Violence Impacts Teens and Adults

Violence Impacts Teens and Adults
October 13, 2012 Kim Goldman

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Youth Project is talking to kids about Healthy and Safe Relationships.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 3 adolescents in the US is a victim of verbal, emotional, sexual and physical abuse by a dating partner
  • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up
  • Only half of all tweens (age 11-14) claim to know the warning signs of a bad/hurtful relationship
  • Twenty-four percent of 14 to 17-year-olds know at least one student who has been the victim of dating violence, yet 81% of parents either believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it is an issue
  • Less than 25% of teens say they have discussed dating violence with their parents
  • Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser

Violence is related to certain risk factors.  Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who:

  •  Use alcohol or drugs.
  •  Can’t manage anger or frustration.
  •  Hang out with violent peers.
  •  Have multiple sexual partners.
  •  Have a friend involved in dating violence.
  •  Are depressed or anxious.
  •  Have learning difficulties and other problems at school.
  •  Don’t have parental supervision and support.
  •  Witness violence at home or in the community.
  •  Have a history of aggressive behavior or bullying.

Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting.  Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships.  However, dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.

Red Flags and Warning Signs:  (From

Teenagers generally do not tell people when they are involved in a violent relationship, so it is important for adults to be alert for signs that a teen may be involved in a relationship that is, or has the potential to become, abusive. Some of the following signs are just part of being a teenager. But, when these changes happen suddenly, or without an explanation, there may be cause for concern.

  • Does the individual have unexplained bruises, scratches, or injuries?
  • Do you see signs that the individual is afraid of his/her boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Does the boyfriend or girlfriend seem to try to control the individual’s behavior, making all of the decisions, checking up on his/her behavior, demanding to know who the individual has been with, and acting jealous and possessive?
  • Does the boyfriend or girlfriend lash out, criticize, or insult the individual?
  • Does the individual apologize for the boyfriend or girlfriend’s behavior to you and others? Has the individual casually mentioned the boyfriend or girlfriend’s temper or violent behavior, but then laughed it off as a joke?
  • Have you seen the boyfriend or girlfriend be abusive towards other people or things?
  • Does the individual seem to have lost interest or to be giving up things that were once important? Has he/she lost interest in school or other activities?
  • Has the individual’s appearance or behavior suddenly changed?
  • Has the individual stopped spending time with friends and family?
  • Have you seen sudden changes in the individual’s mood or personality?
  • Is the individual becoming anxious or depressed, acting out, or being secretive? Is the individual avoiding eye contact, having ‘crying jags’ or getting ‘hysterical?’
  • Has the individual recently started using alcohol or drugs?

If you suspect or know that your child is being abused by a partner, you have resources:

  • Call law enforcement or 911
  • Call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
  • Make a safety plan with your child
  • Stay in communication with your teen; let them know they can open up to you no matter what.


For more information on how to understand Teen Dating Violence

Additional Resources:

Love is Respect

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Break The Cycle

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