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Teen Dating Violence

Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.  Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling.  These behaviors are often thought to be a "normal" part of a relationship.  But these behaviors can set the stage for more serious violence like physical assault and rape. 

What is Dating Violence?

Teen Dating  Violence is defined as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner. You may have heard several different words used to describe teen dating violence. Here are just a few:

  • Relationship Abuse
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Relationship Violence
  • Dating Abuse
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
Adolescents and adults are often unaware that teens experience dating violence.

What are the consequences of dating violence?

As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Healthy relationship behaviors can have a positive effect on a teen's emotional development. Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause short term and long term negative effects, or consequences to the developing teen.  Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting.  Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships.

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 non-violent. Teens receive messages about how to behave in relationships from peers, adults in their lives, and the media. All too often these examples suggest violence in a relationship is okay. Violence is never acceptable. But there are reasons why it happens.

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

  • Believe it's okay to use threats or violence to get their way or to express frustration or anger.
  • Use alcohol or drugs.
  • Can't manage anger or frustration.
  • Hang out with violent peers.
  • Have multiple sexual partners.
  • Have a friend involved in dating violence.
  • Are depressed or anxious.
  • Have learning difficulties and other problems at school.
  • Don't have parental supervision and support.
  • Witness violence at home or in the community.
  • Have a history of aggressive behavior or bullying.

Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.

For more information on Teen Dating Violence Prevention please call our office 530-623-2024 or 800-358-5251.  Also, check out the Prevention Squad and how they are helping to bring awareness on the topic.


You're out with a nice looking guy. Then he touches your thigh or "accidentally" bumps into one of your private parts. Your stomach kind of churns. But then he says he's sorry or maybe he doesn't act like he notices that he made you uncomfortable. Do you (a) forget it and go on with the date (b) call the date off (c) tell him to be careful that he doesn't do that again

You're at a party with a guy you've known for a while. You're sitting with a group from school. He leans over and kisses you. Wow! You weren't ready to kiss this guy! And definitely not in front of everybody. You (a) laugh it off (b) get embarrassed and don't say anything about it (c) leave him there and go sit with some other friends.

Your date has touched you, kissed you and now is pressing in on you. You are feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable. You (a) hope the date will be over soon (b) tell him you're going out for some air (c) ask one of your friends for a ride home


  • F ind out about your date
  • R espect yourself and your date
  • I dentify what you want in a relationship
  • S hare what you want with your date
  • K iss or "kiss off"


Talk to a Human Response Network Victim Advocate at 530-623-HELP or 530-623-2024 or 1-800-358-5251

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call the Crisis Line 530-623-HELP(4357) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).  If you are in immediate danger please call 911.

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