Skip to main content

Teen Dating Violence

What is teen dating violence?

Teen dating violence isn't all that different from domestic violence. Just like domestic violence, teen dating violence stems from power and control.

It can be hard to believe that teens experience abuse in their relationships, but as many as 2 in 3 teens report some form of abuse in their relationship. Physical abuse isn't as common with teens as it is with adults, but emotional abuse and controlling behaviors still occur and should always be taken seriously.

Relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy, to unhealthy, to abusive. 

Love is Respect has developed a graphic to help teens identify where their relationship falls on the spectrum. There may also be warning signs that teen dating violence may be occurring in the relationship.

Healthy Unhealthy Abusive
A healthy relationship means you and your partner are: You may be in an unhealthy relationship if your partner is: Abuse is occuring in a relationship when one partner is:
Communicating Not communicating Communicating in a hurtful or harmful way
Respectful Disrespectful Mistreating
Trusting Not trusting Accusing the other of cheating when it's untrue
Honest Dishonest Denying their actions are abusive
Equal Trying to take control Controlling
Enjoying personal time away from each other Only spending time together Isolating their partner from others

If you are seeing warning signs in your relationship, are being abused in your relationship, or just have questions about healthy, unhealthy, or abusive relationships, you contact our helpline at 1-800-791-4000 to talk with a domestic violence advocate. Your conversation is free and confidential.

Love is Respect has also developed a safety planning tool to help you create a plan to stay safe. Consider including a trusted adult in your life in your plan for safety. This can include your parents, the school guidance counselor, a coach, or any trusted adult.

Remember, the abuse is not your fault, and no one deserves to be abused.

Resources for Parents

Nobody ever wants to picture their child being in a relationship that is unhealthy or abusive, but abuse in teen relationships is common, so it's important to understand what abuse looks like, how you can support your child, and what services DVSSP has available. If you believe your teen is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, do the following:

24/7 Helpline1-800-791-4000