Teens and youth

1 in 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical violence in a dating relationship.

Unfortunately teens are more likely than adults to be confused about appropriate behavior in their intimate relationships, often minimizing physical and emotional violence, and confusing jealousy and possessiveness with expressions of love.

Warning signs

It can be difficult to determine whether a young person is experiencing dating violence. These warning signs can be a starting point for deeper discussions about teen dating violence and healthy relationships.

  • Partner is jealous and controls her/his actions.
  • Partner isolates her/him from friends and family.
  • Partner hits, punches, kicks, or tackles the teen. Playful violence can often mask tendencies toward abuse.
  • Partner tells offensive or demeaning jokes.
  • Partner gets mad when she/he can’t spend time with her/him
  • Partner blames her/him for their feelings, actions, or behaviors.
  • Partner has history of violent, controlling, or cruel behavior.
  • Partner abuses alcohol or drugs and forces her/him to take them.
  • Partner does not care about the survivors thoughts or feelings
  • Partner minimizes their abusive behavior.
  • Partner tries to control what the survivor wears or makes demeaning comments about their body.
  • Partner makes all the decisions in the relationship.
  • Partner uses gossip or the threat of gossip to control the survivor or makes threats to damage their reputation.
  • Partner forces sex or forces the survivor to participate in sexual activities that she/he is uncomfortable with.


  • In a study of eighth and ninth graders, 25% indicated that they had been victims of dating violence, including eight percent who disclosed being sexually abused. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1996)
  • Among female students between the ages of 15-20 who reported at least one violent act during a dating relationship, 24% reported experiencing extremely violent incidents such as rape or the use of weapons against them (Journal of child & adolescent pediatric nursing. 1994)
  • In a survey of 232 high school girls, 17.8% indicated that they had been forced to engage in sexual activity against their will by a dating partner. (Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 1996)
  • 55% of female students and 75% of male students involved in acquaintance rape admit to having been drinking or using drugs when the incident occurred. (TeachingDegree, 2012)
  • Over the course of an average 5-year college career, between 20 and 25% of women students are raped. Fewer than 5 in 100 rapes are reported. (US department of Justice)

Our resources

Healthy Teen Relationship Act – Advocate Toolkit
The purpose of the Toolkit is to support the work of advocates in preventing domestic and sexual violence. Part A describes strategies for collaborating with school districts and Part B lists a variety of resource materials. These include model curricula, resources for prevention of teen-dating violence and additional resources for capacity-building and support.

Healthy Teen Relationship Act – Local School District Toolkit

Sexual Harrassment: Not in Our School!

Sexual Harassment: Not in Our School! is a practical resource created by Stop Sexual Assault in Schools (SSAIS) for families, schools, SARTs, and community organizations. The video follows a high school gender equity group tackling sexual harassment and assault as they interview national experts. In one of the video’s scenarios, a victim learns about the sexual assault forensic examination process, the role of a victim’s advocate, and students’ Title IX rights from SART Cheryl Ann Graf, ARNP (56:16). This scenario illuminates the unique challenges victims face and thesometimes-divergent priorities of advocates and educational institutions to respond justly, effectively, and compassionately to sexual assault in the school setting.

External links

Oregon Health Authority: Youth Sexual Health

Teen PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Sexual Assault)

My Strength Campaign (CALCASA)

Girl’s Health


Children and youth
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