Teens are just beginning to experience and figure out relationships and are especially vulnerable to abuse. These new feelings are exciting and overwhelming, and it can be hard to distinguish between romance and abuse. Teens rely heavily on their peers for information and support, and often share misinformation. They are also avid users of technology and social media, both of which can be used in abusive ways. Teen dating abuse happens in both straight and LGBTQ relationships. It is a hidden epidemic, with potential lifelong ramifications.
Here are some statistics about teen dating violence and potential effects:
- 1 in 3 teens has experienced some kind of abuse in their dating relationship.
- A 2013 study of 10th graders found that 35% had been either physically or verbally abused; 31% were perpetrators of physical or verbal abuse.
- 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually or verbally abused in a dating relationship.
- Only 33% of teen survivors ever told anyone about it.
- 66% of teen mothers reported some form of birth control sabotage by their boyfriends.
- 1 in 4 teens have been called names, harassed, or put down by their partner through texting.
- 52% of teens who experience digital abuse are also physically abused.
- Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls 6 times more likely to become pregnant, and twice as likely to get a sexually transmitted infection.
- 50% of youth reporting dating violence and rape also reported attempting suicide. This compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.
- Teens in violent relationships are at higher risk for drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behaviors and adult domestic violence.
- 43% of dating college women reported experiencing abusive behaviors from their partner.
The good news is, there are things you can do to help teens you care about. New Beginnings offers support to teens who are experiencing dating abuse and has prevention programs for youth.
Talk to teens early about healthy relationships, the warning signs of abuse, and how to get help if they or a friend is being abused. There are a number of helpful tools available: