It Happens to Teens Too – Get the Facts on Teen Dating Violence

Dating violence doesn’t just affect adults – teens can be victims too. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and offers the chance to get the facts on teen dating violence – what it is, its effects, and how to get help.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, though teens can think behaviors like teasing and name calling are a “normal” part of a relationship, they can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence.

Teen dating violence is defined as physical, sexual, psychological or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically, between a current or former dating partner.

Many teens do not report dating violence because they are afraid to tell friends and family. A 2011 CDC nationwide survey found that 23 percent of females and 14 percent of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age. A 2013 survey found approximately 10 percent of high school students reported physical victimization and 10 percent reported sexual victimization from a dating partner in the 12 months before they were surveyed.

Short- and long-term negative effects can include depression, anxiety, tobacco and drug use, and suicidal thoughts. Victims also are often at higher risk for victimization during college.

Metropolitan Family Services helps educate teens about dating violence prevention through “Take Back the Halls: Ending Violence in Relationships and Schools” (TBTH), a teen dating violence prevention and community activism program designed to prevent relationship violence among teens. TBTH is a collaboration between Taking Back Our Lives and the Women and Gender Research Initiative at DePaul University.

Metropolitan partners with Chicago’s Hubbard High School to provide Take Back the Halls, which is one of various domestic violence programs the agency offers. Metropolitan also provides legal counsel and representation for domestic violence survivors through its Legal Aid Society.

To learn more about teen dating violence and related resources click here.

About Metropolitan Family Services
Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal, to thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that empowers Chicago-area families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities.

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