Dating Violence Prevention

Dating Violence Prevention

Dating Abuse Fact Sheet

Dating abuse is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship. Each year, 1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse. Many of these cases can be prevented by helping adolescents develop skills for healthy relationships with others.

Dating Abuse Statistics
Adolescents and adults are often unaware how regularly dating abuse occurs.

  • 1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse.

  • 1 in 4 adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse each year.

  • 1 in 5 adolescents reports being a victim of emotional abuse.

  • 1 in 5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.

  • Dating abuse occurs more frequently among black students (13.9%) than among Hispanic (9.3%) or white (7.0%) students.

  • 72% of eighth and ninth graders reportedly “date”; by the time they are in high school, 54% of students report dating abuse among their peers.

Adolescents in Abusive Relationship Are at Risk for Health Problems
Adolescents and adults often don’t make the link between dating abuse and poor health.

  • 70% of girls and 52% of boys who are abused report an injury from an abusive relationship.

  • 8% of boys and 9% of girls have been to an emergency room for an injury received from a dating partner.

  • Victims of dating abuse are not only at increased risk for injury, they are also more likely to engage in binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fights, and currently sexual activity.

  • Rates of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use are more than twice as high in girls who report physical or sexual dating abuse than in girls who report no abuse.

  • Dating abuse is associated with unhealthy sexual behaviors that can lead to unintended pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases and HIV infections.

  • Abusive dating experiences during adolescence may disrupt normal development of self-esteem and body image.

  • Adolescents in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of abuse into future relationships. 

Choosing Respect: Developting Healthy Relationships to Prevent Dating Abuse

Dating abuse can be prevented. Adolescence has been characterized as a "window of opportunity” - a time for adolescents to prepare for future relationships by learning healthy relationship skills such as negation, compromise, and conflict resolution. That’s why adults need to talk to adolescents now about the importance of choosing respect and developing healthy relationships.

  • Several studies suggest that adolescents do not see the negative consequences of dating abuse and violence in their friends’ lives. 31% of adolescents report having at least one friend who is in a violent relationship.

  • Acceptance of dating abuse among friends is one of the strongest links to future involvement in dating abuse.

  • Adolescents often believe that unhealthy relationships are the norm. Many relationships seen on TV, in the movies, and in magazines are unrealistic or unhealthy examples of relationships.

  • Qualities like respect, good communication and honesty are absolute requirements for a healthy relationship. Adolescents that do not have this part down before they begin to date may have trouble forming healthy, nonviolent relationships with others .

  • Choose Respect is a nationwide effort to prevent dating abuse before it starts. It encourages adolescents to form healthy relationships with others – before they even start to date.

    This information was adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



For additional resources and dating abuse prevention organizations, please click on the reference under the Dating Violence Prevention tab on the left.

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