The ultimate goal of prevention and intervention is to stop dating violence before it begins.
During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships with others.
Unfortunately, teen dating violence—the type of intimate partner violence that occurs between two young people who are, or who were once in, an intimate relationship—is a serious problem in the United States.
A national survey found that ten percent of teens, female and male, had been the victims of physical dating violence within the past year and can increase the risk of physical injury, poor academic performance, binge drinking, suicide attempts, unhealthy sexual behaviors, substance abuse, negative body image and self-esteem, and violence in future relationships.
Several different words are used to describe teen dating violence. Dating violence is widespread with serious long-term and short-term effects. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have severe consequences and short- and long-term negative effects on a developing teen.
Researchers found that, compared with the control group who received no intervention, students who received the school-level intervention or both the school- and classroom-level interventions experienced reduced levels of dating violence and sexual harassment.
These can also be fostered by a teen’s home and community.
For example, higher levels of bonding to parents and enhanced social skills can protect girls against victimization.
Teen dating violence can be prevented, especially when there is a focus on reducing risk factors as well as fostering protective factors, and when teens are empowered through family, friends, and others (including role models such as teachers, coaches, mentors, and youth group leaders) to lead healthy lives and establish healthy relationships.
It is important to create spaces, such as school communities, where the behavioral norms are not tolerant of abuse in dating relationships.