Domestic violence is not only found in adult relationships. Teenagers in dating relationships often experience abusive and controlling behavior at the hands of their boyfriend or girlfriend. These early experiences of abuse in intimate relationships can have devastating affects and can be a precursor for violence in adult intimate relationships.
Teen dating violence is a pattern of actual or threatened acts of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, perpetrated by an individual against a current or former dating partner who is an adolescent. It occurs in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships, and cuts across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines. One in three teenagers will experience teen dating violence, and a recent Centers for Disease Control study found that one out of every eleven high school students reported being hit or slapped by their romantic partner. Furthermore, it is estimated that one and a half-million high school students suffer from teen dating violence each year, and more than ten percent of teenagers report being sexually abused or coerced in a dating relationship.
Teen dating violence can occur anywhere—in the home, at parties and other social events or the teen’s place of employment. However, because the abuse often happens at school and teen dating violence affects the school environment, teen dating violence is a school safety issue. Victims and batterers are more likely than their peers to bring weapons on to campus, and physical abuse occurs on school grounds in nearly half of abusive teen relationships.
CWLC’s S.T.O.P. (School Training, Outreach and Prevention) Teen Dating Violence Project is a statewide, public policy and education initiative to protect the health and safety of teens by ensuring that schools institute comprehensive policies, protocols, training and resources that enable their employees to effectively prevent and respond to complaints of teen dating and sexual violence against students.
Read CWLC’s Policy Brief on Teen Dating Violence.
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