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About Abuse

Information for Teens

Updated: 
December 29, 2015

What is dating violence?

Dating violence (or relationship abuse) is a pattern of over-controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend. You may experience dating violence even if you are not being physically abused.  Dating violence can take many forms, including mental/emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, stalking, and more.  You can read about these different forms of abuse on our domestic violence page.  Dating violence can occur in both casual dating situations and serious, long-tem relationships.

How does teen dating violence compare to adult domestic violence?

Teen dating violence is similar to adult domestic violence in several ways:

  • Both teen dating violence and adult domestic violence affect people from all socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and religious groups;
  • Both occur in heterosexual relationships as well as LGBTQ relationships;
  • Both tend to show patterns of repeated violence, which escalate over time;
  • Both tend to display violent and abusive behavior interchanged with apologies and promises to change;
  • Both tend to show increased danger for the victim when s/he is trying to terminate the abusive relationship; and
  • Both men and women, or girls and boys, can be the abusers or the victims.