Nationwide, 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year. Despite this fact, social stigma has long since dictated silence surrounding domestic violence that in-turn contributes to the fact that 3 in 4 parents have never spoken with their child about DV.
Teen Dating Violence
Teen Dating Violence (TDV) is physical, sexual, or psychological violence within a dating relationship and. While TDV’s dynamics may mirror that of adult domestic abuse, it is unique in its forms, experiences, and its challenging characteristic of seeking & providing services to individuals.
Over 1 in 7 female teens and nearly 1 in 19 male teens report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year.
While widespread and accompanied by serious effects, TDV is believed to be underreported because teens are afraid to tell friends and family.
A report by the CDC indicates that individuals who experience TDV run the risk of suffering from depression and anxiety, engaging in unhealthy behaviors that may include tobacco, drugs, or alcohol, exhibit antisocial behaviors, and thinking about suicide.
TDV risk increases for teens who believe that dating violence is acceptable, are depressed or anxious, display aggression towards peers, use drugs or illegal substances, have friends involved in TDV, and witness or experience violence in the home.
Healthy relationships exist when open and honest communication is established and provides respect for both partners. Opening the conversation up to talking about domestic violence allows for the possibility to emphasize and demonstrate this communication.
Domestic violence & TDV does not discriminate based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or socio-economical status, making it vital to talk with and educate all children.
Many young people have an idea of what a healthy relationship is, though they may lack the words to describe such feelings. As a precursor to speaking with your children, making sure that you understand the relationship spectrum is critical.
In their “How to Start a Conversation Guide,” Break the Cycle details important information to consider before speaking with youth that will help you prepare and talk with your teen.
Developing understanding defines unhealthy relationships and warning signs. Abuse relationships exist when an imbalance of power allows an abuser to exercise control and power through the utilization of verbal, emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse.
Abuse may include name-calling, public humiliation, verbal & written threats of violence, threatening to out a partner before they are ready, forced sexual activities, threats to report an undocumented family member, violent acts that may include physical injury or sexual activity, isolating a partner from friends and family, taking control of finances and/or withholding money, harassment, stalking, and/or monitoring.
In addition to these forms of abuse, TDV has become uniquely recognized by advocates for its incorporation of technology. It is important to emphasize forms of abuse may include threatening text messages, tampering with email or social accounts, insulting a partner via social media, and/or requiring a partner to give them access to their phone so that they can monitor conversations and actions.
Providing our youth with prevention education can decrease their likelihood of becoming involved in an abusive relationship and break the cycle of future abuse.
Albion Fellows Bacon Center provides Primary Prevention education to participating school systems and is available to all educators in our eleven county service area. Our Safe Dates program is a multi-session, interactive instruction that teaches the difference between caring, supportive relationships & controlling, abusive ones. It is designed to equip youth with skills and resources to help them in developing healthy relationship skills, including positive communication, anger management, and conflict resolution. This program is available for grades 7 – 12 and is recommended by the Indiana Department of Education.
In 2018, Albion’s prevention department reached 1,304 students with our safe dates program and provided 2,899 students with prevention focused presentations.
To learn more about speaking to your child, contact Albion at 812.422.9372.
Safe Dates: Albion Fellows Bacon Center
Preventing & Responding to Teen Dating Violence
How to Start a Conversation Guide
NCADV: Domestic Violence Statistics
CDC: Teen Dating Violence | Violence Prevention
Love is Respect
The National Domestic Violence Hotline