinking, suicide attempts, unhealthy sexual behaviors, substance abuse, negative body image and self-esteem, and violence in future relationships.Emotional: Humiliating the victim in front of friends or making the victim feel guilty when she confronts the abuser about the abuse.Intimidation: Making the victim fearful by using threatening behavior, abuse of animals, verbal aggression or destruction of property.Physical: Using or threatening to use physically assaultive behaviors such as hitting, shoving, grabbing, slapping, beating, kicking, etc.Sexual: Touching or forcing the victim to engage in unwanted sexual activity.