Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.  Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship.  However, these behaviors can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence.

Teen dating violence is physical, sexual, psychological or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking.  It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner.

Why Does Dating Violence Happen?

Communicating with your partner, managing uncomfortable emotions like anger and jealousy, and treating others with respect are a few ways to keep relationships healthy and nonviolent.  Teens receive messages about how to behave in relationships from peers, adults in their lives, and the media.  All too often, these examples suggest that violence in a relationship is normal, but violence is never acceptable.  There are reasons why violence occurs.

Violence is related to certain risk factors.  Risks of having unhealthy relationships increase for teens who:

  • Believe that dating violence is acceptable
  • Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma
  • Display aggression towards peers or display other aggressive behaviors
  • Use drugs or illegal substances
  • Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
  • Have a friend involved in dating violence
  • Have conflicts with a partner
  • Witness or experience violence in the home

Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.  For more information about teen dating violence, click here.

If you have questions about teen dating violence or want more information, you may call our crisis line (910.893.7233) and speak confidentially to an advocate.