Dating Violence

Adapted from

Some adolescents get involved in unhealthy dating relationships. One in 10 adolescents reported being hit or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend at least once in the previous year.[1] Controlling and demanding behaviors often happen before violence occurs. For example, one partner may tell another what to wear and who to spend time with.[2] Over time, controlling and demanding behavior may become increasingly violent and that violence can have negative effects on physical and mental health throughout life (including depression, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts).[3],[4],[5] Adults can help by paying attention and talking to adolescents about how to build healthy, respectful relationships.[6]

Learn More about How to Prevent and Stop Dating Violence in Your Community

  • With 1 is 2 Many, the White House and Vice President’s office are undertaking innovative ways to prevent dating violence before it starts, including engaging young men to help end violence and, with HHS, holding the Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge. The winning apps (Circle of 6 and On Watch) are now available – each makes it quick, easy and discreet for teens to get help if they are in danger of dating violence.
  • One of the goals of the Office of Adolescent Health’s Pregnancy Assistance Fund is to improve services for pregnant and parenting teens who are experiencing domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  
  • First enacted in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act provides funding to states and communities to develop specialized law enforcement units, provide services to men and women who encounter abuse or violence, and improve prosecution of these crimes. The Act seeks to protect both males and females that experience dating violence. Since its passage, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped by more than half.[7],[8]
  • The Office on Violence Against Women, within the U.S. Department of Justice, administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies, and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
  • The Office on Women’s Health offers an array of resources on dating violence that highlight  helpful strategies for teens and their families, including how to leave an abusive relationship and how to avoid date rape drugs. The CDC’s Dating Matters Initiative provides tips for maintaining healthy teen relationships and preventing dating violence.

[1]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance-United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 63(4). Retrieved February 13, 2015 from
[2]Break the Cycle. Warning signs. Retrieved February 13, 2015, from
[3]Banyard, V.L., Cross, C. (2008). Consequences of teen dating violence: Understanding intervening variables in ecological context. Violence Against Women, 14(9):998-1013.
[4]Johnson, W., Giodano, P., Longmore, M., & Manning, W. (2014). Intimate partner violence and depressive symptoms during adolescence and young adulthood. J Health Soc Behav, 55(1), 39-55.
[5]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006). Physical dating violence among high school students--United States, 2003. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,55:532-535. Retrieved February 13, 2015 from
[6]Break the Cycle. A parent's guide to teen dating violence. Retrieved February 13, 2015, from
[7]Catalano, S.M. (2013). Intimate Partner Violence: Attributes of Victimization, 1993-2011. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved April 23, 2015, from
[8]Truman, J.,  & Lynn, L. (2014). Criminal Victimization, 2013. U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved April 23, 2015, from
Last updated: July 08, 2015