When Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) occurs in adolescence, it is called teen dating violence (TDV). TDV affects millions of US teens each year.
About 16 million women and 11 million men who reported experiencing contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before age 18.
Facts about teen dating violence
Young people, 12 to 19 years old, experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, and youth 18-19 years old experience the highest rates of stalking.
Add to that the 15.5 million US children living in families where intimate partner violence occurred at least once in the past year. You have many young people in this country whose lives are affected – sometimes shaped – by violence.
Approximately 1 in 3 adolescent girls in the United States are victims of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth.
In a national online survey, one in five 11 to 14-year-olds say their friends are victims of dating violence, and nearly half who are in relationships know friends who are victims of verbal abuse.
Two in five of 11-12-year-olds report that their friends are victims of verbal abuse in relationships.
A survey of 7th graders in a high-risk community found that more than 1 in 3 boys (35.2 percent) and nearly 1 in 4 girls (24.1 percent) reported being victims of physical dating violence in the past year.
The same study found that nearly 1 in 4 7th-grade girls (24.9 percent) and more than 1 in 5 boys (21.2 percent) reported perpetrating physical violence in a dating relationship in the past year.
A small study of middle school Latino youth 11 to 13 years old found that 14 percent of girls and 13 percent of boys disclosed experiencing physical dating violence in the past year.
Boys are more likely to inflict injuries as a result of perpetrating dating violence than girls. This trend – where girls slap and push, and boys hit and punch – continues into adulthood.
Youth from groups that have been marginalized, such as sexual and gender minority youth, are at greater risk of experiencing sexual and physical dating violence.
Parents and teen dating violence
In a 2009 survey of parents, three in four parents say they have had a conversation with their teen about what it means to be in a healthy relationship – but 74 percent of sons and 66 percent of daughters said they have not had a conversation about dating abuse with a parent in the past year.
Though more than four in five parents (82 percent) feel confident that they can recognize the signs if their child is experiencing dating abuse, most parents (58 percent) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.
In a survey with a representative sample of teens (ages 13-18), nearly half (42%) said their parents know little about what they do online.
Of teens in an abusive relationship, fewer than one in three (32 percent) confide in their parents about their abusive relationship.
In a national online survey of parents with children 11-18, nearly half (45%) had not discussed dating violence with their children in the past year.
Parents did not discuss dating violence with their children because they thought their children were too young to talk about it, they would not know what to say, and their children would learn about it through experience.