Teen Dating Violence (TDV) impacts the lives of not only teenagers, but can also impact their family, friends, and teachers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this form of violence can be expressed in four types of behavior – physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, and stalking – taking place between two people in an intimate relationship either in person or electronically. Although teen dating violence affects teens all over the US, racial/ethnic and sexual minority groups are unjustifiably affected by all four forms of dating violence.
Data from the CDC demonstrate that:
The effect of TDV on a growing mind is detrimental to a teen’s mental health, often leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety, drug use, and anti-social behavior. Experiencing dating violence at a young age sets the tone for problems in future relationships, but the good news is that TDV is preventable!
To promote safe and healthy relationships within teen dating, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides seven signs that your teenager, or a teenager you know, may be in an abusive relationship:
- Teen stops spending time with family/friends due to possessiveness/jealousy of the partner.
- Teen has unexplained bruises or marks on their body.
- Teen appears more depressed or anxious.
- Teen withdraws from participating in extracurricular activities or hobbies like sports or clubs.
- Your child begins to dress differently. For example, he or she wears loose clothing because the partner doesn’t like him/her to “show off” his/her body or attract someone else’s attention.
- Teen worries about not having their phone because their partner might get upset.
- Teen conveys fear about the way their partner would react to a certain situation.
Together we can raise awareness about teen dating violence by utilizing these seven signs to help identify teens who may be in need of help. If you or your teenager(s) would like to seek professional help, Brighter Beginnings offers great mental health services for adolescents, adults, and infants.
For further resources call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or refer to Preventing Intimate Partner Violence Across the Lifespan: A Technical Package of Programs, Policies, and Practices, for strategies and approaches for preventing intimate partner violence, including teen dating violence.