Teen Dating Violence
You can make a difference. Start the conversation with your adolescent and teen patients about recognizing abuse and how to build healthy relationships.
Teen dating violence (TDV) is defined by Break the Cycle as a pattern of abusive behaviors to exert power and control over a dating partner. Dating violence can escalate over time and become more dangerous to the target.
In a healthy relationship, each partner is respectful to the other, whether in person, on the phone, or online.
Some alarming facts:
- Each year, approximately one in four adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
- Approximately one in five adolescents reports being a target of emotional abuse.
- Approximately one in five high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
- Dating violence is reported by 54 percent of high school students.
- One in three teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been physically hurt by his or her partner through violent actions, which included hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, and/or choking.
- Abuse now happens via technology — insulting a partner on social media, sending threatening text messages, or monitoring where a partner is are all part of dating abuse.
This is critical: Start the conversation!
Discussing safety and asking targeted questions can identify TDV exposure:
- Discuss confidentiality and the limitation of confidentiality during routine medical exams to increase adolescents’ confidence in your ability to help and protect their confidentiality.
- Ask the patient to tell you about experiences with physical violence and feelings of fear in past and current relationships.
- Acknowledge the pervasive nature of TDV.
- Offer prevention and intervention information, regardless of a positive or negative screen.
- Have TDV information posters, brochures and cards with information about TDV, risks, prevention and intervention programs placed throughout your office.
- Educate your staff about local and national organizations dedicated to providing supportive care for adolescents experiencing TDV.