Know the Laws:
UPDATED June 21, 2012
Dating violence (or relationship abuse) is a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend. Please visit www.loveisrespect.org or www.thatsnotcool.com for more information.
Dating violence (or relationship abuse) is a pattern of over-controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend. Dating violence can take many forms, including mental/emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. So, you may experience dating violence even if you are not being physically abused. It can occur in both casual dating situations and serious, long-tem relationships.
Sixty-two percent of 11- to 14-year-olds who had been in a relationship knew friends who had been verbally abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend, according to a 2008 study by Liz Claiborne Inc.
Teen dating violence is similar to adult domestic violence in several ways:
There are several things that make teenage dating violence different from adult domestic violence. Usually, when a teen is abused, he or she becomes isolated from her peers because of the controlling behavior of the abusive partner.
The isolation teens face in abusive dating situations often makes it hard to:
Many people don't recognize that they are in an abusive relationship. They don't realize how they have gradually changed because of the abuse.
Are you a victim of dating violence? Answer the questions below. If you answer yes to even one of them, you may be in an abusive relationship, or your relationship is likely to become abusive. Abuse isn't just hitting. It's yelling, threatening, name-calling, saying things like, "I'll kill myself if you leave me," obsessive phone calling, emailing, IMing or texting, and extreme possessiveness.
Does your boyfriend/girlfriend:
Possible effects of being in an abusive relationship include:
Talking about relationships problems is never easy, especially when you're talking to an adult. It's normal to want to solve your problems on your own. It's normal not to want to get anyone in trouble, or betray a friend's confidence.
Sometimes, however, there are problems too big to handle without help, and it can be a big relief to involve a trusted adult. The advocates at loveisrespect.org can help you figure out when you should talk to an adult, who you should talk to, and what to say.
Unfortunately, leaving an abusive relationship does not mean that the danger has ended. Visit http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/breaking-up/ to find help with how to break up and end a relationship safely.
With the popularity of Facebook and MySpace, many people have profiles and use these social networking sites to stay connected to friends, post pictures and share information. If you are in an abusive relationship, your abuser may be using your Facebook or MySpace profile in harmful ways against you. They may be stalking you (see Cyber Stalking page on WomensLaw.org), or going into your account (if they know your password) and sending messages from it as if they were you, or writing mean or harmful things on your “wall”. They may also be spreading pictures or hurtful comments about you to others by using Facebook or MySpace. It may be a good idea to deactivate your account for awhile until you feel safe again, but if you plan on staying on Facebook or MySpace then here are some tips:
- If your abuser knows your password, think about changing it
- You can block anyone from seeing your profile, finding you through the search engine or interacting with your profile in any way, by doing the following:
1. Go to Settings
2. Click "Manage" on the Privacy option
3. Type the name of the person you want to block in the field
Note: This is not permanent, so if you change your mind later you can "unblock" someone.
- If your abuser created a MySpace or Facebook account pretending to be you this is identity theft and it is a crime. You local law enforcement should be able to help you. You can also contact the administrator of the site and ask them to remove the profile. Report them on Myspace here or contact Facebook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answer the questions below. If you answer "yes" to any of them, your friend might be in an abusive relationship.
If you suspect a friend is in an abusive relationship, you might want to try talking to them to find out for sure. The loveisrespect.org website has a list of things to keep in mind when you're talking to a friend who may be experiencing dating violence. You might want to check out that site before talking to your friend. Here is the direct link: http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/support-for-a-friend/
It's hard to know how to talk to a friend when you think his behavior is out of control. For ideas on how to talk to your friend about his behavior go to the loveisrespect.org website: http://www.loveisrespect.org/get-help/talk-to-an-abusive-friend/. They have a list of things to keep in mind when you're talking to a friend who may be the abuser in a dating relationship.
A restraining order (also known as a protective order, order of protection, or many other names) is a court order requiring that your boyfriend or girlfriend, past or present, stop "abusing" you. The order may also state that your boyfriend or girlfriend cannot contact you, has to stay away from you, and may include many other protections. The requirements for getting a restraining order, exactly what protections you can get from a restraining order, and how "abuse" is defined differ in each state. In addition, not all states allow people under age 18 permission to get a restraining order on their own without an adult's help. Check our Restraining Orders pages for your state on this site to find out more.
In many states, you can apply for a restraining order even if you are under 18 but you may need an adult (usually a parent or legal guardian) to file the order on your behalf. Other states allow minors to file on their own without involving your parent or another adult. Most states that allow minors to apply for restraining orders on their own require that you are at least 16 years old. A few, however, let minors of any age, or sometimes minors 12 or older, go to court without an adult. In the Restraining Orders section of our website, in every state we have the question "Can a minor apply for a restraining order?" In many states, we also have the question "Can I apply for a restraining order against a minor?" Click on those questions in your state to find out if you can apply on your own or if you need a parent/guardian.
Even if your state requires an adult to assist you in applying for an order, but you don't want to get your parent/guardian involved or s/he will not help you file for the order, you may still have some other options. In some states, the law allows what is referred to as a "next friend" to apply for you, which could be a trusted adult other than a parent/guardian. In other states, a judge may appoint what is called a "guardian ad litem," which is someone to represent your interests during the litigation (court proceeding). It could be a lawyer or a non-lawyer. In some states a judge must approve of the adult who you choose to go to court with you instead of your parents (called a guardian ad litem).
If you discover that teens in dating relationships are eligible to obtain restraining orders in your state, the Restraining Orders page for your state on this website will have step-by-step instructions on how to file for a restraining order in your state.
A great place to start if you need help is with The National Teen Dating Violence Helpline. You can chat with an advocate online through their website, www.loveisrespect.org. You may prefer to call their helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453 TTY.
There are also lots of listings for teen dating violence listed on this website here: Where to Find Help for Teens