Research Finds High Rates of Teen Dating Violence

Dec 23, 2008

Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth. This “shockingly common behavior among adolescents” is the subject of a new Focus Report from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

This examination of existing research compiles some of the strongest data on the subject. It finds that girls exposed to interpersonal violence are more likely to be exposed to other forms of violence, show a greater propensity for unsafe sexual activity, and a higher incidence of substance abuse and suicide than either boys or non-abused girls.

The new report offers recommendations: “Educating teens about the issue is essential. Primary prevention programs must be a key element in a movement to curtail physical dating violence.” It also recommends studies of violence among youth of color that specifically address contextual and cultural factors, and training for adults who work with youth (especially at schools) to train them to assess the signs of interpersonal violence.

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and other data sources, for “Interpersonal and Physical Dating Violence among Teens.” It is available online here.

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