National Runaway Safeline

Teen Dating Violence and Awareness
Image courtesy of Gustavo Gomes – Flickr Commons

Dating violence amongst teens and youth is a real concern and often goes unreported by victims for fear of repercussions. February is Dating Violence Awareness Month, and in order to participate, NRS have compiled statistics on teen dating violence from experts, as well as resources that youth can access to help keep themselves safe. These resources teach youth how to recognize the signs of abuse, and encourage them to pursue healthy relationships.

The Definition of Dating Violence

Abuse appears in many forms. The Centers for Disease Control defines dating violence as “the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship.” Often, youth do not understand that verbal abuse is considered unacceptable. However, that may be even more damaging since it has a psychological effect. The facts bear this out.

Facts on Violence

Every year, around 1.5 million high school students undergo physical abuse from their significant other.

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.

Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.

These facts indicate the need for awareness becomes more apparent.

Why it is Important: A Lack of Awareness

DVAM is important because it lets those in need know that they are not alone and that they do not have to suffer silently. Formed in 2006, the campaign aims for both the increased awareness of this issue of violence in teenage dating relationships as well as the prevention of such tragic events.

The statistics also show that there is a great need for increased awareness.

Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.

Eighty-one (81) percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.


Resources listed below can help those who are in abusive relationships to find help, as well as keep others from choosing unhealthy relationships.

Break the Cycle A national nonprofit organization and former Organization of the Month that provides comprehensive dating abuse programs exclusively to young people ages 12 to 24. Their mission is to inspire and support young  people to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse.

Their website ( features a section on young persons’ legal rights. Learn about the legal protections for minors in each state, how to get a protection order and mandatory reporting.

Loveisrespect A national organization dedicated to engaging, educating and empowering young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. Their website ( features an interactive guide to safety planning that is designed to help youth decide if they are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.

The guide is available for download here.

National Domestic Violence Hotline The organization is available 24 hours a day center that connects victims of domestic violence or abuse to shelters and service providers.

Their website ( has resources for victims, including how to find closure after abuse, legal help, help for LGBTQ victims, safety plans, power and control wheels to demonstrate the levels of abuse, and more.

The Centers for Disease Control has developed a free, interactive application for use in classes and after school programs. The application teaches the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships, the early warning signs of an abusive relationship and ways to promote healthy relationships.

These resources and statistics are meant to communicate a simple message: teen dating violence is occurring, and youth need to understand the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. For youth in an abusive relationship, please consider using the resources above. NRS is also available anytime. Call 1-800-RUNAWAY, or contact NRS through our website at


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